Sales training is vital for improving your team's performance.

Sales Training for Every Level: Building Skills from the Ground Up

In the world of sales, continuous learning is the key to success. Sales reps who go through quality sales training improve their individual performance by 20%. From newcomers eager to make their mark to seasoned professionals striving to stay on top of their thrones, the journey of mastering sales never ends.

This comprehensive guide to sales training ensures your arsenal is stocked to the brim with all the tips, tricks, and tools you need for success.

Let’s start at the beginning…

Table of Contents

What is Sales Training?

Sales training is usually a program that provides sales reps with the skills, product knowledge, and techniques they’ll need to make sales more efficiently.

Sales training falls broadly into four categories:

1. Sales Methodology

Want to know what to do during a sales call? Sales methodology training teaches you how to approach the art of selling during each step of the sales process. It’s what helps you get clear in your mind about what exactly you’re doing. Sales methodology training is the ideal first step for new sales reps.

2. Sales Skills

It’s all well and good knowing what to do, but it’s sales skills that train you how to do it well. By training your sales skills, you hone your ability to actually make the sale, using lots of different techniques. Sales skills training is crucial for all sales reps, regardless of experience, though advanced sellers will likely have the basics covered already.

3. Product Knowledge

In order to sell a specific product well, you can’t just have the method and the skills; you also need product knowledge. This area of sales training opens your eyes to the product’s features, benefits, and drawbacks so that you know what you’re selling like the back of your hand. This is critical to all sales reps and needs to be continuously revisited as new features are released.

4. Customer Knowledge

Finally, you can know what to do, how to do it, and everything about your product, but if you don’t know your customer, you’re still going to struggle. Customer knowledge is an often overlooked aspect of sales training that gives you the edge as it empowers you to tailor features to your prospect based on their specific needs, wants, and pain points.

This is necessary for all sales reps, but the key is that the seller knows how to obtain customer information on the fly, as well as absorbing any pre-existing data you have available.

It’s true that these different aspects of sales training overlap and merge into one another, but it’s a good high-level overview of looking at it:

  1. What do you do?
  2. How do you do it well?
  3. What are you selling?
  4. Who are you selling to?

In this article, we’re mostly going to shine a light on training sales skills as this is where the meat of how to sell well really lies. However, the other types of sales training will pop up throughout too. But first, let’s dive a little deeper into customer-centric sales training and product-centric sales training…

Customer-Centric vs Product-Centric Sales Training

Customer-centric companies like Starbucks and Amazon stand out from the crowd because they focus on the user experience above all else. Starbucks literally has an undercover Facebook group to promote their pumpkin-spice latte where they access rich insights from their customers’ hearts and minds, most of whom are just there for the autumn vibes.

On the other hand, product-centric companies like Apple and Dyson focus more on the design of the product, making it stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Here’s a brief overview of the two when it comes to sales training:





Understand the needs, preferences, and pain points of the customer.

Emphasize in-depth knowledge of the product or service being sold.


Build better customer relationships, gain more trust, and provide tailored solutions.

Highlight the features and benefits of the product and demonstrate how it can meet the customer’s needs.

Training Methods

Teach sales reps active listening skills, encourage empathy, and train them how to ask open-ended questions to uncover customer needs.

Teach sales reps about the features, specifications, and unique selling points of your product or service. This can include training on competitive positioning.


It leads to higher customer satisfaction, more loyalty, and increased sales and revenue.

It leads to improved objection handling and a higher quality articulation of the value proposition.

But here’s the catch: when it comes to sales training, you need both!

It can help to have sales reps that are better at one than the other, but your sales team needs to know how to communicate effectively with customers and explain the value proposition of your product. They’re two sides of the same coin. If you can put that coin in all your sales reps’ pockets, you’re in for a good time.

How Important is Sales Training?

Very. Roughly speaking, for every dollar a company spends on sales training, it receives about $4.53 back. Put simply, sales training works. It’s not only important, it’s vital to the growth of your business. And even more importantly, those companies that skimp on sales training are falling behind.

McKinsey released a report which compared fast-growing organizations with underperforming ones. They found that high-growth companies tailored their sales training to the individual sales rep, and on average, they spent significantly more time and money on sales training than their underperforming competitors. The takeaway? If you’re not training your sales team effectively, it’s likely you’re one of the underperformers.

There are plenty more reasons why sales training is crucial:

A Trained Sales Rep Sells Better

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that training contributes to confidence. Are you more likely to sell well if you feel assured in your own abilities, or if you’re feeling lost, confused, and a little left in the dark? Confidence is key, and sales training is what will have your sales reps oozing confidence from every pore.

Studies show that continuous sales training results in 50% higher net sales per employee. This isn’t some small-time gain. That can be the difference between $200,000 and $300,000… per employee!

Customer Experience is Enhanced

When your sales rep knows exactly what they’re talking about, they improve the experience of the prospect tenfold. This is because a well-trained rep will know how to build rapport better, listen more, and empathize deeply with the prospect and their needs. They’ll also know exactly how to read the customer (more on that later 😉).

Empowered Reps Feel More Fulfilled

Happy sales reps create happy customers. Just as prospects feel valued when they’re empathized with and listened to, so do your sales reps. When they receive quality training, they feel respected and appreciated, resulting in higher overall happiness which they’ll pass onto the customer.

How Much Does Sales Training Cost?

It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that sales training costs can vary wildly depending on the quality, location, and amount of sales reps you want to train. You can find free sales training programs online; the problem lies in trying to find authentic training solutions rather than the ones that provide little-to-no value.

You can also pay good money and receive bad training. It’s wise to always check reviews and testimonials before purchasing sales training.

In general, you can expect to pay anywhere between $400-3,000 for a reputable sales training program. ATD found that the average company spends $2,020 per sales rep on training.

