Sales

6 Challenges in Sales Training & How to Solve Them

Companies face major challenges in sales training. Employees aren’t engaged, don’t retain what they learn, or just don’t like attending training.

It’s no wonder sales training has such a bad reputation.

But these sales training challenges can be solved. Overcoming these problems can give your company a huge sales boost.

In fact, effective, continual learning can boost sales per employee by up to 50%. Your company can achieve these numbers. You just need to make a few changes to your sales training.

This article is going to cover common sales training problems and their solutions.

Sales training challenges and their solutions

In order to create a stellar sales training program for your team, you'll need to be aware of some major challenges that can arise. Training team members of any department have its problems, but your sales department is one area you want to streamline learning.

Sales are already hard enough and finding a way to develop new skills or selling techniques for salespeople can be a daunting task, especially if not done correctly.

The most common challenges faced in sales training are:

  1. Low engagement
  2. Scheduling conflicts
  3. Learner retention
  4. Ongoing training
  5. Measuring training effectiveness
  6. Static training format

Let's take a look at each challenge in detail and how to go about solving them.

Challenge #1: Low engagement

Sales trainers consistently list low engagement as one of their biggest challenges in sales training.

ATD found that salespeople know that “their main job is to sell, [so] they feel justified in answering customer calls and messages” during training. The content itself is often to blame, as well. In 2014, half of surveyed sales training professionals thought their content wasn’t engaging enough

No wonder trainees don’t pay attention. If you’re going to run a successful training and motivate your sales team, engagement needs to be your first priority. Everyone in the training needs to be motivated to pay attention. That’s the responsibility of the trainer and the organization.

How to solve low engagement in sales training

  1. Sales training needs to be highly relevant and provide immediate value to your sales team's skill development
  2. Provide a challenging training environment that enables critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration
  3. Employees need to understand the importance of training and how it affects the organization
  4. Have an executive member attend the training to show how the organization values training
  5. Mix up training delivery methods or sales training materials to cover different angles and learning types

A modern learning management system like Continu allows trainers to share videos, text, slideshows, and other sales training materials that can increase engagement rates. You can follow those materials up with quizzes or assessments to make sure that people are learning. The interactive and constant availability of these platforms makes for a more engaging learning experience.

Continu is built to skyrocket training engagement while providing admins, sales managers, and corporate trainers with the following features and solutions:

  • Deliver training to anyone, anywhere, anytime
  • Create engaging learning tracks that develop skills
  • Measure employee training progress
  • Develop assessments to gauge learning retention
  • Generate detailed reports on training initiatives

Plus much, much, more...

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Challenge #2: Scheduling conflicts

One of the most common problems faced by trainers is coordinating schedules for in-person sales training.

Salespeople primarily focus on calling leads and when in-person training programs are set during work hours, it takes them away from calling. From their perspective, onsite training during work hours can affect how many calls they make, deals closed, and commissions earned.

So why would they want to attend training during the workday and miss out on potential commission?

The same goes for the organization, would you prefer your sales team on the phones closing deals to generate revenue or attend in-person training?

You could have the most effective sales training program in the world. But if you can’t get people to attend the training, it’s not going to do you any good.

How to solve scheduling conflicts in sales training

With a modern LMS and companies using a hybrid workforce, trainers can provide both in-person and online training initiatives to ensure training is available to both parties.

Learning platforms are making online sales training not only easier to coordinate and run but more effective as well. Offering on-demand training online lets salespeople continue their learning at any time that’s convenient.

Consider using a mobile learning platform that lets sales reps learn about company messaging and products on the go. It will help those reps develop the knowledge they need to sell effectively—as well as the confidence to use it.

You’ll still need at least occasional in-person training. But when you have fewer of them, they should be easier to coordinate. Even with those fewer trainings, your sales force can be better trained and more effective.

Challenge #3: Learner retention

Up to 87% of new skills after lost within a month of training. If they’re not used almost immediately after the training, they could be gone within a week.

You can run sales training all day, but if no one is retaining the information, it won’t do you any good.

Effective sales training techniques require trainees to put their new skills into action. While they could do that on their own, they’re more likely to retain and use information when the training itself is geared toward retention.

