Sales Training Your Reps Actually Want

Salespeople are not known for staying at the same job for long.

It’s difficult to pinpoint a definitive source that gives a firm annual sales turnover number, but most industry experts agree that turnover for sales representatives is around 33% ­– three times the turnover of all other jobs in the U.S. That number rose during the Great Resignation in 2021, when turnover rates for sales reps seemed to be 58% higher than they were in 2020. Reps leave their jobs for a number of reasons:

  • Burnout: Sales teams work long hours in a high-pressure job. A lot is expected of them, which takes a toll, especially if they’re not getting support when it comes to handling that workload. A report from Gartner found that nearly 90% of sellers feel burned out, and a recent study found that 1 in 4 reps are planning to quit sales entirely in the next 3-6 months.
  • Compensation: Studies find that 43% of salespeople who want to leave their current job lack benefits while 31% don’t get bonuses.
  • Poaching: A rep doesn’t need to be unhappy to leave; according to research, 98% of employers recruit job candidates who are already employed. If they’re offering a better deal, your team member is likely to take them up on their offer; 51% of sales reps say they’d take a job if it meant better pay.
  • Lack of advancement opportunities: If your sales reps don’t see a future for themselves in your organization, they’re unlikely to stay with you. A survey shows that 94% of employees are more likely to stay at a company longer if the business invests in their careers.

Offering your team training opportunities

Many sales organizations invest in training; their reps are provided with onboarding, product training, and compliance training. While these types of training can support your sales team, they don’t necessarily build the kind of skills your team needs to move forward in their careers. To give your sales team more growth opportunities, consider the following types of development:

Top sellers prioritize sales strategy training

Most companies offer ongoing training on product and industry information, but you might be surprised to learn that the top performing companies do not. Research from ATD found that the best sales organizations spend less time on product training and more on teaching sales strategy throughout the year. (Product training tends to happen yearly at these companies, at the big annual sales kickoff.) Ongoing sales training keeps salespeople at these successful organizations up to date on sales processes, methodologies, and systems – knowledge that can be applied in their current jobs, future jobs, and to a management role if they’re promoted. It also helps them to be more strategic thinkers and problem-solvers.

Customize your training content for virtual sellers

Virtual selling has become increasingly common in the past few years, but many salespeople aren’t entirely comfortable with it yet. A recent survey found that salespeople feel lost when it comes to virtual selling; 40% lack knowledge and 29% lack training when it comes to building trust with clients virtually. Despite this concern, ATD found that only 64%of organizations with virtual sales teams offered content designed specifically to help reps thrive in a virtual selling environment.

Scale coaching to improve sales performance

Sales reps value one on one time with their managers, so it makes sense that coaching is one of the most effective approaches for improving sales team performance and empowering your salespeople to thrive — CSO Insights found that in top-performing companies, sales managers spent a significant amount of time coaching their teams, and a recent report found that scaling coaching was a top priority among sales teams.

Coaching gives your team an edge because it’s high-touch; a manager can get to know the strengths and weaknesses of each salesperson on their team, as well as their aspirations. This will allow sales managers to personalize the learning experiences of their team members, giving them the tools to perform better and achieve their career goals.

Your sales team deserves to succeed

Your reps got into sales because they enjoy it; they like to solve buyers’ problems and they love the thrill of closing a deal. Learning is a powerful way to support them as they bring in revenue for your organization, and they’ll appreciate it.

By going above and beyond to provide timely and relevant sales training to your team, you can help them be the best at their job and keep them happy, while they keep your customers happy.