2019 State of Sales Training Cover
Press Release

ATD Research: Despite Significant Investments, Lack of Accountability Hinders Sales Training Efficacy

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

(ALEXANDRIA, VA), March 12, 2019—According to the 2019 State of Sales Training, the new research report from the Association for Talent Development (ATD) sponsored by Richardson, companies invest significant training time and expenditures into salespeople’s talent development early in their tenure, but lack of accountability diminishes training effectiveness.

ATD’s research found the average annual sales training expenditure per person was $2,326. First-year salespeople received more than 20 days of training annually on average according to the majority (86 percent) of participants. The amount of training decreased as tenure rose.

While companies are investing both money and time into salespeople’s talent development, nearly 60 percent of participants say a top barrier to the effectiveness of sales training is that salespeople are not held accountable for applying the skills they learn in training.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Salespeople were most likely to learn by observing or shadowing peers, followed by asking other sales peers and attending a live or virtual class. These findings highlight the importance of informal learning and social learning in organizations.
  • Overall, results show that sales training is primarily delivered through instructor-led methods, for all types of training content: knowledge, tools, strategy, and skills training.
  • Some participants believe that sales training helps their organization meet sales goals, but there’s room to improve. Just over 40 percent said this was true to a high or very high extent. Participants were equally likely to say that sales training helped meet sales goals to a moderate extent.

Figure 5_2019 State of Sales Training

  • Just over half of participants reported that sales and business leaders saw value in sales training to a high or very high extent.

The report’s authors make the following recommendations for improving sales training: Develop storytelling skills, encourage peer-to-peer social learning, embrace technology, reinforce training, relate to your sales and marketing leaders, and use a sales competency model or methodology.


The 2019 State of Sales Training report can be found at To learn more about the report, register for a free webcast on March 20 at 2 p.m. ET.

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. Originally established in 1943, the association was previously known as the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD supports talent development professionals who gather locally in volunteer-led U.S. chapters and international member networks, and with international strategic partners. For more information, visit

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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