The Complete Guide to Sales Courses

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What are Sales Training Courses?

Sales Training courses facilitate the transfer knowledge which is delivered via a classroom, workshop or online training content.  All sales training courses require Learning Objectives supported by content that matches the learning styles of the audience and should be delivered in a positive learning environment.
There are mainly two different types of training course, the first being product and industry based training, and the second is focused around sales strategy, tactics and skills.

Why are Sales Training Courses important?

Sales Training Courses are an important part of an organizations Learning & Development Strategy. 
In most cases training is used to:
1. Onboard new Salespeople in order to help them reach their revenue generation points and subsequent profit generating points faster.
2. Transition existing people into new roles or address under performing behavior.  For companies who are recruiting internally and developing existing employees sales training helps them with skills development and confidence building.
3. Addressing Under performing behaviours.  Professional Selling is not taught in schools and universities and many people simply learn by doing. This is good, however, many Sales Managers simply struggle to find the time to coach and mentor Sales Reps hence the need for effective sales training.

1. Types of Sales Training Courses

Open Sales Training Courses

Open Sales Training Courses are typically held in Hotels throughout the country and are Open in the sense that anyone from any business can attend.

This results in around 12-20 attendees from multiple different industries with differing levels of experience which makes it difficult for everyone to meet their learning objectives.

These are often ran by what is known in the Industry as course aggregators who are essentially marketing companies who sell course spaces and then sub contract an Independent Sales Trainer to deliver the course.

This can work for some people however in many cases “ghost” courses are placed on view and these may go ahead but in many cases if the course hasn’t met the numbers requirement then often four or five courses are cancelled and then aggregated into one single course. This can cause problems as attendees have to make last minute travel arrangements causing additional expense and time.

The majority of open courses are held in the main metropolitan areas of London, Manchester and Glasgow in Scotland.

In House Sales Training Courses

In House Sales Training Courses are delivered exclusively for one company. This allows the client more control over the event dates, course content & location.

These courses can be tied into monthly or annual sales meetings and are often tied into new sales campaigns or new sales initiatives.

As the client has 100% control over the content it is much easier to introduce customised Work Based Learning content which increases engagement and learning outcomes.

In some cases the client will choose to include marketing and or operations staff in order to get the whole organisation using a common sales language.

In House Training Courses typically start from £2,250 ($2925) for a one day course with a minimum 5 people and a maximum of 12. You should expect to pay around £3,500 ($4550) for a two day course

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2. Sales Training Statistics?

According to various research

  1. Sales People missing their Sales Targets – 67%

Whilst it’s not possible to know if the Sales Targets were ever achievable it’s certainly true many sales people struggle to hit their Sales Targets.

  1. Sales People not prepared – 82%

Decision Makers are better prepared than ever before with product information as they are often well through their buying process before they even speak with a Sales Rep. This means more than ever before that Sales Reps need to be Thought Leaders to deliver real value.

  1. Don’t Follow Up Sales Leads – 79%

Whilst this is very high this indicates more than ever that Marketing needs to be fully aligned with Sales.

  1. Missing Performance Milestones – 71%

Missing performance milestones may be indicative of a lack of coaching from managers as they struggle to juggle busy diaries.

  1. Impact Training is Ineffective – 80%

Despite numerous studies confirming this many companies are still using 1 or 2 day Sales Training events which deliver limited results.

  1. Lost Customers Due to Indifference – 65%

If your business is typical over 70% of next years revenue will come from this years customers. Key Account Management is vital to lock in your customers and lock out the competition.

B2B Sales Training Courses
B2B Sales Training Courses

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3. Choosing a Sales Methodology for your Training Course

Before starting any Sales Training Courses it’s important you consider which Sales Methodology you choose.  This not only impacts the way you sell, it will have a direct impact on many other important factors in your business.  How you market and position your product or service, the length of your sales cycle, the profit margins you gain, your terms of engagement, and even the size of the wages and commissions you pay your sales force can all be affected by the Sales Methodology you choose. 

A strong Sales Methodology can be almost like a religion.  It is a series of common and shared beliefs on selling, which will influence everything from sales recruitment, to sales tactics and strategy.  However, if your industry and or market conditions change, converting your Sales People from one Sales Methodology to another, whilst not impossible, is similar to asking someone to change religion.  For any existing business, a failure to realign their sales force to a different methodology due to changes in the market place can be the difference between thriving and surviving.

