The Top 5 Reasons Sales Training Fails - and How to Avoid Them!

Just like top athlete’s train-insaneto stay ahead of the competition, the same is true for top sales teams.Whilst any investment in people development should be applauded, unfortunately most of it will prove to be a waste of money as it won’t deliver the necessary behaviour change and improved business performance needed.

This blog outlines the top 5 reasons why sales training fails and provides practical ideas and insights to help ensure any investment provides the return you need.

1. Too much emphasis on SKILLS training and not enough on BEHAVIOURS

In addition to having the right skills,top salespeople also need to develop the right behaviours and mind-set needed to successfully undertake every aspect of their role. 

It is important therefore to check whether the shortlisted programmes are purely skills-based, or if they go further to address the widerand equally as important aspects of the development of salespeople.

2. The training delivery style is not conducive to how adults learn

In the majority of cases, multi-day, back-to-back training courses, do not deliver lasting behaviour change.  This was first discovered by Hermann Ebbinhausin 1885, his research led to what is now commonly referred to as “The Forgetting Curve”– and is still of sound logic today.A better approach therefore is to rely less on classroom-training and have a blend of learning interventions and resources.

When choosing an appropriate training partner therefore it is important to check HOW the training programme is structured and more importantly, how the learnings are embedded.

3. Sales Management Teams are unaware of what is being taught or trained how to Manage

More often than not, and for understandable reasons, Sales Managers do not attend the same sales training courses as their team members. Consequently, there is a disconnect between Sales Managers and their salespeople. 

To avoid this disconnect from happening it is important the Sales Management team are given a thorough overview of the content of the training course(s), and more importantly trained how to embed it and take on the role of lead coach.

4. Commission plans are out of kilter with the needs of the business

It doesn’t matter how good a sales training course is, if the commission plan contradicts it the training will be fruitless.  

Organisations need to give greater thought to their commission plans to ensure they are compatible with the needs of the business and don’t undermine or contradict any of the training content.

5. The value proposition isn’t very good

Sales training alone cannot maximise the revenue of a company - that requires a lot more work, particularly with regards to the customer value-proposition.  

A compelling and engaging value-proposition can materially impact the length of the sales cycle and the win ratios. In the absence of a compelling value proposition, price (or the wider commercial agreement) is often the only lever the salesperson has at their disposal to help win the sale.  

There are some very good companies who specialise in value-proposition-design, one being Boost Performance (


Before investing in sales training, Sales Managers and Leadership teams should check the following:


written by: Anna Marshall, SalesGym 360



Anna is a results-focused dynamic multilingual learning and development professional with a history of success in initiating and guiding projects, business consultancy and sales training. Her commitment is to craft intelligent solutions and deliver extraordinary service. Anna’s passion is about improving organizational effectiveness through innovative and knowledgeable training, consulting, and business improvement services customized to meet her client’s specific needs.


Twitter: @Marshall_Anna