When it comes to empowering your sales team to perform at their full potential, few things are more impactful than effective sales training. In fact, according to TaskDrive, the average ROI for sales training is a staggering 353%. That means that for every dollar that companies spend training their sales reps, they average $4.53 in return. 

Where many sales managers struggle, though, is pinpointing ideas for how to best train their salespeople. In this article, we’ll take a look at eight excellent sales training ideas that you can use to optimize your team’s sales process.

Why Great Sales Training Is So Critical

There are a number of reasons why developing a great sales training program is so beneficial. Beyond simply increasing the number of deals that your sales team is able to close and improving their sales skills, sales training also offers benefits such as:

  • Improving rep retention: Every sales rep wants to work for a company that will equip them with all of the tools and resources they need to succeed. For this reason, great sales training is one of the most effective ways to improve rep retention. Creating sales career paths is another way to boost retention and understand where your reps need the most training. 
  • Speeding up ramp time: According to HubSpot, the onboarding process for a new sales rep takes an average of 3.2 months before they’re able to reach their optimum level of performance. Sales training, though, is something that can go a long way toward reducing the ramp time of a new hire
  • Boosting productivity: When team members are confident at what they are doing, they tend to be far more productive and require far less hand-holding. By providing your sales reps with proper training, you can boost time management and overall productivity of your entire organization. 

This is just a snapshot of the benefits. Sales training is something that is able to improve every step in your team’s sales cycle and provide them with actionable sales techniques that will directly translate into higher revenue for your company. 

Of course, there is a big difference between the best sales training programs and programs that are merely adequate. At Sales Assembly, we’ve developed an industry-leading sales training and development program designed to provide sales teams across a range of B2B companies with the key skills and specialized training they need to excel. 

If you’re struggling to provide your sales force with the type of training that will truly empower them to close more deals and generate more revenue, Sales Assembly can help. To learn more or sign up, contact our team.

8 Proven Sales Training Ideas

Conducting an effective training session requires a well-developed approach complete with beneficial exercises that include clearly defined goals. To help you create a methodology for your training program that will yield the best possible results, here are eight sales training games, ideas, and exercises that never fail.

1. Conduct Mock Product Demos and Presentations

Being able to present products in a compelling manner is a skill that every sales rep should possess. One of the best ways to reinforce this skill is to role-play product demos and presentations as a form of training exercise

Gather your entire team to watch the mock presentation so that each presenter can get used to the pressures of presenting in front of an audience, then be sure to provide ample feedback once the presentation is complete. 

Strengths This Exercise Helps Build: 

  • Improves product familiarity 
  • Gets reps comfortable presenting in front of small and large groups
  • Hones speech and presentation skills

2. Create and Workshop Elevator Pitches

In many cases, sales reps have only a couple of minutes to pique the interest of potential customers. In the all-too-common instance where your reps don’t have time for a full presentation, a well-crafted elevator pitch is one of the most valuable tools they have at their disposal. 

Work with your sales team to develop an elevator pitch that really shines so that each rep is ready to quickly secure a meeting when the opportunity presents itself. 

It’s also a good idea to help each rep come up with their own personalized version of the sales pitch rather than developing a single pitch for your entire team. That’s because salespeople tend to perform better when they’re given room to let their personality shine and capitalize on their own unique strengths.  

Strengths This Exercise Helps Build: 

  • Provides reps with an effective elevator pitch 
  • Gets reps comfortable quickly explaining the most attention-grabbing benefits of whatever product or service they are selling
  • Pinpoints the most impactful messaging/value proposition about why your buyer should schedule more time with you

3. Sell Through Curiosity

Curiosity is a powerful motivational factor when it comes to influencing human behavior. As such, curiosity is certainly something that you should teach your sales team to cultivate. 

Start by identifying the most intriguing aspects of the product or service that your team is tasked with selling. Next, come up with ideas for how to present those products in a way that’s designed to prompt questions and fuel their curiosity. 

Anytime you can get a potential customer interested and asking questions about your product, you’re on the right track to closing a deal. By conducting these types of exercises, you can ensure that they never struggle to keep clients engaged in their pitch. 

