ATD Blog

5 Training Fundamentals Every Sales Manager Should Know

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

For people who have never worked as part of a sales team, the training period is crucial and can help them adapt to their job. Sales managers need to keep in mind the importance of training when they are putting their course together. Given that sales reps spend most of their time convincing their prospects, your job as a sales manager is to help them sell better—and what better way than creating online courses that can train hundreds to thousands of sales reps? But, you need to be careful while delivering sales training: First, every sales rep has their distinct selling style that the training must adhere to. Second, not every sales rep has a large attention span. So, if you want to know how to create online training for your sales team that delivers results, simply follow these tips.

Focus on Microlearning

The e-learning industry defines microlearning as the “delivery of learning content in the form of information nuggets, in standalone modules,” where each module “spans not more than 10 minutes and comprehensively addresses one learning objective.” Sounds very promising, right? It certainly is.

Microlearning not only enhances knowledge retention, it also promotes better learner engagement. If you create online courses spanning hours, you simply cannot force hardworking adults to learn lessons by heart.

By breaking training material into knowledge bites, microlearning appeals to employees and recruits who are on a busy schedule and thus have a shortened attention span. Besides making learning short, sweet, and focused, it also delivers great just-in-time knowledge support.

Promote On-the-Job Training

Microlearning is mobile-friendly, which means that your sales reps will be able to access the organization’s know-how on an as-needed basis. Say they’re just about to close a deal, but a prospective buyer asks them a challenging question—they can simply access the module via their smart device, deliver a convincing answer in a matter of seconds, and remember it for the next sales conversion.

Training in the field draws lessons from both just-in-time learning and scenario-based learning, and equips new sales representatives for success. When it comes to knowledge retention and application, field training is critical; considering that communication skills are of utmost importance for these teams, it’s only natural that some effective sales techniques must be experientially learned.

Guide From Your Experience

Speaking of experiential learning—the process of learning through experience—your role as a senior sales rep and an employee trainer cannot be overemphasized. “Sharing videos from more seasoned reps utilizing tips they picked up over the years can help to get the newer reps up to speed and out in the field quicker than the average,” explains Mark Magnacca, president and co-founder of Allego.


In the context of a workplace, knowledge sharing is paramount. Experiential learning empowered by more experienced sales reps falls under this broad concept as well, creating a learning environment based on collaboration and comradeship. Every manager and senior representative should take part in a training process, and facilitate the learning experience for newer sales reps.

Use E-Learning Opportunities

The success of each of the aforementioned practices—bite-sized modules, field training, and experiential learning being the most important among them—should be further increased through effective utilization of e-learning tools, online classes, and corporate training software systems.

The opportunities for online training are as numerous as the benefits they put on the table. Just like microlearning, online classes offer greater flexibility. Trainees who are already busy, working individuals can take them at their productive peak hours, thus staying on the clock with both their everyday sales tasks and their modules. On top of that, trainees can learn wherever they are.

Though there are plenty of ready-made sales courses available online, aspiring businesses are expected to provide their own customized learning experience to new recruits. You’ll need to train and onboard at the same time, which is why it may be a time to consider e-learning tools that help you create a training program in accordance with your company’s specific needs and long-established sales practices.


In addition to bite-sized modules and experiential learning, consider scenario-based learning and gamification as well. All the best e-learning tools can help you create modules based on these effective methods, and therefore increase not only retention, but also motivation and engagement.

Reward Good Results

Sales teams may just be the most important cog in the corporate mechanism, and businesses large and small should always go the extra mile when training and onboarding their new recruits. Programs that ensure high knowledge retention and out-of-the-box application in the workplace are thus the first step toward creating a sales dream team that converts customers both quickly and successfully.

But, good training programs are not all about learning styles, techniques, and tools. Their effectiveness relies on your ability to raise interest of trainees as well, which is why your company needs to develop incentive strategies and find the best ways of keeping your recruits fully motivated and engaged.

Whatever training method you choose, make sure to include a learner feedback section to each module. Not only will this show that you care about the quality of the learning experience you provide, it will also allow you to gain insight into trainees’ performances and learn how to improve them.

If your trainees don’t reach their full potential, it may not be entirely their fault. It is up to your organization to offer them the best possible practices, and reward the effort. Always clap to the best students in the class, and give participation trophies, tips, and useful advice to less successful ones.

Effective training is always key, but especially so when it comes to sales teams. The set of skills your recruits will have to develop to thrive at their job is truly comprehensive. Continual learning is definitely among them, so make sure to use bite-sized modules, field training, experiential learning, e-learning, and incentives to create an environment that fosters growth and development.

About the Author

Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He has more than years seven of experience working with ProProfs learning management system and other e-learning authoring tools, which has given him hands-on experience with the latest course authoring software and the e-learning industry.

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