“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
The words of Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, still resonate today because they apply to so many aspects of life. When you work in sales, you must maintain this attitude to be successful. Attitude alone does not a great salesperson make. However, you need the right sales training programs to make salespeople great.
The problem so many companies are facing right now is the sheer volume of sales training programs available. How do they choose? Fortunately, we have compiled reviews and ratings for the top sales sales training programs available today, both virtual and in person. We take you step-by-step through each type of sales training program, examining the pros and cons before we give you our honest opinion.
Let’s start by defining what sales training actually is, and then we will look at the best sales training programs for in-person sales training, online sales training and sales management training. Finally, we will wrap up with a discussion of sales training ideas, techniques and specialty sales training programs like sales team training and business-to-business (B2B) sales training.
What is Sales Training?
Most sales training programs define sales training as a process designed to teach and improve sales skills, product knowledge and individual attributes to drive seller behavior changes and increase sales success.
Truly successful sales training programs focus on developing those seller behaviors to be second nature for the salespeople. That’s the endgame for choosing the right one: changing seller behaviors to improve performance and increase your bottom line via increased sales revenue.
Given the number of sales training programs that offer all kinds of specialized training across all markets, industries and specializations, finding the right one for your business is no easy task. So, you need to be able to determine what makes a great sales training program.
The Best Sales Training
There are several considerations you need to take into account when deciding what the best sales training program is for your business. Here’s a short list:
Are you sending your sales representatives to a location or seminar for training, or will the trainer be coming to you?
How will you schedule training to accommodate both your schedule and the sales team’s schedule?
Does the objective of the sales training program address a challenge or opportunity that your sales team is currently attempting to resolve?
What cost are you willing to cover if the anticipated return of the sales training program is a 5X increase in revenue?
Is the sales training program applicable to your team’s industry, market or role?
Once you’ve got answers to these important questions, let’s examine some of the potential programs available.
Jeff Hoffman’s workshops cover entire sale cycles from getting prospects to come to you all the way to successful closing. Workshops typically last a full eight hour day, and the cost runs about $600 per person.
Hoffman also offers special rates for larger corporate events. So, if you are looking to train a large sales force you may be able to negotiate the total cost. All in all, the program offers a tremendous amount of information and practical techniques that can help any sales team improve their performance in short order.
Selling With Stories
Lasting about two days with varying location availability, Hoffeld Group’s sales training program focuses on messaging and communication. It is primarily intended for salespeople, but it has proven beneficial to management, training staff and business leaders, too.
Lessons in the two-day workshop center around the science of creating persuasive narratives. Once fundamentals have been established, sales professionals learn the finer points of when to tell stories in the sales process for the greatest effect, as well as the four parts of a truly compelling narrative.
At the end of the two days, your sales representatives will be empowered with the skills to compose their own stories that inspire change in their sales prospects. Costs do vary for this course, but group rates are available.
Keep in mind that both courses are in-person workshops/seminars, which adds the variable costs of travel, accommodations and scheduling. A tidy way to eliminate these headaches is to opt for online sales training for your team.
Online Sales Training
The chief advantage of an online sales training program is that it can take place anywhere at any time. With the global pandemic showing no signs of going away any time soon, it is also an excellent way to get your team the training they need now and not six months from now. Here is an overview of some of the best available online sales training programs:
21st Century Sales Training for Elite Performance
A twelve-week course provided by sales training expert Brian Tracy, this online sales training program offers in-depth coverage of the seven key aspects of sales: prospecting, trust and credibility development, buyer problem identification, overcoming objections, selling value, the art of closing and earning referrals and repeat business.
There are twenty-four videos included in the course that you can view as often as you want, and there are multiple workbooks, exercises and bonus training modules. The cost is around $997 for the course, but it is difficult to argue with the results that hundreds of companies have garnered from Tracy’s training and expertise.
This course offered through Hubspot Academy is just three hours that cover the inbound sales methodology. Lessons focus on using fresh sales tactics for modern sales people intended to take the high road from traditional, less effective sales techniques.
There is no cost for this course, and it has solid advice and information about practical ways to implement the inbound sales method. Trainees learn all aspects of inbound sales during the course from identifying prospective customers to tailoring personalized presentations.
After your team finishes the course and passes the final exam, they will receive a badge that can be displayed on their LinkedIn profile, email, signature and website. Inbound Sales is a great way to grow your sales team’s skill set without any additional training costs, so it is a great value regardless of your industry, market or specialization.
Smart Calling College
Never underestimate the value of cold-calling even in the digital marketing age. Smart Calling College is here to help your reps get the most out of their phone game.
This self-paced course takes about two hours per week over four weeks to complete, and the cost is around $895 per attendee with a $795 cost for each additional attendee from the same organization.
Lessons are packed with invaluable information and techniques that can help any sales professional improve their phone skills and generate significantly more revenue.
Over the course of four weeks, your team will learn how to engage prospects in the first few seconds of a call, resolve buyer objections, add value to every step of their sales cycle, get the follow-up call and much more.
