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ATD Blog

ATD’s New State of Sales Training Shows Trends in Learning Spending, Hours for Salespeople

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The average organization spent $2,020 per salesperson on sales training in the last full fiscal or calendar year, not including expenses for an annual sales kickoff meeting, according to 2021 State of Sales Training, a new research report sponsored by Highspot. To reach these conclusions, ATD’s researchers analyzed self-reported data from 63 organizations representing a wide range of industries, company sizes, and locations.

The research asked participants to divide their expenditures into three categories: internal services, learning suppliers, and tuition reimbursement. Internal services included in-house development, delivery, and administration expenses along with talent development staff salaries. Learning suppliers provide consulting services; external content development and licenses; and outside, nonstaff trainers. Tuition reimbursement expenses included programs and courses at colleges and universities as well as continuing professional education and certification. In the last full fiscal or calendar year at the time of the survey, which included 2019 for many organizations, participants directed 69 percent of their sales training expenditures toward internal services, 26 percent toward learning suppliers, and 5 percent toward tuition reimbursement.

For the fiscal calendar year at the time the survey was conducted, which included 2020 for most organizations, 18 percent of organizations expected their sales training expenditures to increase compared to the previous fiscal or calendar year. Fifty-three percent expected them to stay about the same, and 31 percent expected them to decrease.


The relatively high percentage of organizations that expected their expenditures to decrease for 2020 was likely influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic fallout. The trend reversed itself when participants were asked about their anticipated sales training for the next fiscal or calendar year, which for most included 2021. In the next fiscal or calendar year, 29 percent of organizations expected their sales training expenditures to increase, 51 percent expected them to remain about the same, and 20 percent expected them to decrease.

The full report is available at A free webinar will be held on Thursday, April 8, at 2 p.m. (ET).

About the Author

Alex Moore is a research analyst for the Association for Talent Development. Alex returned to ATD in 2019 after spending a year living and working in Chile. Prior to moving abroad, Alex was a writer/editor for ATD working on TD magazine, a research coordinator at ATD, and a customer care advocate at ATD. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 2015 with a B.A. in English.

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