Not all programs are created equally, however. Quality, time, resources, and subject matter are just some of the variables to keep in mind when considering how much to fork out for sales training. You should also pay close attention to the following four factors as they’ll be what justifies the price.

How Well-Known is the Teacher?

If the teacher is one of the best sales reps in the business, you’ll be paying top dollar. The same goes for anything; if you’re taught by an expert on the top of his or her game, you’re going to be paying the price associated with such prestige. 

How Much Personal Feedback Will You Receive?

As a general rule of thumb, the more personalized feedback your reps receive, the more expensive it will be. This is because the teacher will spend more time ensuring your salespeople understand and remember the important skills.

How Customizable is the Training?

If you want your sales training to be tailored to your business or a specific individual, you’ll be charged extra.

How Long Does it Last and How Many Other Participants Are There?

If you opt for a lengthy sales training course with minimal other participants, it will cost more.

Sales training costs broken down by customization level
Source: Artisan E-Learning

As you can see above, the more customization your sales training program has, the more expensive it becomes. However, the value that customization brings is unparalleled. You can literally tailor it to your team’s specific needs, including training on how to sell your actual product.

Measuring the Success of Sales Training

The main reason for sales training, ultimately, is increased revenue. If you’re not going to make more sales, then surely that means your sales training wasn’t worth it. However, there are many steps in between the training itself and the end goal of more sales. 

It works like a domino effect. Your newly trained employee is the first domino. Increased revenue is the last domino. But just because the last domino doesn’t fall, it doesn’t mean your sales training was useless. There could be a problem somewhere in the middle; by measuring the success of your sales training, you’re able to spot where the training paid off but also identify chokepoints in your strategy.

In addition to this, increased sales is always the goal. How do you know if your sales training is what led to that outcome if that’s all you track? Correlation doesn’t equate to causation.

Instead, create KPIs in advance so that you can monitor the success of your sales training in a number of different ways simultaneously. You’ll be able to see which skills have had improvements and which skills still need work. Be sure to track the starting levels so that you have something to compare against.

Check out the following table for an example of what to track to measure sales training success:

Key MetricDescriptionAssociated Skill
Revenue GeneratedMeasure the increase in sales revenue after the training compared to before.Advanced negotiation techniques, effective objection handling
Conversion RatesTrack the percentage of leads or prospects converted into customers.Effective communication, persuasive selling techniques
Average Deal SizeMonitor whether there’s an improvement in the average size of deals closed.Upselling, cross-selling
Sales Cycle LengthDetermine if the sales cycle has been shortened as a result of improved techniques learned in training.Efficient time management, qualification of leads
Customer SatisfactionGather feedback from customers to assess their satisfaction with the sales process, product/service, and overall experience.Active listening, empathy
Employee EngagementMeasure the level of enthusiasm, commitment, and motivation among sales team members following the training.Goal setting, resilience
Sales Team PerformanceEvaluate individual and team performance metrics such as quota attainment, pipeline coverage, and win rates to determine if there’s an improvement post-training.Collaboration, sales forecasting
Knowledge RetentionAssess the extent to which sales reps retain and apply the knowledge and skills learned during training over time.Continuous learning, knowledge management
Market PenetrationAnalyze whether the training has enabled the sales team to penetrate new markets or reach new customer segments effectively.Market research, strategic planning
Customer Churn RateMeasure the percentage of customers who stop purchasing or subscribing to a product or service over a specific period.Customer relationship management, problem-solving skills

The best part about this is that each of these metrics only needs to move in your favor a tiny bit for you to see significant results.

"[If you] improve by 1% every day, in just 70 days, you’re twice as good.”

Best Sales Training Programs

You might be tempted to opt for some of the free sales training programs that you can find online, but rather than approaching sales training with the intention of spending as little as possible, approach it with the intention of learning as much as possible. The money will be well spent if it increases sales.

Also, keep in mind that 84% of sales training is forgotten after 3 months, but 65% of employees say the quality of training and learning opportunities positively influences their engagement. What this means, in simple terms, is that crap sales training is as good as worthless. It’ll go in one ear and out the other. Quality sales training is quality for a reason. They don’t just know what to teach, they know how to teach it so that your reps remember.

Here are a few well respected sales training programs that are worth your money.


Raingroup are industry leaders in the realm of sales, regularly performing sales research and presenting their findings. They also stress the importance of sales training, highlighting that 57% of “elite performers” prioritize and maximize the time sales managers spend coaching their sales reps, compared to 42% of “top performers” and just 28% of everyone else.

To get a quote, you’ll need to contact a consultant, but their experience speaks for itself. Take a look at this testimonial from Gavin Jackson, Head of Sales Toyota Fleet Management. 

"RAIN Group was passionate about helping us and knew exactly what the opportunity was. They made it very easy for the dealers to be successful. There was a lot we had to do to increase the capability of our own team and then gain respect in the Toyota world. RAIN Group has been a big part of that. We’ve gone from being just a financer to a trusted fleet partner to our stakeholders."

JB Sales

JB Sales is another place where you can get top quality sales training programs. Team training starts at $7,000 for 15 named users and gives you access to one year’s membership to pre-recorded content and a few live sessions per month, or you can get one hour of one-to-one training for $1,000. There are other courses available too.

Below is a testimonial from a JB Sales customer.

"I went from unconfident and awkward in my approach to being asked by my sales leaders to share what I have done with the entire sales org."


sellHoffman is one of the best sales training programs that converts sales reps into closers. They have programs for onboarding new hires to leveling up entire sales teams. Prices range from $595 to $1,995 per member, depending on the features you need.

Winning By Design

Check out the video below for an introduction to Winning By Design’s epic sales training course, hosted by SalesHood.

They’ve established their course in a way that makes it easy to learn, bridging each lesson into the next so you can follow along and integrate each part with your sales team. It’s sales training, but simplified.

