Finding decent sales training is easy. But finding the best sales training is challenging… unless you know exactly what you’re looking for.
There are tons of sales training programs out there on the market. The problem is that a lot of those programs may not align with exactly what you need. Let’s avoid you spending money and time on a program that doesn’t work for you and ending up right back where you started.
I've taken dozens of sales trainings myself, and even though I have always been able to find something valuable I could apply, many were not complete. For example, one favorite provided a structure for a sales call with powerful questions, but it didn't touch on how to differentiate from my competition. Another training provided the state-of-the-art sales process but when asked about what to do when your client doesn't agree to follow the linear path the process is built on, the trainer had no answer. My worst experience was a sales training that was taught by a professional trainer who had never sold, something he disclosed when a person in the training asked about his experience.
I am a life-long learner, and I still buy courses and take training, including training in sales and sales leadership, keeping up on new ideas, strategies, and tactics.
The 5 Simple Steps to Choosing the Best Sales Training for You
Sales training programs are generally between $1,000 - $3,000 per person, depending on the program and the way the training company delivers the training. The "check box" training that is a one-day training comes with a lower price, but it is usually used to cover one topic the company believes they need to improve and is often done in person. On the higher end of the pricing for sales training, you generally find a larger program, one that provides processes and methodologies that make up a complete system. These programs include live training, virtual live training, and a large library of content designed to support the sales force and their sales managers transform their results.
You can also expect to pay more for a custom program. You will generally have to pay for "work-for-hire" programs, if you need the training company to create custom playbooks or any resources, they have to build for you.
You can expect a lower-priced, check-box training to take a day to complete, followed by a call or two answer questions. Larger training programs can take a quarter to a year to complete. Any training designed to transform the sales forces results will take more time, as the training and coursework builds competencies on top of the prior training.
The most essential factor when choosing a sales training program is whether the program is based on a modern sales approach. In a lot of buying decisions, the older something is, the more it seems like a safe bet, something that isn't true with your sales approach.
The other essentials should include workbooks, live, or live virtual training, coaching calls, a full complement of resources to support the salespeople being trained, tests to prove the salesperson competencies, and a way to ensure compliance.
It’s time to explore the five simple steps you should take to find the best sales training program that matches your exact needs.
Choosing A Sales Training Type
Finding precisely the type of sales training you’re looking for is an essential first step. This will most likely have to align with your company’s overall sales strategy, industry, personality, and selling style.
There are several types of training that require different approaches. Some trainings provide a methodology, like relationship selling, consultative selling, or some other training designed to provide the sales team with a methodology. Other training provides a "sales 101" training that provides the sales force with training in the fundamentals. Other programs provide a development platform that provides a much larger number of methodologies, processes, and competencies.
Some training programs specialize in certain areas, like Inside Sales or Direct Sales. Because an inside salesperson has clients calling them, many do not have to prospect and acquire new clients, making prospecting training irrelevant for them. One decision you need to make when considering sales training is what training you need to provide your team.
The second decision is choosing a training program that aligns with your overall strategy. In straightforward and more transactional sales, some of the older, legacy approaches, like Sandler, are well-designed to provide the sales force what they need to win deals. In more complicated and complex B2B sales, a company like Richardson will provide the requisite strategies, tactics, and approaches that allow the salesperson to better manage the sales conversation. Our program, Sales Accelerator, is designed for the complex B2B sale, the kind where your client often perceives you as a commodity and where creating value and differentiating yourself from your competitors is critical.
The best training should provide the language choices that allow salespeople to confidently lead the sales conversation. Any theory or concept that doesn't provide for how to have the conversation isn't likely to be adopted. It's one obstacle to change.
RELATED READING: From Legacy to Modern Sales Approaches: Part I
Choosing An In-Person or Virtual Training
There is nothing more powerful than in-person training. It is the gold standard for training. But it is also the most expensive when the sales force doesn't have a shared location, with most salespeople living in their territory. The cost of flying the salesperson to a city, paying for their plane and their transportation, their hotel, and their meals, can make it cost prohibitive.