 Followers and proponents of each of the methodologies can be fiercely defensive and it is worth noting for the record, no ‘one’ methodology is necessarily better than the other.  It is much more a case of, horses for courses, and the whole reason these different sales methodologies evolved was because of a need for them.  High end consulting firms such as Bain & Company who use a Consultative Sales Methodology, could not function using a Transactional Sales Methodology, no more than your local cable company, who use Transactional selling, could operate using Solution Selling methodologies.

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4. The Best Sales Training Courses Start with a Needs Analysis

Once you have chosen a Sales Methodology it’s important to do some form of Training Needs Anaylsis to ensure the Sales Trainer and training content match the problems you are trying to solve and are the best they possibly can be.  It’s also easy to lose the attention of Sales Reps if the training course content just isn’t relevant for them. 

In order for any training to be effective and measurable it’s important to agree in advance the sales behaviors and skills the training addresses and how you will record and measure the learning objectives and the adoption of the learning objectives.

This may involve creating new structures and reporting systems to ensure the Sales Reps are held accountable to adopting the new skills and behaviors.  Worst case scenario you should be prepared to call out Reps and saboteurs who try to derail any changes you make.  People do not like change and some sales people may try their best to resist your changes.

The best way to complete a Training Needs Analysis is to use data from your sales system and analyze which parts of the selling process the Sales Reps are struggling with.  In the absence of hard data a good Sales Manager may have defined the skills required for success as part of a wider Job Description and you could use this as a starting point.  It’s also possible to ask the Sales Reps themselves however the results will vary depending on where the business is in the sales maturity model.  It’s possible that Sales People don’t know what they need and in those cases in our experience they will request Presentation Skills training which in almost every case is simply distraction training.  That is training that is nice but not a key requirement and distract from often more important topics like Lead Generation.

It’s also possible to benchmark your sales team against best practice which will identify the gaps in terms of activities or deliverables missing and then base the training on the skills required to successfully complete those activities or deliverables.

It is possible to deliver generic sales training however this is reliant on an experienced Trainer who can explain the context and nuances to the audience in a way that they can relate to. 

You may wish to hire a Sales Training Consultants whose role is to help the business leadership team strategize long term, (typically 3-5 years) on what Learning & Development strategies might be appropriate for the company.  This may include developing Strategic Action Plans and ensuring alignment between all the necessary stakeholders in the business.  A good Training Consultant may also recognize any need for a Change Management process prior to starting any Sales Training program.  Often a change in sales strategy can mean a complete change in the company culture and this is not a quick fix.

b2b Sales Training Need analysis template

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5. Maximizing your Training Course Investment

Like every project there are certain steps you can take before and after any training to maximize the return on your investment.

1)   Change Management.  Consider using Change Management principals to help and support the Sales Reps through the changes you are planning. This does not mean you will need a full Change program but instead follow the basic principals in a Change Management Plan. Change can be difficult for some people and it’s good practice to support these people through any Change.

2)    Match Sales Content with Learning Outcomes. The content must be relevant in order to engage Sales Reps and fit with their level of knowledge and experience. In addition the Sales Trainer must be able to demonstrate the link between any theory to real world scenarios that the sales people face to keep the Reps engaged.  The trainer should also be able to not only role play, but demonstrate new strategies and techniques live to the class.

3)    Event based or Impact Training lasting 1 – 2 days will require some form of post course reinforcement.  This is best agreed in advance with the Trainer and the Sales Managers. This should include some form of online support from the Sales Trainer at 30, 60 and 90 days.

4)    Training Methodology.  Sales Training Courses where possible should be interactive and practical rather than theory based. Additionally using Gamification improves engagement, learning outcomes and the overall learning environment. Where possible the use of Work Based Learning programs focusing on real life sales scenarios provide higher rates of engagement and better learning outcomes.

5)    Sales Management. Sales Managers should attend any Sales Training Courses so they know and understand the full context of the training and can help support the Sales Reps after the course with coaching. Sales Managers on a daily basis should focus on how to reinforce the positive new sales behaviors until they become new sales habits.

Inspirational poster on Sales Training Courses
Sales Training Courses – Choose Growing

6)    Action Planning. Often Sales Reps are so busy after 1 or 2 days away from the office that they simply forget to apply any new strategies or tactics. Sales Training should always include new 90 day action plans to help sales people plan and adopt the new strategies and skills they have learned.