More Sales Training Programs

With a little research, you can find plenty more sales training programs that are worth your time. Here is a non-exhaustive list of companies that offer sales training that you might want to check out:

  • Janek Performance Group
  • Sandler Training
  • Negotiation Experts
  • Richardson Sales Performance
  • Inbound Sales

Why Does Sales Training Fail?

Sales training can fail for numerous reasons, but it’s often due to one of the following six issues:

1. Poor Training Content

Just because something is called sales training, it doesn’t mean it’s actually beneficial. Most of the cheaper training programs will fail for this reason. 

Solution: Invest in high-quality sales training courses. Get clear on your sales reps’ skill gaps and choose a course that will cater to their needs. Before you buy, ensure the content is up-to-date, relevant, and tailored to the needs of your sales team.

2. Training Without Coaching

Doctors, lawyers, and engineers aren’t trained with a simple course, so don’t expect your sales reps to be either. If you’re lucky, your sales training program might last a week, but you’ll need continuous coaching and monitoring to ensure the lessons truly stick.

Solution: Reinforce sales training after the program has finished with continuous coaching from sales managers. Managers themselves need to be trained in the skills that the sales reps are learning, but also in the art of sales coaching. The learning should never end.

3. Weak Management

As mentioned above, sales managers need to know all the skills that sales reps have, but also how to coach their employees to bring the best out of them. If managers lack the know-how, your sales training will likely fail. 

Solution: All sales managers should work towards clear objectives, both short-term and long-term. Those objectives should always include improving the skills of your sales team.

4. Resistance to Change

One of the biggest hurdles that sales reps need to overcome is their resistance to change. If they’re set in their ways, it may be difficult for them to try new approaches. If this is the case, it will surely lead to the failure of any attempts at sales training. 

Solution: Encourage your team to be open to change. Track their performance using KPIs outlined from the beginning and incentivize success through rewards among other things. You can also involve your reps in the training process by asking for their input and feedback. Tailor it to their needs.

5. Ineffective Measurement and Evaluation

You can’t see how far you’ve come if you don’t track the progress. In this case, your sales training may not have even failed, but your ability to accurately draw conclusions is blurred because the measurements are off (or completely non-existent). 

Solution: Ensure you track where your sales reps are at before your training starts, then monitor their progress afterwards in specific areas. See the ‘Measuring the Success of Sales Training’ section above for a table on exactly what to keep your eyes on depending on the specific training your team participates in.

6. Lack of Practical Application

Sales training doesn’t work very well when it’s heavily theory-based. Your sales reps need to know how they can actually implement what’s being taught.

Solution: The best solution to this is to choose a program that emphasizes practicality. As a sales manager, you can help directly by providing an opportunity to apply newly learned skills in role-playing exercises that mirror real-world selling situations. You can also offer guidance and feedback on how reps can transfer these skills into their day-to-day activities.

Sales Training Topics

Ideally, you will tailor your sales training program to your team’s needs. However, there are several essential elements to selling, and each one can be an entire sales training course on its own. 

Let’s briefly go over the eight sales topics that should be at the top of your list.

1. Prospecting

Prospecting is critical, yet 71.4% of salespeople say that only half or fewer of their initial prospects turn out to be a good fit. This means more than 50% of the prospects they approach aren’t even interested in the product or service they’re offering. When you see stats like this, it’s easy to see why a sales training program based around prospecting can be hugely beneficial.

If you cut out the prospects that aren’t remotely interested, and dedicate more time and energy towards those who are, you’re guaranteed to make more sales. After all, 62% of buyers want to hear from sellers when they are actively looking for a solution to their problem.

A good sales training program will help you find these buyers.

2. Building Rapport

We’ll dive into this more as a key sales skill below, but the idea is that your sales reps should want to establish a positive and trusting relationship with prospects from the get-go. This lays the foundation for effective communication and makes prospects more likely to open up and express their needs and wants.

All good sales training courses should touch on rapport building as it’s an essential skill to master. It’s something that will crop up again and again as it’s relevant whenever there’s an interaction between a sales rep and a prospect.

3. Sales Pitch

Another important sales topic is that of the pitch. If there’s no pitch, you’re just two people having a conversation about business. The pitch is what will hopefully turn the prospect into a customer. The key thing to get across is your value proposition. 

Sales training courses will focus on the pitch as it needs to come at the right time to the right prospect. Your sales reps will need to learn how to identify customer pain points (more on that soon) and position your product or service as a solution to the prospect’s problem. Understanding the value proposition is vital here. Tailor-made training programs can be beneficial for working out the best way to specifically sell your product.

Talk Time

It’s important for your sales reps to remember not to get carried away, too. Research shows that reps should speak for 43% of the call, letting prospects talk for the other 57%. This talk-to-listen ratio in sales is important as too many reps do the complete opposite, especially during their pitch.

If your reps can get the prospect to do the majority of the talking, they subtly increase their engagement. It’s proven that this leads to more sales. Encourage your reps to lower their speaking time during sales calls and analyze the results for yourself!

4. Objection Handling

Again, more on this under sales skills, but the idea of objection handling is that your salespeople know how to reframe a prospect’s objection into a positive for your product. There will be objections, so your reps need to be calm, collected, and confident. A good program will teach this as a primary skill.

5. Negotiation 

Once the objections have been clarified and the prospect is ready to continue, you get to the negotiation stage. This is where the sales rep and the prospect will come to mutually agreeable terms regarding price, delivery, subscription length, and any other terms of sale.

This is a vital skill to include in sales training courses as top salespeople are 3.1 times more likely than the rest to achieve their pricing target (and be 12.5 times more satisfied with the outcome).

A skilled negotiator is 12.5x happier with their outcome to a sale.
Source: Rain Sales Training

6. Closing Deals

Finalizing the sale is quite possibly the most crucial part of sales. Even if you do all the above perfectly, you aren’t going to make the sale unless you can close the deal. There’s a definite art to closing deals faster, part of which is identifying buying signals in the prospect. 