Strengths This Exercise Helps Build: 

  • Helps your reps keep their clients interested and engaged 
  • Teaches your reps the skill of selling through curiosity and recognizing opportunities where they can and should ask questions
  • Pinpoints the elements of your product or service that are most intriguing

4. Shadow a Sales Call

Seeing your reps in action is a surefire way to provide them with better, more actionable feedback about their strengths and their weaknesses. Have them conduct a cold call with a customer, or listen in on another conversation, such as a follow-up call to a warm lead. 

Once this exercise is complete, be sure to provide feedback on areas to improve, as well as what the rep did well. In addition to strengthening the morale of your reps, this process ensures that your reps remember and repeat the right techniques. 

Strengths This Exercise Helps Build: 

  • Corrects minor or major areas in a rep’s technique
  • Reinforces the strong points of your rep’s performance 
  • Provides your reps with practice conducting sales calls or cold calling

Recommended reading: Your Guide to B2B Sales Coaching (Techniques, Metrics, and Benefits)

5. Assess Reps One by One

Team-wide training has its benefits, but spending one-on-one time with reps is something that every sales manager should employ on a regular basis. One-on-one training is particularly helpful for new reps, but can also help experienced members of your team further develop their skills. 

During a one-on-one sales meeting, ask your rep whether there are any pain points or obstacles that are holding them back. Discuss their key objectives (sales quotas, number of calls or demos, etc). Or, provide the rep with a specific set of daily or weekly goals if they don’t have them already. Your team’s sales career paths can act as the framework for these conversations.

Lastly, take the time to help each rep hone their personalized sales strategy, looking for any opportunity to provide them with unique tips or exercises. 

Strengths This Exercise Helps Build: 

  • Addresses concerns, issues, or opportunities specific to each rep
  • Helps reps develop a personalized sales strategy 
  • Builds trust and beneficial relationships between sales managers and their team 

6. Practice Objection-Handling Exercises

Even the best sales reps in the world are going to encounter some challenging customer objections from time to time. It isn’t avoiding objections, therefore, that makes a great sales rep, but rather knowing how to handle and overcome them. 

A time-tested training exercise to foster better objection-handling skills in your sales force is to role-play a sales pitch and run through common objections. Observe how your reps handle each objection, then talk through stronger responses and other strategies to help your reps close deals with even the most stubborn customers. 

Strengths This Exercise Helps Build: 

  • Familiarizes sales reps with common objections they’re likely to encounter   
  • Hones objection-handling skills 

7. Explore the Buyer’s Journey 

The most effective salespeople are those who are able to deeply empathize with and relate to their customers. According to The Business Journals, though, 77% of sales prospects say that they feel misunderstood by sellers. 

This should be a troubling statistic to any sales manager and one that highlights the importance of making sure reps fully understand the motivations, pain points, desires, and questions their customers have. 

By taking time to explore the buyer’s journey with your reps and presenting them with thorough buyer personas, you ensure that your reps are able to better relate to their customers and tailor the sales experience accordingly. 

Strengths This Exercise Helps Build: 

  • Builds empathy between reps and their customers 
  • Provides reps with a solid understanding of your company’s ideal customer persona  
  • Pinpoints specific desires and pain points that your reps should address during their pitches 

8. Host a Team Offsite  

If spending time in the office (at work or at home) has your sales force feeling a little claustrophobic, gathering everyone for a sales team offsite could be a breath of fresh air. 

Generally, team offsites are a mixture of work and fun, allowing leaders and reps to talk goals and hone skills, get to know each other better, and relax. There are tons of sales training opportunities you can add to the itinerary, including group discussions, Q&A sessions, presentations, and games. 

One of the most effective exercises is a peer-to-peer role-play. Have participants run through their sales pitch, negotiate prices, handle common objections, respond to questions about competitors — and then end the day at the beach or downtown.  

Strengths This Exercise Helps Build: 

  • Hones interpersonal communication skills
  • Lets reps practice their elevator pitch in a fresh, positive environment 
  • Builds stronger relationships between your sales team members

Let Sales Assembly Provide Your Team With World-Class Sales Training and Development 

Companies that invest in sales training more than triple their return on that investment. From raising rep retention to speeding up ramp time to providing your reps with the revenue-building skills they need, the benefits of effective sales training are hard to overstate. 

At Sales Assembly, we’ve created a sales training and development program that’s truly unmatched. Contact us today to learn more about our industry-leading sales training, certifications, and professional development programs.

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