7)    Internal Challenges & Obstacles.  There can often be perceived road blocks within an organization that Reps see as holding them back. Where possible it’s worth discussing these in advance and where possible removing these including those that are perceived by management as “excuses”. In reality this only serves to shine a spotlight on the root causes of any problem.

Sales Training can be highly effective in the correct circumstances, however, we usually find the more time and thought spent planning and preparing for any training the better the results. 

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6. Before Starting any Sales Training Courses

In order to avoid the most common common pitfalls and if the sales training is to be successful in delivering the results the business is looking for we recommend checking the following:

1) Executive Level Buy In

Many companies want to send a message to the Salespeople that the training is not a fad or a passing fancy.  To deliver the results they are looking for they get sponsorship at Exec level and follow through by having Execs take part in the initial Sales Team training sessions.

This demonstrates to the team that they are serious about the training program. For larger Enterprise organizations this doesn’t mean the CEO need to sit in, but as rough rule of thumb there should be two levels of Management above the Sales Reps in any training.  For the majority of company’s this simply means the Sales Manager and the VP of Sales or Sales Director.

2) New Sales Management Structures

In order for any training to be effective and measurable it’s important to agree in advance the sales behaviors and skills the training addresses and how you will record and measure the learning objectives and the adoption of the learning objectives.

This may involve creating new structures and reporting systems to ensure the Sales Reps are held accountable to adopting the new skills and behaviors.  Worst case scenario you should be prepared to call out Reps and saboteurs who try to derail any changes you make.  People do not like change and some salespeople may try their best to resist your changes.

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7. Mixing Experienced Sales Reps with Beginners

Many organizations have a mix of Sales Reps in terms of their experience and skill levels and this often creates a dilemma when delivering training as to whether you should you mix the Skill and Experience levels or create separate programs? 

This is dependent on the content and the context as a good Sales Trainer will use the experienced Sales Reps to reinforce and give real life company examples to the group.  This really helps the new Reps and creates a great learning environment.  This however does not necessarily help the experienced Reps learn, so there needs to be enough new or advanced content in the training to keep them engaged.  New Sales people are always interested in learning new or advanced content so it is much easier to keep them engaged.

Including Sales Managers in the training course is also important so they understand what the Trainer is recommending to the Reps. That way they can hold them accountable to any agreed actions after the training session.

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8. Sales Training Course Topics & Learning Objectives

There are many different topics in Professional Selling and matching the content with the organizations and Sales Reps needs is essential. 

Certain topics will have a degree of commonality between Sales Reps like Social Media or Essential Selling Skills, however, other topics are more specific such as Key Account Management Training. 

The list below whilst not definitive is a good starting point and is split between the three main areas of Professional Selling – Finding new opportunities, Klozing new opportunities, and Growing existing clients.

Sales Coaching Choose Focus
Essential Selling Skills
Sales Messaging Learners will be able to create a sales message conveying what they do, who they do it for and what the benefit to the target audience
Social Media Learners will be able to optimize their LinkedIn profile and research and generate new sales leads with pro- active selling strategies
Lead Generation Learners will be able to generate a consistent flow of new sales opportunities
Consultative Selling Skills Learners will know and be able to use the Consultative Sales Process
Selling on Value not Price Learners will be able to uncover and quantify business pains and then demonstrate a clear ROI’s to prospects in relation to our products and services
Building Rapport Learners will be able to identify a prospects DiSC profile and their Primary Sensory Dominance and use these tools to build rapport.
Sales Pipeline Management Learners will be able to measure and analyze their sales pipeline and create weighted sales forecasts
Handling Stalls & Objections Learners will be able to handle customer stalls and objections and use them to continue the sales conversation
Sales Negotiation Skills Learners will understand the main components of effective sales negotiation and demonstrate this by creating their own BATNA
Solution Selling Learners will understand and be able to navigate a complex selling process with multiple decision makers in multiple departments
Key Account Management Learners will understand the Key Account Management Process and start applying this to nominated accounts
Advanced Listening Skills Learners will be able to demonstrate advanced listening skills using role play
Controlling the Sales Conversation Learners will be able to control a sales conversation with a questioning funnel
Presentation Skills Learners will be able to create and deliver powerful presentations
Advanced Questioning Skills Learners will understand and create questioning funnels based on Root Cause Analysis of business pains
Telephone Sales TrainingLearners will be able to research, prepare and execute a telephone call to a cold prospect live
Networking Learners will understand the fundamentals of Networking including how to target the right events and generate introductions from a network
Role Play Learners will be able to demonstrate live any real sales scenario to nurture a sales prospect
Cross Selling & Up Selling Learners will have a clear understanding of customer satisfaction and be able to create effective sales strategies to increase cross selling and up selling
Selling to the C Suite Learners will be able to articulate the step by step sales process involved selling to enterprise organizations
How to Research Prospects Learners will be able to demonstrate how to research a prospect based on a Perfect Prospect Profile they have created
How to Qualify Prospects Learners will be able to demonstrate multiple criteria where a prospect does not fit with the overall growth strategy
How to differentiate ourselves Learners will be able to demonstrate how to differentiate their products or services via differentiation and not price
Commercial Awareness Learners will be able to read and understand a company’s balance sheet, profit and loss and
Asking for Referrals Learners will be able to identify the features of a good prospect and how to ask for referrals
Goal Setting Learners will be able to use 90 day action plans to improve their productivity
Story Telling Learners will be able to create and recite customer stories both pro-actively and re-actively

