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ATD Research: More Than Half of Organizations Invest in Sales Enablement

Published Wed Jul 05 2023

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The Association for Talent Development’s latest report finds that less than one-third of organizations offered fully structured training programs to remote employees.

(Alexandria, VA), July 5, 2023—An effective sales function aids in organizational success, and according to new research from the Association for Talent Development, organizations dedicate 63 percent of their sales budget to internal costs, such as talent development, sales enablement staff salaries, and the costs to deliver sales training.

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The median organization spent between $1,000 and $1,499 per salesperson on sales training in 2022. Sales kickoff meetings accounted for an additional $1,000 to $1,499 per salesperson last year, according to ATD’s 2023 State of Sales Training report, sponsored by HighSpot.

“Sales training is a critical tool to take an organization’s most successful sales practices and equip its entire sales force with the knowledge and skills to use them,” the report noted.

Other key findings include:

  • Sales training content was created by a dedicated internal sales enablement function at 40 percent of responding organizations, but this figure rose to 56 percent for high-performing organizations.

  • The top instructional methods to make sales training more engaging and interactive were scenario-based learning (69 percent), post-training activities (66 percent), and video (66 percent).

  • On average, first-year salespeople spent 10.2 days in training each year. That’s more than twice as much time as the average third-year salesperson (3.9 days) and fifth-year salesperson (3.8 days).

  • On-the-job coaching by managers was the top method of on-the-job learning for salespeople, used to a high or very high extent by 56 percent of respondents.

More than half of organizations included knowledge training and skills training activities in their sales kickoff meetings, but high-performing organizations were significantly more likely to do so compared with other organizations.

“While organizations are making a substantial investment in sales training, there is room for improvement,” according to the report. “The research found that less than half of the organizations used a dedicated sales enablement function to create sales content. It also found that while 89 percent of organizations employed remote salespeople, only 32 percent of this group offered a fully structured training program for these employees.”

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This research surveyed 71 talent development and sales enablement professionals about sales training in their organizations. Of these, 25 percent were directors or above, 46 percent were managers or supervisors, and 25 percent were individual contributors.

The research investigated key questions about sales training, provided benchmarking data, and highlighted best practices. Of the responding organizations, 61 percent reported performing well across several key business areas and having talent development functions that made strong contributions to organizational performance. The research compared these highly effective organizations with other study respondents to identify sales training practices with statistically significant connections to high performance.

About ATD

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees, improve performance, and help to achieve results for the organizations they serve. Established in 1943, the association was known as the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

ATD’s members come from more than 100 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD supports talent development professionals who gather locally in volunteer-led US chapters, international member networks, and with international strategic partners.

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For more information, visit td.org.

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