How to solve learner retention in sales training

Retention starts with engagement and relevant content that trainees can immediately apply to their jobs. Engaged learners are more likely to internalize the content of the training and put it into action. Clear training objectives and links from the materials to practical objectives will help, too.

Using multiple training exercises (demonstrations and practice) helps, too. Adding visual and interactive elements to your training is a great way to increase both engagement and retention. Just adding visuals to your training content can boost retention by 700%.

Challenge #4: Ongoing training

We’ve just seen that continuous and follow-up training is important for retention. But ongoing training is also important for proper differentiated instruction as well.

Beginner salespeople don’t need the same kinds of training as experienced veterans. Throwing them all together in the same training isn’t the best way to teach them. That’s why learning tracks are so valuable. You might have an onboarding training that helps new salespeople get up to speed, and follow it up with an industry-specific sales training.

After that might come a product-specific training and another course on relationship-building.

Establishing a clear progression of sales training materials helps trainees build on what they’ve learned. This increases engagement, as trainers aren’t talking about unfamiliar things.

How to solve a lack of ongoing training for sales

Continuous training reinforces the most important factors in effective sales training. Add bite-sized learning—high-frequency, short learning sessions—allows for continuous exposure to important ideas without overwhelming sales trainees with hours of training on a daily basis.

Bite-sized Learning is increasingly recognized as an effective way to improve learning and retention. Modern learning platforms are making it easier to take advantage of this method. Instead of quarterly intensive training, or even monthly informal learning sessions, sales reps are able to learn on a schedule that works for them. And with the increasing mobility of learning platforms, they can go through a lesson on their own computer or even on their phone whenever they have time.

Challenge #5: Measuring training effectiveness

A common challenge in sales training is the lack of measuring these initiatives.

Do you know if your sales training is working? How effective is it? What kind of training ROI are you seeing? Stakeholders and managers expect answers to these questions.

If you’re not monitoring salespeople’s engagement and retention, you won’t be able to prove the value of sales training.

That’s where measurement comes into play. Sales training has a reputation for being difficult to effectively measure. There are many factors that play into sales effectiveness, so long-term evaluation of effects is difficult.

How to solve a lack of measuring for sales training

Modern learning tools help trainers and managers see how well trainees have learned the material.

Analytics show how individual trainees are progressing through the course. Quizzes measure their information retention. And when combined with sales and financial measures, they can show just how effective your training is.

Fully evaluating the effectiveness of training is difficult, and it takes a great deal of planning. But learning management systems are making it easier to get insights into how sales reps are interacting with and benefitting from the training.

Challenge #6: Static training format

There’s no way around it: sales training has a bad reputation. It’s known for being boring, wasting valuable time, and costing a lot of money. With that kind of thinking, employees aren’t going to engage or retain information. You can tell your employees that your sales training is different. But there’s no substitute for showing them.

Even if you think your training methodology is okay, people coming into it with a negative mindset aren’t going to learn well. If your sales training program gets a bad rap, it’s time to make some changes.

How to solve static sales training formats

This is one reason to consider changing to a new format. Instead of seminar-style training, make a switch to more interactive training sessions. Instead of standard training of any format, use online microlearning. Institute a coaching program. Change from your previous learning platform to one with features that better match your training.

Any of these methods will show your employees that you’re serious about making a change. Combined with clear communication about the concepts we discussed in Challenge #1, you’ll be able to convince your employees that your training is worth attending and paying attention to.

Continue to adapt your sales training

Like any other method of training, you’ll need to continually monitor and adapt your sales training. Try new techniques. Employ new technologies. Get feedback from participants on how you can improve.

By maximizing engagement and using the right tools to continually provide training opportunities, your salespeople will become more effective. They’ll close more sales. They’ll work faster. They’ll make you more money. And they’ll help make your company a success.

Don’t wait to get started. Take a hard look at your sales training today. Find out what’s working and what’s not. Find a single place to make an improvement—one event or tool that could be upgraded or changed to make your training more effective.

Make that change. And keep making changes until your sales training is legendary.

Schedule a Demo Today

See Continu in action and how it can help your organization build a culture of learning.

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