Your prospect may be:

  • Enthusiastically engaged in the conversation, nodding, smiling and agreeing with your points.
  • Asking questions such as “When can we start?”
  • Requesting additional information and showing interest outside of the surface level things.
  • Discussing use cases or hypothetical scenarios.
  • Talking about compatibility and how to integrate it within their current systems.
  • Reacting positively to previous success stories.
  • Expressing time sensitivity and a sense of urgency.
  • Taking frequent notes and really focusing on what you have to say.

All these buying signals are important to look out for as it suggests when your sales reps should make the move. Too early and your reps run the risk of scaring the prospect away. Too late and they’ll be feeling frustrated. A quality sales training course will help your sales teams identify the opportune moment and make the killer move just on time.

7. Pipeline Management

Pipeline management is all about tracking and managing the progress of leads as they move down the sales pipeline. This is everything from initial contact all the way to closing. If your sales reps can do this quickly and efficiently, it will help them stay organized, empowering them to expend their energy where it really matters.

There are plenty of virtual tools that can assist with pipeline management, and a top-end sales training program will teach your reps how to use these tools to maximize their efficiency.

8. Customer Complaints

While customer complaints won’t always be related to your sales team, there may be instances where the customer is unhappy due to miscommunication with the rep. If the customer complains post-sale, it’s a good idea for your reps to communicate with them again, doing everything they can to address their concerns and ensure satisfaction. 

Everyone’s Different

It’s important for your sales reps to remember that despite having a target audience, every prospect is different. Selling to different types of people can bring its own wealth of challenges, but there are ways around it if you’d like to delve into the more DIY-type of sales training.

DIY: Successful Sales Techniques

Let’s take things a step further. What can you actually do to improve your team’s sales training?

There are several sales techniques that are considered universal pillars in regard to sales training. In a way, they’re evergreen skills that can be used across multiple industries all over the world.

Let’s take a more in-depth look, comparing beginner tips with advanced tips, starting with how to prepare for a sales call.

Preparing For a Sales Call

Preparation is everything. When your reps prepare properly, they’ll be equipped with customer knowledge and preferences that they can use to their advantage from the get-go.

Beginner Tips

A new recruit will need this drilled into their heads during sales training. Research is necessary, practice is vital, and knowledge of your product or service will go a looong way.

During sales coaching, make sure new reps are ready for objections – they will arise whether you want them to or not. Also, make sure they know how to establish goals and be themselves to build rapport with clients

Advanced Tips

A sales veteran will initially think they have this in the bag, but even old-timers need to brush up on their customer knowledge before a sales call. You can help them with this by training them to review past interactions to remind them of the prospect’s situation. In addition to that, ensure they stay positive, are ready to adapt at a moment’s notice, and are continuously looking for better ways to prepare. 

Here are several ways to help with preparation for sales calls:


If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. To avoid this, train your sales reps to collect as much information about the prospect as they possibly can. What are their goals, challenges, and concerns? Use them to tailor a solution with a personal touch. 

Tailor Your Approach

Touched on above, sales reps should always look for ways to customize their pitch to suit the prospect’s needs. In your sales training program, highlight the importance of being personal and avoiding generic pitches. Instill the enthusiasm to go above and beyond other sales teams by empowering your sales reps to tweak their pitch to align with and emphasize the prospect’s values.


Sales reps must demonstrate the capabilities of your product. Encourage sellers to use previous situations where your product has addressed similar challenges to the prospect’s – reps can make use of testimonials here to hammer it home.

Ensure they keep the demo short and sweet. You’ll want them to directly address this particular prospect’s desires without delving into the features they’ll never need. Mention them, of course, but save the specifics for what the prospect wants. Time is precious.

Anticipate Objections

Objections will arise. It’s up there with death and taxes as one of the inescapable elements of life. By anticipating them in advance, your sales team can prepare and develop a more flexible response to address them with. Let your sellers know not to be defensive here. They want to make the prospect feel heard and understood. Direct them towards focusing on how they can help solve the problem to foster deeper levels of trust. 

Key Sales Skills

Effective sales skills are crucial for helping your team engage with prospects and address their needs in a more enticing way. By enhancing and improving sales skills, your sellers will be one step closer to building stronger relationships with clients.

Even if you’re a seasoned salesperson yourself, it’s important to approach these skills from a sales training perspective. Let’s dive into the six most important ones in more detail.

1. Active Listening

Active listening is indispensable in sales training as it lays the initial groundwork to build rapport and display empathy to prospects. For starters, being attentive to verbal and nonverbal cues will give your team deeper insights into the prospect’s needs and emotions. 

Here’s an infographic that displays the seven most important aspects of active listening:

Key active listening skills for sales training.
Source: Center for Creative Leadership
Beginner Tips

A great technique that new sales reps can try is to repeat what the prospect said back to them in different words. This shows the prospect that you were listening and that you want to understand, increasing trust and respect. It also gives them an opportunity to correct you and clarify if you got something wrong.

Have your sales reps practice this with you in a role-playing setting before setting them out on real prospects.

Another important thing to drill into your cohort is to avoid interrupting the prospect. Let them speak. Even better, instruct your sales reps to consciously take a long pause after the prospect finishes to ensure they aren’t going to make another point.

Advanced Tips

For sales veterans, see if you can get them to offer thought-provoking insights on what the prospect tells them. It can take some practice, but the intention here is to implant the idea that your product is the solution to the prospect’s problem in a subtle manner so the prospect believes they came to the conclusion themselves. Consider it like Inception.

Sales reps can do this by paraphrasing what the prospect said from a fresh angle. Be careful they don’t go overboard here though. If a prospect feels like the sales rep is twisting their words, they’ll let them know about it. Encourage them to be honest and genuine, but highlight the prospect’s problem in a way that points to a solution – your solution. It’s a fine line, and some sales reps will pick it up quicker than others. If you get it right though, it’ll be well worth the effort.

