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ATD Blog

The Who, What, and How of Sales Training


Fri Dec 10 2010


Are the proper people in your company offering the right sales training? Are they using a delivery method that creates the most impact with your sales force? Ever wonder how your organization's sales training efforts stack up or compare with those of your peers? Some of the info below may give you reason to rethink your sales training strategy in order to build a world-class sales team that drives increased revenue.

In part two of this three part weekly series discussing the findings of ASTD's State of Sales Training report, we will look at the "who, what, and how" of sales training. "Who" defines those accountable for sales training in an organization, while "what" addresses the 5 categories of sales training, and "how" covers the methods of sales training delivery. As you recall from last week, if you can closely align your sales training with corporate training and goals, your revenue will increase.



Let's begin by taking a look who delivers the sales training.

The Who, What, and How of Sales Training-4aeb93761ec14b030deaadd9d63baaf7ca089024e704f0437ffd2d15d912286d

As you can see from the figure above, in many organizations it appears that learning executives are in more of a supporting role in regards to sales training, while sales executives tend to own the delivery.


When conducting the research, the team identified and validated a mix of 5 sales training categories: selling skills, product training, industry training, company specific training, and sales management. The pie chart below shows the percentage of training hours dedicated to each category.

The Who, What, and How of Sales Training-fd90d0804a88489cedb63a168f7b005747e934d6644e52ad6380f7b99ed33051

As you can see, it is clear that the highest priorities in sales training are teaching employees how to sell and about what they're selling.


Finally, how did our research participant's organizations deliver sales training? Take a look below:

The Who, What, and How of Sales Training-7c235563f420d063c5114e284a4522632db2d694a5167a7948fdac26b5519bdf

\[Note: "on-the-job" at 17.6%/18.3%/17.0% and "coaching/mentoring" at 12.9%/10.7%/17.2% made up a majority of the remaining delivery methods\]

As you can see, despite the prevalence of technology and the continued discussions of Web 2.0 technologies, technology based training takes a back seat to instructor led training. Based on the data, we can assume that the human touch is essential to the delivery of sales training.



What other conclusions can we draw from this? As mentioned previously, if you can closely align your sales training with corporate training and goals, your revenue will increase. So it seems counterintuitive to have a sales executive deliver the training. Why does this occur? Could it be that sales executives can provide that human touch needed by sales people? Or that sales executives know how to train selling skills since they have "carried the bag"?

What are your thoughts? Where does your organization fit? What conclusions do you draw from this data? Let us know in the comments section!

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