5 Reasons That May Cause Failure of Sales Training

Today’s sales force are more distracted and hard pressed for time than ever. They are motivated to learn, but don’t appreciate wasting time attending full day training sessions. At the same time, new innovations are happening every day with an increasing complexity in terms of product features and benefits. Also, the new age customer is smarter and well informed than ever. Such realities make the job of a sales person complex and tricky. Along with this, the rise of the millennial workforce calls for sales training more than ever! This is why their training needs to be the best – there is no short cut. However, this is far from a dream.

ATD Research found that organizations spend an average of $954,070 on sales training every year. And they spend an average of $1,459 per salesperson annually—which is $230 more than the average organization’s training expenditure per employee for workers in all functions ($1,229) as reported in the 2015 State of the Industry. 

With product innovations being the central theme here, the key questions to ask are:

  • Given that products are changing as per market needs constantly, is there a way to keep the sales force updated with the latest developments? If yes, what is the way in which this is done?
  • What is the content communicated to the sales teams and who leads this?
  • Are these updates optimized in a way that highlights the key takeaways in detail and does not waste time in getting caught up with costly interventions like classroom training sessions?

43 percent of sales enablement professionals believed that their organization’s senior leaders found value in sales training to a high or very high extent; 16 percent felt that their senior leaders did not see any value or saw value only to a small extent.



According to AA-ISP’s Inside sales top challenges report, sales leaders ranked training as the number one issue facing inside sales forces today. Here are some of the burning problems that training faces:

1. Complex products and boring content

50% of sales training professionals believe the content just isn’t engaging enough

Most of the content used in training are boring, with a lot of emphasis on theoretical concepts. Traditional classroom sessions drain the ever-so-energetic sales people out and they end up getting demotivated and losing time which they would otherwise spend on getting cutomers on the field. Here is what goes in our long term memory, as per The Brevet Group – 80% comes from seeing and doing, 20% comes from reading and 10% comes from hearing. Clearly, this is not what is happening as the major method of sales training is still classroom based.

2. Salespeople are dissatisfied with sales training

 Only 1 in 3 sales trainers feel their current training programs are effective.

One of the key takeaways here is what dissatisfies the sales force when it comes to their training. Surprisingly, it is not the content, as sales people believe that the theory part is well taken care of in the updates. But what goes completely missing is the practical part of it which is most critical to know when on the field in front of the customer. The training does not answer questions of how products solve the customer’s problem or how do the products benefit the customer. So it is not that sales people do not value training, what they are looking for is relevant and practical training.

3. No way to retain information disseminated

84% of all sales training is lost after 90 days. 

According to a Brainshark Survey which collected responses from more than 160 professionals responsible for sales training, not only were sales reps found to be lest engaged in training programs, but 45% sales reps reported that they get easily distracted during training sessions. The dreaded “blank stare” from reps stood at 33%.

4. Poor soft skills training

According to Forbes magazine, 55% of salespeople lack basic sales skills.

Caliper’s Chairman, Herb Greenberg and President Patrick Sweeney in their book, How to Hire & Develop your Next Top Performer, claim that internal motivation is the factor that distinguishes the top 20% of sales people from marginal producers. According to Caliper, 55% of people working in sales lack one of the two key attributes absolutely essential to crack a deal – empathy and ego drive. Current training practices do not focus on building such essential attributes.

sales training

5. Less ROI on training

There is a $1 TRILLION global spend on sales training. (Bureau of labor Statistics)

The goal of training is definitely to have better people on board for overall growth and productivity and such investements need to be justified. Certain measures that are needed to gauge training ROI are pre-training assessments, post-training assessments, proactical application of training content and ensurung its retention in the long term and sales revenue correlation. There are many hidden costs in conducting training, each of which need to be carefully organized and understood. For any solution that organizations use to train their sales reps, it should enable them to measure their ROI and help them increase it with time.

Clearly, organizations need a solution that not only help them ensure that their sales team has a higher completion rate, but a solution that allows them to keep themselves updated with latest product innovations and how it can positively impact the customer. All this needs to come with powerful data analytics and the least technical aid required.

Capabiliti offers a unique solution that has been deployed by organizations to train their sales force. Their solution provides the easiest way to push product training programs to anyone, anywhere in minutes, and comprehensively track completions and progress. You can also further engage, motivate and reward your learners as per their performance. Key features include:

  • Quick deployment in flat 15 minutes
  • Delivery of training across devices
  • Instantaneous global reach
  • No IT support required
  • 100% data security
  • Easy wizards for quick deployment
  • DIY process
  • Configurable settings
  • Downloadable reports with actionable insights
  • Notifications and reminders


About the Author

Bhaswati B

Bhaswati is a Product Specialist at Capabiliti, a mobile-first training and engagement solution for enterprises. Passionate about economics, Bhaswati also loves storytelling. She has a keen interest in start-ups, food and travel. In her 'me time' she picks up fiction novels, tries different cuisines or explores routes to less-traveled places on the world map. Follow her @Bhaswatibh