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9. Sales Training Role Play

Role play is rarely popular with Sales Reps and in most cases they will avoid this. Role play when used correctly is a practice run of how a conversation will go with a sales prospect. That prospect might be about to spend a dollar or $1 million dollars but either way if the Salesperson has practiced the conversation they will be in a much better place to control the conversation in real life.

Salespeople who do not have the confidence to do Role play will not have the confidence to ask difficult questions and push back in any sales negotiation let alone a boardroom meeting with a C – suite prospect. Given how much money companies spend on brand building, marketing and lead generation it would make sense to practice via role play before going into a boardroom with a good prospect. There is nothing to lose in the safe environment of a sales training course but there can be hundreds of thousands to lose in the Boardroom.

In order to make the Role play more engaging and remove the inevitable anxiety and apprehension it makes sense the Sales Trainer must go first in the role play.

The Sales Trainer must take the role of the Salesperson and allow the Salesperson to take the role of the Prospect. The Salesperson will always make the Customer appear more difficult than in reality but when the Sales Trainer controls the conversation and keeps moving forward there is no better demonstration for the Salesperson.

Sales Trainers must be careful with this technique as unless they are highly proficient the Salesperson might “win” the role play. If the Salesperson wins the role play the whole group will lose respect and disengage as they won’t believe the trainer can deliver any value to them.

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10. Sales Training Course – Exercise Example

Questioning Techniques Example

1. Open /Closed Questions – Open questions are used to gather further information and closed questions should be used for confirmation.

2. Summary Questions – A summary question is used to confirm you have correctly understood what the prospect has said.  This is done by summarizing or paraphrasing the prospects statement and adding a conformation question at the end.

3. Funneling Questions – A funneling question is used to channel the sales conversation towards a particular area or topic.

4. Redirect Questions – Redirect questions are used to control the conversation and keep the prospect from moving forward in the sales process if the Sales person is not yet ready to move forward.

5. Opposing Redirect – An opposing redirect question is answering a question with the opposite response that would be expected by the prospect and turning it into a question.

6. Presumptive Questions – A presumptive question is a question we use that we know/presume the prospect does not know the answer to.

Role two dice with one dice designated the question dice. This means whatever number the dice lands on the Salesperson has to ask that type of question. For example if the dice lands on 2 the Sales Rep must ask a Summary Question.

The second dice relates to the stages of the sales process so if the dice allocated to the Sales Process lands on 1 the Sales Rep would have to ask a Summary Question they would use to Qualify a sales prospect.

To make the exercise more entertaining add a stopwatch so the Reps have to start the question in under 15 seconds. Everyone will fail in the first round which is important as this removes the fear of failure immediately and they the exercise become much more entertaining. It’s not unusual for a whole class to easily complete this in 45 minutes and when repeated over 4-6 weeks it becomes second nature and really easy.

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11. Sales Training Course Evaluation Checklist

It’s important to gather feedback and evaluate the quality and outcomes of every training session.

Our own feedback forms give attendees the opportunity to comment on what we believe are the three main areas of every training event:

  1. Learning Environment – did the user experience a positive and supportive learning environment?
  2. Did the training content match the learning outcomes and was it of high quality?
  3. Was the trainer supportive and knowledgeable in the subject matter.

It’s also important to gather content on the day of your sales training courses as trying to collect content afterwards or digitally can be difficult.

Our goal is to provide a Centre of Excellence for professional training and coaching.

B2B Sales tools - Sales Training Evaluation Form
B2B Sales tools – Sales Training Evaluation Form

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12. Sales Training Courses for Beginners

Historically many generic sales courses were targeted at different levels namely sales training for beginners, intermediate and advanced. However clients recognised that if the training content was not generic it was possible to mix the skill levels of attendees which has the added benefit of creating Peer Learning which is proven to deliver a higher ROI than generic training. By mixing Beginners with more experienced sales people each group helps each other. For example, Experienced Reps can provide specific context to sales material and new Sales Reps push the training on as they absorb new concepts faster because they do not have to unlearn old methods and potentially negative behaviours.

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13. Online Sales Training Courses

There has been a huge increase in online sales training in recent years. The main attraction for these are they are either free or very low cost and being online they are accessible anywhere. YouTube has a huge selection of training courses and there are many websites like Udemy and Skillshare.

In most case they appeal to Beginners which is most likely because more experienced salespeople would want to question and clarify things like a new sales technique with a Sales Trainer in the context of their own unique selling situation.

Online training is commonly used as part of a wider Sales Enablement program and best placed to serve as a supporting content before and after a training session, or to support Sales Coaching.

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14. Sales Training Costs UK

Sales Training costs in the UK vary from free courses online and free workshops, up to £2,000 for the larger brands however, the majority of courses available are either one or two day courses, and these typically cost between £500 and £1500 per person, per day. We have a selection of training courses available from around £500 per per day covering Consultative Selling Skills, Sales Management Training and Key Account Management Training.

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15. Sales Training Locations

We have three main training centres in the UK, however, all our full range of courses are now available to International clients via our online sales enablement portal. Please contact us for further details.

15.1 Sales Training Course Delivery in London

Many open training courses are delivered in and around London. Our own courses are delivered near London Heathrow airport for easy access to Europe, London & the M4 Corridor. Individuals from any organisation can attend and Course prices, dates and availability are available online via our course bookings page.

15.2 Sales Training Course Delivery in Manchester

Serving the north of England the majority of courses are delivered in and around Manchester. Our own courses are delivered near London Heathrow airport for easy access to Europe, London & the M4 Corridor. Individuals from any organisation can attend and Course prices, dates and availability are available online via our course bookings page.

15.3 Sales Training Course Delivery in Scotland

The majority of training courses in Scotland are held in either Edinburgh or Glasgow. Our own courses are delivered in Edinburgh just a short walk from Edinburgh Waverley Train Station in the Historic part of the “Old Town”. Individuals from any organisation can attend and Course prices, dates and availability are available online via our course bookings page.

The majority of training providers will deliver open and inhouse training at a location of your choosing although you will usually have to commit to a minimum of 6 people.

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16. Sales Training Course Reviews

You can view more reviews of our Sales Training Courses in the Customer Reviews Section available from the main menu at the top of every page.

“All the sales ‘Training’ I have had up to Klozers has been just that – ‘Training’. What Klozers offer is transferable from class-room to board-room is to develop an understanding of the business I work in and apply proven techniques that will work. I now refer to this as Sales Coaching, which for me is very different to training.

Nic Hood – Commercial Director, Superglass

Tremendous session. The most useful and interesting training I’ve ever had. Love the style!

Gary Stewart – Entrepreneur

Awesome job from the guys at Klozers. They provided a very insightful sales seminar to the new business owners on our Accelerator Programme and Iain was fantastic answering all the participants questions.

Nicola Crawford – Program Manager, Business Accelerator

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17. Recommended Sales Tools

If you are considering sales training before you start you can download a free sales audit tool part 1 on Sales Skills where you can benchmark your Salespeople against the Best in Class to help you understand the areas you might want to prioritise.

It’s important that any training you undertake sticks and is impactful which means there will need to be certain building blocks or sales functions in place. You can evaluate these functions for free using this sales audit tool part 2 on the sales functions in your business.

If you’re interested in learning about the Consultative Sales Process you can read this Ultimate Guide to the Consultative Sales Process.

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Iain Swanston Klozers

Author Bio

Iain Swanston has spent over 30 years in B2B sales selling, training and leading teams both domestically and internationally.  In addition he serves as an Associate at Strathclyde University Business School where he has delivered the sales content for the Masters in Entrepreneurship since 2015.

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