A well-designed sales training program is critical for exceeding quota, tailoring solutions to client needs, and reducing sales team turnover.

Yet too often sales training is primarily a component of new employee onboarding. Perhaps you schedule a call whenever a major branding refresh or product launches occur or bring in an expensive sales coach for half a day at your SKO. But that’s really it.

Your sales team is driven to meet their goals, so they’ll make time to improve their skills. After all, you’ve given them a budget to continue developing their selling skill set. Plus you’ve invested heavily in internal sales enablement headcount. And surely they take the time to read sales blogs or listen to podcasts? Right? Maybe not.

Recent research from Hubspot suggests your sales team may be expecting you to be their primary source of training.

The Accidental Salesperson

The Hubspot survey found only 39% intentionally went into sales as a career.

[Credit: https://research.hubspot.com/charts/sales-intention-training]

Why does this matter? According to the same research, salespeople who “fell into” their role are less likely to proactively pursue career development on their own time. In fact, 23% reported they didn’t participate in any activities to improve as a salesperson.

For these employees, the sales training you provide during the onboarding process is likely to be their only professional development outside of one-on-one coaching from their manager and peers.

This makes the case for sponsoring a regular cadence of company-sponsored, required sales trainings throughout the year. Otherwise, your less-motivated salespeople may be out the door due to poor performance within their first year and it’s going to be mostly your fault.

Tailoring a Sales Training Program to Fit

While it may be tempting to hire a sales trainer to come in for a workshop or purchase a training program, the truth is no two sales teams are the same. Further, within your sales team, no two salespeople have the same background, strengths, and weaknesses. A cookie-cutter sales training program is not a good use of budget.

An effective sales training program needs to be based on analysis of your sales activity data. With that data in-hand, your program should:

  • Identify and share what your best salespeople are doing differently
  • Give salespeople with insight into their personal strengths and weaknesses, like a “Fitbit for your sales activity”
  • Be available in the format—live, audio, video, or text—that works best for each individual
  • Improve targeted skills that are critical to the individual’s success

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