15 Business Leaders Share Their Most Effective Sales Training Techniques

15 Business Leaders Share Their Most Effective Sales Training Techniques


A business cannot sustain itself without sales. Increasing sales begins with building a strong sales team, and doing that begins with establishing effective training strategies.

With the right programs, mentorship and practice, promising professionals can reach new heights and become bonafide sales experts. Below, 15 members of Forbes Business Development Council share their favorite techniques for sales training. Read on for their recommended methods and why they believe each is so effective.

1. Appoint Each Person A Mentor

There are countless ways to gain experience and train your sales force. But like athletes watching films or working side-by-side on the field, working with a mentor can be powerful. The ability to develop a personal relationship, watch the expert in action and share thoughts around the behaviors observed is priceless. – Jeff Hicks, Fastenal

2. Develop Case Studies

Case studies are very effective. Use cases that were lost to competitors to incentivize your sales team to come up with new strategies and a different approach. Getting to know your competitor is also an effective path. Quite often, companies focus too much on their own product and forget to prepare their teams to overcome the competitors. Knowing your competitors is also a great way to know yourself. – Vinicius Bagnarolli, rfxcel Corporation

Forbes Business Development Council is an invitation-only community for sales and biz dev executives. Do I qualify?

3. Explore The Why, How, What, Where And When

The best sales training is one that brings out the why, how, what, where and when in the sales process. It is not a static program, but a continually evolving one that considers the varying personalities, teams and external stakeholders. It entails accountability, follow-ups, reflections and insights about what went well and what could be improved, mirroring the sales process itself. – Claudia Lin Margolis, Lockton Insurance Brokers LLC

4. Analyze Real Sales Calls

The most effective training comes from analyzing real sales calls. This doesn’t mean shadowing sales but precision coaching down to the moment, slide, question or reaction. Managers must give feedback across discovery, objection handling, competitor mention and outcomes. Every rep needs to hear what “good” looks like in dynamic sales environments to foster stronger relationships with customers. – Jim Benton, Chorus.ai

5. Model Success For Your Team

Showing your team what success looks like is the best sales technique. Instead of jumping into imagined scenarios to practice making the sale, start by sitting down and reviewing past successes. By doing this, not only can you break down the anatomy of a sale to discuss what worked and why, you’re inspiring your team with tangible examples and fostering trust in the process. – Jason Miner, Newfold Digital

6. Invest In A Hybrid Program

Training is the mainstay of a company’s sales success. Every sales rep should traverse a well-structured training and qualification path that fully familiarizes them with the product, customer pain points and how to manage each stage of the sales journey. To be effective, invest in a hybrid remote and on-site program that provides a modular and customizable training experience. Always practice! – Tlalit Bussi Tel Tzure, IceCure Medical

7. Continually Coach Your Salespeople

There’s a misconception that salespeople are type A people and often the loudest in the room. Sometimes the naturally quiet, shy people are the most dangerous sellers I know. Great salespeople are not born, they are made. They are continually coached to flex their smarts and inquisitive nature. Training should encourage them to be hungry and to have the confidence to show their true colors. – Ed Calnan, Seismic

8. Play To Each Person’s Strengths

Coaching to a rep’s strengths is a must for sales training. Utilizing tools like the Predictive Index can give you insight into natural strengths a rep possesses that you can capitalize on when coaching them in the role. This will give them success early and give you time to coach the other aspects of sales training over time. Shoehorning all reps into the same training is a recipe for failure. – Steven Donai, Lakeview Health LLC

9. Arm Them With Your Value Proposition And Pitch

The most effective way to train salespeople is to arm them with a value proposition and well-worded pitch they can personalize and then just do it. Similar to writing, when dealing with sales, it’s about practice, confidence and product knowledge. Practice, pitch, practice, pitch—then practice again. – Robin Farmanfarmaian, Actavalon

10. Tailor Training Objectives To Each Salesperson

There are a few key techniques to maximize the effectiveness of sales training. First, ensure the training objectives are tailored and relevant to the salesperson’s current reality. Adults learn best when the topics and content are connected to them. Second, ensure the training is participant-centered and filled with activities. Adults learn best when they do and are involved in a hands-on way. – Julie Thomas, ValueSelling Associates

11. Have Them Dive Right In

The most effective technique for sales training is “learning by fire.” If you jump in and start, you will quickly learn where your weaknesses are and where to focus on improvement. This is the best way to find areas of strength and opportunity to grow quickly. – Karolina Hobson, Radd Interactive

12. Conduct A Personality Assessment

Beyond the core foundation of mastering product knowledge, sales training should include personality and behavior assessment training like DiSC. Then, use those learnings to practice how to actively engage customers in a two-way dialogue. Objection handling, reflective/empathetic listening skills and closing for a commitment are critical parts of successfully selling with excellence. – Kirk Barnes, TransPharMed

13. Have New Employees Shadow Seasoned Colleagues

By shadowing employees, new salespeople can see how existing successful salespeople go through the customer journey process and learn by a good example. – Gregory Lipich, InfoSec Global

14. Keep It Short And Experiential

In my experience, experiential training allows for the best impact within a short time. This is where the new sales rep is buddied with an experienced colleague and spends time going through the sales journey and processes for a defined period, which will depend on the level of complexity of the solutions or products to be sold. I have found that practical interventions work. – Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka, MTN NIGERIA COMM PLC

15. Continually Reinforce Training

It isn’t so much about a single technique, but rather ensuring the organization executes or enforces the use of it. Oftentimes, companies spend thousands to bring in an outside firm or consultant to teach a new technique, but then only reinforce it for a few weeks. There must be a commitment from the senior management team and sales operations to ensure the successful rollout of any sales technique. – Matthew Ainsworth, Miratech


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