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Ditching the Corporate Classroom Sales Training Program

The problem with most sales training is that it’s set up to fail before you even start. It’s time for a rethink.

I’m guessing your sales kick-off looked a bit different this year. But what about the content? Was it business as usual? I see so many sales kick-offs that are Death By PowerPoint. Put that on Zoom and it’s a recipe for disaster. How can you expect your reps to take anything in?


Sales kick-offs, where companies get all their reps together to talk about their goals for the year ahead, get aligned on new features and spread some motivation, so often fail to bring value. This is because companies take a classroom-based approach to training. Most reps aren’t programmed to learn that way, so they don’t retain as much information as you need them to. Also, companies assume that the training is the only part of the event worth thinking about


In this article, I’ll show you why, when it comes to sales training, you need to get out of the classroom and into the action. 



Over the last two years, the most successful training programs we’ve run at SalesWorks are the ones where the leadership team focus on pre-training. They come to us with objectives and we help meet them.

Pre-training is everything from planning, to explaining to your team why it’s important and setting expectations. 

In the very best programs, the leadership team will get involved as delegates. They’ll take part in the exercises and really commit to the process. This works well because it motivates the reps and makes them feel invested in the outcome. It also makes them more likely to reinforce the messages across the forthcoming year.



As I mentioned at the start, sales reps don’t learn by being told what to do in a classroom. They don’t engage with endless PowerPoint sessions, especially if what they’re being told isn’t 100% relevant to what they do in their daily lives.

With the classroom approach, reps only retain between 10% and 20% of the information they’re told. Within a week, they’ll have lost 80% of the skills they picked up during training.

At SalesWorks, we run a 70/20/10 model on our training programs. That’s:

  • 70% experiential training – learning by doing
  • 20% social learning – group discussions
  • 10% formal learning – the classroom

When you make the bulk of your training practical, so reps can apply it to real-life situations, you boost retention and create better outcomes.



The training doesn’t stop when the session ends. After that, it’s all about measurement, retention and reinforcement.

How do you typically measure the success of a training program? Do you evaluate the differences in your reps after they have been through the program? If you don’t, how do you know that your salespeople are saying the right things to your customers?

Post-training, managers need to be accountable for ensuring its ongoing success. They can do this through coaching, gamification or anything else that helps reinforce the training. 


Request a consultation to learn more about how SalesWorks can partner with you to improve performance through sales training.

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