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Sales Training

    Sales Training

    In general, training provides many diverse benefits both to the company as well as to the salesperson.



    Key Points

    • Training employees results in improved performance or error reduction, leading to higher profits. Employees can strengthen their overall skill set and increase their understanding of the organization.
    • Different industries and organizations will have different training needs, and will thus need to devise different training systems as a result.
    • Different types of training include on the job training, technical training, mentoring systems, and coaching systems among others.

    Key Terms

    • training: the activity of imparting and acquiring skills.

    Training is generally defined as the act of teaching a skill or behavior. However, what does this mean in business terms? Simply put, training in business is the investment of resources in the employees of a company so that they are better equipped to perform the tasks of their job. The type of resources invested may include time to learn, money to create programs and develop training materials, training effectiveness evaluation systems, etc.

    Benefits of Training

    Training provides greater skill and knowledge to the employees, which translate into any number of improved job performances. The belief is that providing employees with training will result in increased profits—the improved performance or error reduction of the employees results in cost reduction for the company. For sales personnel, training is especially important, as untrained salespeople interacting with customers may have a negative effect on the company’s reputation.

    Both the employee and the company benefit from training. By attending training sessions, employees can deepen their existing skill set, increase their overall skill set and increase their understanding of the organization (see ). Additionally (and perhaps unintentionally on the part of the company), the trained employee becomes more marketable in the event that he or she searches for another job—more and better skills will often lead to better or higher paying jobs. Other benefits that both may enjoy are increased job satisfaction, motivation and morale; increased efficiency, resulting in financial gain; increased capacity to adopt new technologies and methods; increased innovation in strategies and products; reduced employee turnover; and enhanced company image, reputation and customer satisfaction (particularly in the case of salespeople).


    Training: Training can be conducted in many ways, such as in a lecture or classroom format (above), online, or any number of ways.

    Need for Training

    The need for training varies depending on the type of organization that is being discussed; a manufacturing company has different training needs than an insurance firm. But regardless of the type of company being discussed, appropriate training systems can greatly benefit the company. Sales personnel will need different types of specialized training depending on the industry and the company’s unique circumstances.

    How does one decide on a training system? The process begins with a training needs assessment. This assessment ought to be a systematic and objective analysis of the training needs in three main areas—organizational, job, and person. Organizational needs deal mostly with the skills the company is looking for, the labor force, etc. whereas the job needs focus on the skills that the company views as necessary for a specific position. Then there are the person needs, and these are the most variable needs. Often these needs arise after a gap is seen in the expected performance compared to the actual performance of the employee. Training can also be a part of a young employee’s “exploration” stage, where training can be used to focus the employee’s interest and development towards a specific area.

    Training Methods

    Designing and implementing the training systems requires the company to consider a number of things; the method of training, the material the training will deal with, who will provide the training, how to evaluate the effectiveness of the training, etc. On-the-job training relies on the employee to recognize the skills and knowledge he or she will need as they perform their work, and then develop those skills on his or her own. Technical training focuses on a specific need of specific employees. Mentoring systems pair a younger or less experienced employee with an individual that has experience and success within the company who can offer guidance, aid and insight to the younger/less experienced employees. Coaching systems involve the manager offering developmental assistance to the employee through observation, assessment, providing feedback, questioning, etc.

    The training of a salesperson who will be working in a country other than his or her own can be broken into three segments—pre-departure, on-site, and repatriation. The pre-departure training consists of formal language training, training with respect to the local culture (culture sensitivity), education about the country (history, geography, government, etc.), and education about the company’s operation in the foreign country. Such training allows for easier assimilation of the employee into the country and the company’s office there. Once on site, training takes the shape of training at any other branch of the company. When the employee abroad returns, a repatriation program designed to reduce culture shock and to integrate the experience abroad is useful.

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