2. Be Authentic

Being genuine might not sound like a sales skill, but some reps find it tricky to embrace. It creates an authentic selling approach and helps build a sincere connection with customers. By being themselves, sales reps can step away from the script a little bit and leave fancy jargon behind.

Instead, they can embrace their personality and communicate with confidence. Clients are more likely to trust authentic salespeople. In fact, 88% of buyers only buy from salespeople they trust – all the more reasons to highlight authenticity in your sales training program.

Beginner Tips

Sales rep beginners can practice being authentic by starting the conversation with a bit of an icebreaker rather than diving head-first into the pitch. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask for feedback at the end of the call either. It displays their enthusiasm to learn and improve.

Advanced Tips

For well-experienced sales reps, encourage them to share relevant stories, freestyle rather than sticking to a script, and act with integrity. Acting with integrity can even mean recommending a competitor’s product if it’s a better fit for what the prospect needs.

While this might seem counter-intuitive in the world of sales, you can bet that the prospect will remember such an honest sales rep and recommend your product to their network where relevant. It’s not something to be handled lightly but it can be great for establishing long-term relationships.

3. Build Rapport

Building rapport in sales involves more than just having the gift of the gab. Sales call humor is one of the best ways to win over prospects if your sales reps can get it nailed down, but it’s not advisable to just start cracking jokes. Teaching humor is notoriously difficult; it’s far better if it comes naturally.

However, there are other ways to build rapport. By genuinely understanding, engaging with, and addressing customer concerns, your sales reps are able to raise their credibility in the prospect’s eyes and start forming stronger relationships.

Beginner Tips

One of the best techniques for new sales reps to use to build rapport faster is the mirror and match technique. To do so, train your salesperson to match the prospect’s communication style (speed, tone, word choice), and they’re far more likely to build an instant connection. People feel more at ease when they’re talking with someone on their wavelength. It’s sales psychology 101.

Advanced Tips

For sales veterans, you’ll want to take things a little deeper. Don’t just have them scratch the surface level topics; get them to dig in and uncover the prospect’s values, goals, and aspirations. What are they longing to achieve? How can your sales rep relate? More importantly, how can they help?

4. Follow-Ups

Follow-ups are crucial for maintaining relationships, nurturing leads, and closing sales. It’s a widespread fact that 80% of sales require five follow-up calls. That’s because 60% of customers say no four times before they say yes! Despite this, only 52% of sales reps ever bother with follow ups at all. 

What this all means is that follow-ups are essential. Not only that, but by following up, your sales reps continue to build rapport with the customer and position themselves above 48% of your competition. It’s a good idea to integrate it into your sales training so your salespeople can learn to follow up well.

Beginner Tips

For novice sales reps, the best advice for follow-ups is to arrange them clearly with the prospect on the initial call. Motivate your salespeople to arrange to be in touch with the prospect again before ending the initial call. Preferably have them set a date and time to reconvene with specific action points to come back to.

If the prospect doesn’t want to agree to a specific time, train your sales reps to persist with politeness. You don’t want your team to come across as pushy and the prospect’s time should be respected, but that doesn’t mean don’t follow up at all. To work your team out of this potential hole, train them to provide additional value to their follow-ups. Think in terms of testimonials, case studies, or further demonstrations.

Make sure your team’s follow-ups are timely, too. Don’t let too much time pass or the prospect may have already moved on. Finally, when your rep does reach out, hammer home the importance of personalizing the interaction. Have them reference specific topics they discussed to show their attentiveness and humanize the interaction.

Advanced Tips

One of the top ways to increase follow-up conversion is by creating a sense of urgency. For sales veterans, this is the key to closing the deal. Give your experienced salespeople the freedom to offer time-sensitive discounts (within reason) or incentives to prompt action from the prospect. These induce a feeling of FOMO in the prospect which pushes them to close the deal faster.

In addition to creating urgency, you should also introduce your sales team to advanced sales tools. Sales tools can identify the opportune time for following up, enabling your reps to maximize their potential. tl;dv, for example, notifies the salesperson when a prospect rewatches elements of a sales call. If this happens, it’s a great idea to send a follow-up as it means the pitch is on their mind and they are giving it serious thought. 

5. Leverage Technology

Technology is important in the modern sales industry. From recording sales calls to organizing customer data, it’s a lot easier to streamline your workflow and take your sales game to the next level with the help of automation. In regard to sales training, teaching your team how to use some of the fundamental tools should be near the top of your to-do list.

If you’re interested in specific software, check out our comprehensive guide to sales tools.

Beginner Tips

The first tool that any self-respecting sales rep should learn how to use is a CRM. This is used to track leads, manage customer interactions, and streamline follow-up processes.

It’s also a central repository for all customer-related things. This makes it ideal for checking in on before sales calls, getting up to date information on the prospect and being able to remember small details from previous interactions. The good news is, this should already be there. You just have to show your sales rep how to find what they’re looking for.

New sales reps should also familiarize themselves with email marketing platforms, social media platforms, virtual meeting tools, and sales analytics software. By demonstrating how your team can use this software to improve their sales, you’ll be one step closer to success.

Advanced Tips

Sales reps with experience under their belt might want to delve into the wonderful world of sales enablement platforms. These tend to provide training materials and other resources that expand upon sales training methods. This is great for if you feel you need professional help to elevate your sales team further.

Sales vets can also make use of AI-powered sales tools for lead scoring, sales automation, and predictive analytics.

6. Objection Handling

Objection handling is critical to quality sales training. If your salesperson trains all your other sales skills but misses the boat with objection handling, they’ll suffer the consequences. This is because objections are inevitable. It’s a knee-jerk reaction that someone has when they’re being sold to.

Sometimes you’ll get smokescreen objections that cloud the prospect’s true issue. In this case, your sales reps have gotta dig down and find out what’s really bothering the prospect. Other times, the prospect will be quite up front about their concern. These concerns are usually emotion-based and stem from a lack of clarity on the process. They can be solved by shedding some light on whatever the issue is – the set-up procedure, for example.