More often, sales organizations are using in-person training by bringing the trainer to their team meetings, getting the most out of the investment they are making in their meetings. It makes sense to provide training during these meetings, especially when you have one important change you need to make, supporting it with a training designed to provide the competency to support the change.
Virtual training has now been adopted by some of the largest sales organizations in the world. The technology has evolved to make virtual training a powerful tool to skill up, coach, and train salespeople and sales leaders. The advantages are many, but the first benefit is eliminating the travel expenses that generally double the cost of the training. Because virtual training allows the salesperson to acquire new skills and competencies in ninety-minute training sessions, they are not pulled out of the field for several days.
The greatest advantage of virtual training is that the sales force can train a couple times a month, building on what they have learned and, with the right program, being given assignments that cause them to use what they learned in the field. When these training are supported with other resources, the sales force can review what they learned, often using the resources as spot training.
Virtual can be combined with live training, but the major advantage is that it creates a continuity that proves you are serious about transformation and increasing your team's competencies. It provides a better approach than the short-term band-aid approach of a one-day training.
RELATED READING: 5 Proven Online Sales Training Programs That Drive Result
Finding Individual or Team Training
If you are an individual, you will find an increasingly large number of training programs available. Because professional sales is difficult, you are often better off choosing a program from a company that provides training for teams. A company that trains teams will have more content available to address your challenges, and many courses on the fundamentals, things like objections, prospecting, and negotiation.
A decision for a team will be one that needs to include several things you aren't likely to find in a training designed for individuals. Any program for a team should include a major approach to sales, training and support for the sales managers, many scripts, a way to role play, testing, and report cards on the sales forces progress. But what is most important is planning to transform the sales force and a proven guided path to follow, along with the support.
RELATED READING: The Ultimate Guide to Sales Leadership
Pick A Trainer You Align With
Sales training can actually be fun depending on who your trainers are (I know how odd that may sound at first.) When you approach sales training with enthusiasm and an open mind and have an approachable sales trainer you genuinely enjoy listening to, sales training becomes simpler.
In sales, some part of any decision is "fit." Does this salesperson and their company align with us? The first question you can expect your team to ask when providing them with training is whether or not the trainer has expertise beyond what they already know. A sales force will quickly sniff out the fact the salesperson doesn't have the experience and is simply providing the content. One critical factor is does the trainer have the expertise we need now.
One question that will help you determine who to train you and your team is whether you gravitate to their free content. Do you like to read their work and watch their videos? If someone resonates with you, you will get more out of your training.
My experiences as a person being trained, is that I found that the companies with a founder still developing content and leading the training to be most valuable. Even when they weren't in the training, the value of the training was much greater than other training. The worst training came from companies who bought a sales training company or content to provide it to their clients, even though their real training was not related to sales.
Compare Deliverables and Training Modules
Just as if you were signing up for any other educational course, the curriculum makes a world of difference. If you’re looking for the sales fundamentals or you’re looking for very specialized training, your sales training should reflect that.
Training needs to deliver specific outcomes. There is nothing wrong with buying training to improve you or your team's ability to negotiate. When you have a larger need, something we call "transformation," you will need to complete an approach that covers the fundamentals and more. Expect to get workbooks, reading material and recommendations, and an opportunity to ask questions on a frequent basis.
Our approach includes workbooks, regular question and answer coaching, and an opportunity to help troubleshoot sales and sales management challenges. We also provide talk tracks for tricky conversations, including ones designed for managers.
Invest in the Right Sales Training Program for Your Team
The value of a good training program, when chosen and delivered well, has an incredible return on investment. It's nearly impossible not to be able to gain 10x what you paid for the program after time, with most B2B sales organizations seeing multiples of that multiple over time. There is almost no risk of a well-trained salesperson to fail to generate a few thousand dollars of increased profit when held accountable for doing what they were trained to do.
If you are looking for a complete, modern approach to B2B sales for you or your team, we can help. If you need something beyond what we provide, we will make a recommendation for you: