11 Effective Sales Training Topics To Help a Sales Team

Updated December 5, 2022

A profile view of a group of employees sitting in chairs in an office, facing a presenter standing and facing the group.

Effective sales training can help increase a sales team's confidence, improve their performance and motivate them to achieve their goals. By focusing on the right topics during a sales training seminar, you can influence the success of teams and optimize your training efforts. Knowing which topics to focus on can help you design helpful training tools for a team.

In this article, we provide a list of 11 topics that can be helpful to focus on during sales training and offer tips to ensure your training is as effective as possible.

11 sales training topics

There are a variety of sales training topics to consider based on a team's needs:

1. Building rapport and maintaining customer relationships

Establishing a business relationship with a prospective customer can provide a positive foundation for a possible sale. In sales training, focus on building rapport and starting conversations with sales leads to connect with customers.

Have team members practice friendly conversation, demonstrating a sincere interest in what the other person is saying. Making small talk and asking about the customer's day can be a simple yet effective way to begin a conversation, and encouraging the team to find out what they have in common with customers is a great way to encourage genuine connections.

Related: A Guide to Small Talk: 4 Tips and 45 Conversation Starters

2. Handling objections or rejections

In sales, it's common for a salesperson to be responsible for cold calling or sending many emails daily. As such, it's important that a salesperson is comfortable with customers' potential rejections or objections so that they know how to respond appropriately.

In sales training, consider brainstorming various reasons a potential customer could deny a sale and practice tactics for communicating in those situations. Consider using sales training as an opportunity to act out various scenarios regarding how an employee would respond to an objection over the phone compared to how they might respond if they were with the customer in person.

Related: 9 Customer Service Tips To Improve Your Skills

3. Evaluating competition and industry trends

For organizations to maintain any advantages they have in their industry, it's important for them to remain aware of their competition. Sales training provides an opportunity for organizations to reflect on and assess how they compare to their competition.

For example, it's often effective to examine the competition's sales strategies and how they achieve their sales goals. Consider conducting research and analyzing the industry's current happenings to facilitate presentations that inform employees about their organization's competition. This type of sales training can allow leaders to communicate industry trends that may influence future sales.

Related: How To Conduct Competitor Research

4. Developing and asking specific questions

Effective salespeople ask specific questions to uncover their sales leads' specific needs. This allows a salesperson to establish a strong working relationship with the customer from the beginning of the sales process. You might wish to conduct a sales training workshop dedicated to developing specific questions to ask during a sale.

For example, you might lead an activity in which employees can only ask questions when communicating and responding to each other. Encouraging team members to tell a story or provide a sales pitch in this format allows them to practice asking friendly, open-ended questions.

Related: How To Understand Customer Needs in 4 Steps

5. Enhancing social media presence

While some sales occur in person or over the phone, many prospective sales leads begin online through networking and social media. A sales training session focused on online marketing can help improve the sales team's social media presence.

Encourage a sales team to use business social media accounts and professional email addresses when networking and communicating with sales leads. This type of training can remind organizations' sales teams of the importance of maintaining credibility online while also remaining consistent with their organization's sales objectives.

Related: Professional Networking: What It Is and How To Master It

6. Improving listening skills

Remaining attentive to what prospective customers say can help a sales team identify customer needs. Developing and enhancing a sales team's listening skills is a great topic to focus on during sales training. You might try a workshop activity in which two members of the sales team take turns talking and listening.

Encourage the listener to focus on the speaker and repeat what they've heard in their own words when it's their turn to speak. In this way, you can use sales training to remind the sales team of the importance of listening when interacting with a customer.

Related: 8 Strategies To Improve Your Listening Skills

7. Identifying sales leads

Effective sales teams often comprise salespeople who take initiative when communicating with customers. As such, sales training is an excellent opportunity to strengthen a sales team's ability to identify sales leads. An organization often finds sales leads online through social media or email networking. Use sales training to review the key data that contributes to a lead becoming a likely customer.

8. Prioritizing promising sales leads

Once a sales team can effectively identify sales leads, consider having a sales training session dedicated to educating the sales team on how to prioritize promising sales leads. While maintaining regular communication with customers throughout the sales process can strengthen your professional relationships, a sales team can generate and complete as many sales as possible by focusing on sales that have the most potential.

To do this, encourage team members to evaluate customers' specific needs while assessing your organization's own sales goals and deadlines. Making projections regarding your organization's possible revenue growth can also help a sales team establish criteria regarding how to prioritize sales leads.

9. Practicing sales pitches and presentations

Sales training provides an excellent opportunity for sales teams to refine their sales pitches and their presentation skills. Effective sales pitches focus on specific details that highlight how the sale can benefit the customer. Have a team practice rehearsing sales pitches aloud and revising pitches based on feedback.

You might also have the sales team develop well-informed mock presentations by conducting research on a specific topic. These exercises can help the sales team maintain credibility while improving the team's ability to speak with confidence during the sales process.

Related: How To Write A Winning Sales Script (With Template and Example)

10. Collaborating with different personalities

While you can find out what you have in common with the customer by building rapport at the beginning of a sale, a team may work with varying personality types throughout the sales process. Additionally, each member of the sales team brings a unique perspective to the team based on their experiences.

Sales training can encourage the team to collaborate and seek advice from team members whose expertise or personality differs from their own. Using sales strategies and knowing how to effectively work with people of different personality types can help a sales team to achieve its goals.

11. Understanding how to close a sale

While developing rapport can help a sales team develop prospective sales leads, it's important that a sales team can also successfully close a sale. In addition to generating profit, closing a sale can be the beginning of a long-lasting professional relationship.

As part of this training, encourage the sales team to create a sense of urgency when closing the sale while assessing the customers' specific needs. When a sales team can consistently meet or exceed its established sales objectives, it can contribute to an organization's profitability and overall success.

Tips for sales training

Here are some tips that can help you ensure the success of sales training efforts:

Cater to a team's needs

When creating your training, focus on a team's most obvious weaknesses first. For example, if an organization notices their sales team can effectively build rapport with prospective sales leads but finds it challenging to consistently close sales, having sales training focused specifically on closing sales can help further develop the team's skills.

This can lead to more sales and additional successful business relationships in the future. You can still lead training on topics the team is more comfortable with but begin with problem areas to get them functioning at the level you want.

Use customer feedback

Customer feedback can be a great tool for deciding the topics on which to focus during training. Consider using surveys and other feedback tools to learn about customers' experiences during the sales process. This can help you discover which strategies are most effective for a team to learn.

Related: How To Gather Customer Feedback (And Tips To Improve It)

Clarify expectations

Strive to make the goal and expectation of the sales meeting very clear to team members. This can help them understand how to apply the training to their own work. Make resources available after the training is over so they can reference the material if they have questions later.


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