There are other types of objections that can vary in degree of difficulty to handle, but the two above are certainly the most common. Salespeople will often encounter objections regarding the price or the terms of the subscription, too. The best way sales reps can learn to counter these is with practice. Role-playing helps.

Beginner Tips

This is where new sales reps can start to implement some of the other skills from their sales training. Active listening is one of the big ones here. If your reps can fully understand and empathize with the prospect at their point of objection, they will develop a greater amount of trust.

Prospects are being vulnerable when they object. Novice sales reps might assume they need to counter their point, but this only diminishes it, leaving the prospect feeling as though they haven’t been understood. Instead, recommend to your sales reps that they take a pause. Gong’s research found that top sales performers pause for five times longer than average sales performers. You want your team to be in the first group. To do so, advise your salespeople to digest what the prospect has said and formulate the best possible response.

Watch the following video to learn how to empathize, get to the truth, and reframe the objection. It features role-playing exercises that you can run with your sales team.

Advanced Tips

Sales veterans should be adopting the post-objection pause too. Remember, you want your team to turn problems into opportunities, weaknesses into strengths, disadvantages into advantages. By reframing the objection in a positive light, your sales reps can redirect the conversation towards the benefits of your product or service. Encourage them to turn talk of price into talk of value.

Allow them to be creative with it too. Sales reps should feel free enough to be able to operate on a whim. If they think the prospect is almost ready to buy, but their doubts won’t go from words alone, they should feel confident enough to offer a free trial. Let them bend the rules a little bit. It’ll forge a stronger relationship with the customer who will be able to experience the benefits of your product first-hand.

Other Crucial Sales Skills

While we’ve looked at six key sales skills to drill into your team, that’s not all there is. You can also break down effective communication into the following points, and integrate that into your sales training too.

Choose Words Wisely

Sales teams who focus on persuasive dialogue and the use of power words will see their efforts pay off. These skills can be used regardless of the product or the customer. 

Master Tone of Voice

The power of tone goes a long way towards making a sale. The how your sales rep speaks can often be more important than what they actually say. It’s a good idea to encourage your salespeople to match the tone of the prospect to make them feel more comfortable.

Be Aware of the Importance of Body Language

Body language is critical in sales, regardless of whether it takes place in-person or behind a camera. If your sellers are open, warm, and welcoming, the prospect is going to feel more at ease. Similarly, a sales rep who naturally smiles more is going to have an easier time than a salesperson who barely cracks their face.

Be Clear 

Articulation is an important skill to master when it comes to sales. This is especially true if you have any sales reps with a strong accent. The solution your brand offers to the prospect’s problem needs to be portrayed in the clearest way possible. This starts with your rep’s voice, how loud they are, the tone they use, and the overall clarity of their words. If any of this is lacking, offer them professional articulation lessons.

Be Concise

Similarly, sales reps need to get the main points across in as few words as possible. Generally, the more the prospect speaks, the better (more on that later!). By being succinct and sharp with their words, sellers can make a stronger impact. 

Master Upselling

Upselling is the art of offering additional or upgraded products to existing customers. To succeed with upselling during sales training, you’ll want your sales reps to have in-depth product knowledge so they know exactly when to suggest an appropriate upsell.

The seller needs to be attentive and always on the lookout for potential opportunities that fit within the customer’s needs. In fact, 64% of sales leaders say the key to upselling to existing clients is to understand their needs and goals. Without knowing what they truly want, how can you expect to sell them anything extra?

In a nutshell, effective upselling boosts sales revenue whilst also enhancing your customer’s satisfaction and loyalty. According to Accenture, upselling can lead to a revenue increase of 10-30% on average! Definitely something to include in your sales training program.

What’s the Difference Between Upselling and Cross-Selling?

During sales training, it’s vital to decipher the difference between upselling and cross-selling. Both are important, but your sales team will need to have a clear understanding of when to use which method:

  • With upselling, you’re trying to sell a higher-priced option.
  • With cross-selling, you’re trying to sell a product that relates to the overall service.

If in doubt, memorize the following infographic.

Upselling vs cross-selling
Source: Omnisend

While upselling is vital, cross-selling is just as important to master if you want to maximize revenue. Cross-selling can boost sales by 20% and increase profits by 30%!

When to Upsell

Once the basic needs of the customer have been met, that’s when your sellers should suggest additional products or services that will enhance their experience. It’s not wise to do this any earlier.

Another opportune time to dive into an upsell would be during renewals or upgrades. The customers’ needs are ever-evolving, putting you in prime position to offer advanced features.

When to Cross-Sell

Cross-selling is more effective during the initial purchase process. You can offer complementary products or services that are designed to meet related needs. You may have noticed this yourself in the supermarket; the cashier might have offered you something that’s on sale at the till. That’s cross-selling! If you can make your sales reps cross-selling masters, they’ll make it worth your while.

Sales reps should also target customers based on their purchase history through targeted marketing campaigns. Cross-selling can even be done via personalized recommendations, either when they visit your website or as part of your email outreach.

Read Your Customer Like A Book

Reading your customer is all about identifying pain points and understanding their needs. Customers aren’t NPCs. They don’t just walk in and tell you their troubles. Your sales reps will have to work to get the reward!

To maximize the potential of your sales training, it’s paramount that you teach how to understand nonverbal cues. We touched on body language earlier, but that was the body language that the seller gives off to the prospect. Now we’re going to look at how the seller can analyze the prospect’s body language. Your sales reps must pay attention to facial expressions, posture, and even little tics. Everything your customer does is a clue to how they’re truly feeling.

Sales teams that can interpret these nonverbal cues can tailor their pitches to suit their customers’ needs. It also facilitates trust as the prospect will feel intuitively understood. This increases the likelihood of closing the deal.