Best of all, videos are included in the cost of the course, and your team members will have access to a workbook, live coaching sessions and the training company’s online forum. It may be a little pricey, but if your team relies on phone communication to bring in new business, it is the best training you can give them.
The Art of Sales: Mastering the Selling Process Specialization
If you are training a new sales team with little to no experience in sales, this course is ideal to get them on a solid footing.
The cost is $95 per person for a certificate program, and it is designed specifically for rookie sales representatives to develop their fundamental sales skills like prospecting, qualifying, asking the right questions and developing personalized proposals for prospective buyers.
Best of all, the skills taught in this course apply to both B2B and B2C customers, and the lectures, reading and exercises are all selected for real-world application.
Iannarino Sales Accelerator
For the self-taught seller and entrepreneurs, there are few courses better suited to honing your sales skills than Iannarino Sales Accelerator.
Available as both an year-long training course or a lifetime membership, the Iannarino Sales Accelerator is more of a community of participants dedicated to honing their sales skills and continuing to grow as they pursue their careers.
Every month, members and annual participants get new “How To” lessons on core sales skill sets. Founder Anthony Iannarino also hosts live Q&As via webinar where members can get clarification and seek insight on their learning.
The best feature of this program, though, is access to the private forum where members can provide answers to each other’s questions, strategize and give support and feedback.
The cost is $997 per year, but there is a lifetime membership option for $2,997. The cost of a lifetime membership is somewhat prohibitive, but the unfettered access to the wealth of knowledge and experience in the forums alone is a priceless resource.
One piece of advice regarding sales training programs: training your team is crucial, but you cannot overlook training your sales management team either.
Sales Management Training
By definition, sales management is a process used to develop a sales force and implement strategies and techniques that allow the team to consistently meet and exceed sales goals.
The key to effective sales management training is helping your sales manager or managers develop effective sales management strategies. With that in mind, selecting a sales training program for your managers requires greater selectivity than choosing a program for the team.
Sales Training for Managers
There are not as many sales training programs specifically designed for sales managers since they are a much smaller target audience. That being said, here are a few recommendations:
- Sales Prospecting Advanced Techniques: a free thirteen-hour online course designed for sales managers and trainers focusing on how to make statements and ask questions that follow a carefully planned strategy.
- Sales Training and Strategy: The costs and duration of this online course varies based on your sales management teams needs, but it is custom-built to help everyone in your organization design and implement a successful sales strategy. Founder Marc Wayshak’s ultimate goal is to help client companies 10X their investment via increased sales revenue.
- Selling With Stories: While this program was previously mentioned in the sales training program section, it is also an ideal methodology for developing innovative sales strategies.
Once you have strategy development well in hand, you can start planning out your sales training program for your team. It all begins with the idea phase, then from those ideas you develop the techniques that will guide your sales teams behaviors.
You Can Also Learn About Sales Consulting here.
Sales Training Ideas
Here are a few ideas to try at your next sales meeting to help your team keep their skills sharp:
The Elevator Pitch
Team members practice making understandable, concise, irrefutable and attractive presentations in 30-seconds or less. This takes a significant amount of forethought and planning, but it is an invaluable skill for taking advantage of each sales opportunity.
Selling Through Curiosity
A variant of the Socratic method that engages prospective clients in questioning to determine their needs and overcome objections.
Objection Handling Training
Randomly assign objections to team members and have them develop a response. Try to make objections unique and unpredictable to afford your people the best possible preparation for responding to actual objections in the field.
Sales Training Techniques
To keep your team hungry and on the lookout for new business, here are some proven sales training techniques:
- Add extra field training to your schedule. There’s no experience like real experience.
- Train and motivate your team using success stories. Case studies and anecdotes from successful sales teams make the best source material.
- Offer incentives that are meaningful to your team specifically, not just any sales team.
- Schedule 1:1 sales meetings with all of your sales reps to check for understanding and ensure they are making the most of what they learn in their training sessions.
- Establish integration between your team and other teams within the company like marketing. Both departments depend on each other to be successful, so working together is critical to everyone’s success.
B2B Sales Training
A quick note about B2B sales. Many of the techniques involved in training a sales team for B2C sales also apply to B2B sales. The primary difference is that B2B reps will need a sales training program that focuses on selling to groups of decision makers as opposed to individuals. Most important of all, B2B reps need to be trained to assess the needs of an entire company, not just a department or team.
Training Sales Teams
Choose the right sales training program, give your team to the right sales manager, and monitor all stakeholders for progress and struggles. With patience, attention to detail and trust in your sales manager, you will begin to see increased revenue and customer satisfaction as returns on your investment.
Finding the Right Sales Training for Your Team
Are you ready to take your sales teams’ impact to the next level? Invest in the best sales training programs for your sales team and management, and you will quickly see 5X and even 10X returns on that investment. A well-trained sales team is always a successful sales team, and a great sales training program will help you get to where you want to be.