Magazine article Talent Development

Barriers to Appropriate Sales Training: What Roadblocks Get in the Way of Effective Sales Training?

Magazine article Talent Development

Barriers to Appropriate Sales Training: What Roadblocks Get in the Way of Effective Sales Training?

Article excerpt


More than 45 percent of the 400 sales trainers, sales executives, sales managers, and salespeople surveyed in an ASTD market research study believe time constraints to be their greatest challenge. Difficulty in measuring the success of the training course was the second greatest challenge.

Sales trainers, sales managers, and sales executives all agreed that time constraints represented their number one challenge. This seems logical given the shift in business models due to the rapidly changing economy. Time constraints can often lead to a more reactionary activity-based approach to driving sales results. The challenge becomes juggling short-term activities with long-term strategies where often the winning formula has to do with quality of activity, not quantity of activity.

Many respondents believe shortsighted management focus, as well as a lack of management buy-in, to be a major challenge in their ability to deliver appropriate sales training. Sales learning professionals may feel less tied into the corporate mission and vision, as well as doubt their own job security if they perceive their work as less important than others. Managers and senior leaders should be honest and open with sales learning professionals about their ability or inability to support the project portfolio.

Interestingly, salespeople, sales trainers, sales executives, and sales managers cite getting motivated to receive appropriate sales training as their least significant challenge (3 percent). This statistic should be encouraging to sales learning professionals and sales managers. Positive motivation toward sales training may help salespeople find more creative ways to fill the gaps in the training they receive (for example, coaching from others, finding a mentor, or attending training on their own). Additionally, this level of motivation may point to an interesting fact--that most salespeople are open and receptive to sales training and getting better, especially in a down economy.

Based on this insight, it would appear that the timing has never been better for sales training. This tough economic situation is forcing sellers to take inventory of their personal knowledge and skills while looking for ways to stay ahead of the competition. While the perception of lack of support and management buy-in may be a reality, sales learning professionals can provide sales training that solves the time management problem. A very effective and inexpensive way to facilitate sales training is through the creation of new tools, checklists, and job aids that salespeople actually use with their customers. …

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