As the video above explains, Albert Mehrabian found that when you address an audience (in this case, the prospect addresses you), only 7% of the impact comes from your words, 38% comes from your tone, and 55% comes from your body language! 

So how do you read your prospect’s body language to identify their true pain points? Firstly, let’s go back to the basics.

What is a Pain Point?

Your salespeople can’t know what to look for in body language without knowing the fundamentals that body language represents: pain points.

It’s crucial for your sales training to include the topic of customer pain points as they are the door that sellers need to pass through to deliver effective resolutions to customer problems. These pain points can manifest in various forms, including:

  • Productivity Hurdles. An obstacle that impedes a customer from accomplishing their goals in a timely manner.
  • Cost Concerns. A challenge that poses a threat to finances, time, or any other resource.
  • Complexity Obstacles. A hurdle that makes things more complicated than they need to be.
  • Assistance Challenges. A barrier that makes it difficult for users to access necessary support.

Sales teams need to identify these pain points as quickly as possible. You don’t want your customers to become frustrated. It could sour their experience and make them rethink their purchasing decisions in the future. 

Here’s the kicker: customers won’t always voluntarily give this information away. Sometimes you have to figure it out on your own…

How to Spot Customer Pain Points

The primary way to identify customer pain points is to pay close attention to the prospect’s body language. Here are some examples of things to train your sales cohort to look for:

Observe Facial Expressions

Facial expressions reveal a lot about a person’s emotions. Keep an eye out for signs of discomfort, frustration, or confusion, as they’re likely indicative of pain points. Furrowed brows, tightened jaw muscles, or frowns could suggest areas where the prospect is experiencing challenges or dissatisfaction.

Look Out for Microexpressions

Microexpressions are brief, involuntary facial expressions that reveal underlying emotions. They’re often subtle and fleeting, but if you know what to look for, they give you quick access to the heart of the customer’s feelings. Guide your sales reps to look for fleeting grimaces, eyebrow raises, or lip movements, as they may indicate hidden pain points or concerns. 

Pay Attention to Eye Contact

Fixed eye contact usually suggests confidence, engagement, and interest. However, lack of eye contact, including frequent glances away, may indicate discomfort or unease. If the prospect avoids eye contact when discussing certain topics or questions, it could be a sign that those areas are sensitive or problematic for them.

Other Ways to Identify Customer Pain Points

While the three ways above were about reading a prospect’s body language to understand their pain points, there are more direct methods.


Surveys are a great way of gaining valuable insights into the challenges and frustrations your customers encounter. Ensure you use a broad demographic to gain a more comprehensive understanding of your customers’ pain points. You can use sales tools to present surveys in a pleasing manner at the ideal time.

Focus Groups and Interviews

By creating focus groups or conducting customer interviews, you can directly ask your customer what bothers them about the product or service you offer. People can be a bit less direct in these types of settings compared to an anonymous survey, but if you make them feel comfortable, they’re more likely to give honest feedback.

Customer Support

The great thing about being in the sales team is that you have a direct line to customer support. You can find out what your customers have been complaining about in their recent tickets, or if your teams are all synced through a CRM, your reps could even check it directly.

Online Reviews

Customer feedback is not an ideal way of discovering customer pain points as by that point they’ve already gone out of their way to publicly denounce your brand (providing the reviews are predominantly focused on the misery caused by the pain points). Having said that, if this does happen, you can use it to your advantage, even offering the customer to come back and try again once you’ve solved their particular issue.

How to Overcome Customer Pain Points

To get your sales team identifying pain points and addressing them early is simpler than it might seem. They just need to be attentive. Train them to look for the aforementioned body language and they can address the potential pain point on the spot: “I sense that X may make you uncomfortable.”

More often than not, the reason prospects don’t reveal their pain points is because they don’t quite know how to articulate them. Use sales training to prepare your sales reps to face these types of problems on a daily basis. With enough practice, your reps will know how to articulate the point more than the prospect feeling the pain.

When the pain point is brought to the surface, the customer will have an aha! moment. This is when the trained salesperson can flip the pain point on its head and reframe it positively, as if it were an objection.

However, this is just for the pain points your reps catch on the fly through body language. For the other pain points, we need to dig a little deeper. Zendesk offers an informative video about how to identify and tackle common customer pain points.

To overcome customer pain points and reassure the prospect, your reps have to dive deeper into the root cause. The first step in effectively addressing pain points is to conduct as much research as possible and analyze the data to identify trends and patterns. What’s next?

  • Offer Tailored Solutions. With the information and feedback gauged, your reps should provide personalized solutions that directly address each customer’s pain points. 
  • Be Responsive. Salespeople should provide timely assistance and go above and beyond to build positive rapport to help alleviate the customer’s pain points.
  • Gather Feedback. They’ll also follow up after interactions with your customer, assess if there are any frustrations, and remain committed to their complete satisfaction.
  • Revise and Review. Ensure your reps regularly go over customer feedback and identify common complaints and areas for improvement. Have them use this to refine their sales approach to avoid coming across the same problems down the line.

How to Manage a Sales Team

Managing a sales team can be a stressful task, but this is where the seeds of your team’s sales training begin to blossom. At the end of the day, the buck stops with you. If your sales team is underperforming, you’re going to be the one held accountable. But this goes both ways. By putting your sales reps through rigorous sales training, you can reap the rewards of a successful sales team.

To manage a sales team well, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Set clear objectives. It’s critical that you set clear and measurable goals for your sales team. Without crystal-clear direction, you won’t end up where you need to be.
  • Continuously train your sales reps. That’s why you’re here. If you want to manage a sales team effectively, you’re going to need to put your salespeople through continuous sales training. There’s always more to learn; a good manager knows this.
  • Communicate effectively. As the leader of your team, you need to be able to communicate objectives, deadlines, and other critical information clearly and effectively. You need to get your team on the same page.
  • Lead by example. Act how you want your sales team to act. Don’t be one of those leaders that says one thing but then does another. Be true to your word.
  • Rally the troops. Motivation is key for sales teams. This is especially true if your team ever goes through a rough patch (which it likely will at some point). You can inspire your team with rewards for hitting targets.
  • Encourage collaboration. Sales teams can be competitive. While this is great as it pushes people to excel, you don’t want it at the risk of team harmony. The team should come first and collaboration is key. 
  • Track KPIs. Establish sales performance metrics that you can track to ensure your team is moving forward. Revise them regularly.
  • Be adaptable. Be ready to adjust your sales strategy if necessary. It’s also a good idea to be open to trying new strategies so you can compare them against one another. Obviously don’t sacrifice a winning tactic, but don’t get too attached either.
  • Be there for support and guidance. You’re there to coach your team, to inspire them and lead them to victory. If ever they need support, you’re the one they’re going to turn to. Be there for your salespeople. You can also show your support by offering sales tools, marketing materials, or administrative support. Get rid of any hurdles in your sales team’s way to success.

How to Manage a Remote Sales Team

Since the pandemic, there’s been a major switch from office-based work to working from home. 8 in 10 employees are currently working hybrid or remote! Chances are that your sales team is one of them.

To manage a remote sales team, the same points outlined above apply, but there are a number of unique challenges you’ll probably encounter.

Challenges in Remote Sales Management

There are plenty of challenges when managing remote sales teams. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest ones that managers face:

Morale and Togetherness

The dispersed nature of remote work makes it difficult to foster camaraderie, but also a sense of belonging. Feeling lonely is one of the most common complaints about remote working. A study found that full-time remote work increased loneliness by 67% when compared to working in the office.

Consider having in-person meet-ups and non-work communication channels to encourage team-building.

Remote Cyber Security

Safeguarding confidential client information becomes a more complex matter in remote work setups. Team members can access important documents and systems stockpiled with figures and customer data. A study found 63% of businesses have experienced a data breach due to employees working remotely.

The potential of this happening to your remote sales team can be lowered if you maintain good digital hygiene. Set security standards and ensure they are followed by your team.

Communication Hurdles

Remote work environments create communication barriers as you won’t be conversing face-to-face. Varying time zones can also impact the issue of clear communication. Nearly 60% of remote workers said their company operates in two to five time zones and 19% work in teams that span six to ten time zones. The infographic below gives you more detail.

Different time zones for remote workers
Source: Buffer

Communication hurdles can be overcome with asynchronous collaboration tools. However, then you run into the next problem…

Overreliance On Technology

Remote teams are heavily reliant on technology, so much so that one study found that 69% of remote workers report increased burnout from digital communication tools. Nobody likes to stare at a screen all day. While some workers still do that in the office, at least they’d be able to talk with their employees face-to-face. With remote work, even that has to be done through software.

Encourage your sales team to take regular breaks and exercise well. Posture is important for those sitting for long periods of time too. Perhaps you could establish some sort of work incentive by offering subsidized yoga or pilates classes or even just a gym membership.

Performance Tracking

40% of the 215 supervisors and managers in a study by HBR expressed low self-confidence in their ability to manage workers remotely. In particular, it’s difficult to accurately assess the performances and workload of remote teams. Without direct oversight, it can also be hard to pinpoint and resolve existing issues.

To counter this, ensure your communication is up to scratch. Keep in touch with each of your sales reps and set them personal goals and targets to work towards. Let your team know they can come to you with anything.

Not Being Able to Unplug

One of the biggest problems that remote salespeople face is the inability to switch off. When you work in the office, you finish at a set time and go home. You transition from work life into home life. When you work from home, there is no such obvious transition. It can lead to digital presenteeism, where workers feel like they need to continue working and responding to work messages even after their shift has ended.

This is so prevalent that more than half of remote workers state they’re working more hours virtually or at home than they did in the office.

86% of remote workers experienced burnout, compared to 70% of in-person workers.
Source: Think Remote

If you’re running sales training for a remote team, ensure they switch off when their shift is over. Never message them work-related things or on work-related channels after their shift is over. Be mindful of employees in different time zones. In fact, actively encourage them to mute their notifications while not at work. A key part of remote sales training should be showing salespeople how to switch off when working from home.

Motivating Your Sales Team Remotely

Motivating remote sales teams is not an easy feat. There’s an abundance of sales performance tips flying around to help but you need to prioritize which ones work for you. First and foremost, setting clear expectations is essential when managing a remote sales team. If your team doesn’t have performance goals in place, what are they working towards?

Regular recognition and praise go a long way too. Happy employees are reportedly up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. Furthermore, 86 percent of employees say they feel happier and prouder at work as a result of being recognized. The proof is in the numbers, a happy worker is an engaged worker.

Maintaining consistent communication with the team is paramount, but micromanaging needs to be swapped out for trust in your remote sales team. A survey of over 1,000 employees found that having a boss who doesn’t trust them is the number one cause of frustration.

There are numerous ways and techniques to motivate your remote sales team and you should definitely be integrating them in your sales training. Generally speaking, being a good communicator and having faith in your team will help achieve better sales success. The infographic below shows the biggest struggles of working remotely.

The biggest struggle with remote working survey results
Source: Yesware

During your remote sales training, ensure you address these struggles in your own team and work collaboratively on the best ways to remedy them. By being open and honest about remote work difficulties, you can prevent them from becoming bigger issues in the first place. Maybe run a survey of your own and see what your own employees have to say.

Start Your Sales Training Today

We hope you’ve got everything you need to start your sales team’s training as early as today. Whether you opt for a high-end sales training program by one of the greats, tailor-made to your specific needs, or you choose a budget-friendly option and oversee it with DIY exercises and KPI tracking, the choice is yours. 

As a sales manager, you’ll be able to guide your reps along the right lines and improve your overall sales team performance one step at a time.

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