5 Essential Topics for Effective Sales Management Training

BY C. Lee Smith
Featured image for “5 Essential Topics for Effective Sales Management Training”

Did you know that only 53% of sales managers believe their formal training prepared them for their first sales manager job? To improve performance and confidence, make sure your program includes these 5 topics for sales management training:

  1. Time management and focusing on priorities
  2. Understanding rep motivation
  3. Understanding different communication styles
  4. Acing sales forecasting
  5. Hire the next rainmaker

Sales Training Topics — Time Management

When reps move into a management role, they may be very good at managing their own time. But when others report to them, time management takes on new meaning. If sales managers don’t complete specific tasks on time, they could be holding up the entire department. Prioritizing workflow is a key element to successful time management.

If you find yourself constantly scrambling to meet everyone’s requests, set aside time to get control of the workflow schedule. Decide which tasks to delegate to someone else on the team. And then schedule time on your calendar to anticipate what needs to be done on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

There will always be emergencies. Managers must be available to help reps in these situations. Because of that need, your sales management training topics should include helping new managers learn how to establish a buffer in the daily schedule to keep from getting overwhelmed.

Understanding Rep Motivation

Sales manager Training Topics — Motivation

If you are motivated by the money you can make in the sales profession, you might assume your reps are too. And you may remind them frequently to make more calls so they can close more deals. After all, they want to buy the sportscar they’ve been eyeing. Who can blame managers from using money to motivate reps as one of their favorite sales training topics? 

A more effective way to get reps engaged in meeting their goals is to understand what motivates them. Use that information to develop compensation packages, reward programs, and special projects. Your sales management training topics should cover how to motivate reps.

Some sales reps are more motivated by the opportunity to be creative instead of being in charge. Does your sales manager training topics program take that detail into account? You can learn these details by asking your reps to take a sales skills assessment that reveals motivational tendencies. If one of your reps scores high on creativity in the assessment, they may be especially interested in contributing to a project that involves redesigning presentation templates. They may also improve their outcomes if you give them permission to be more creative when developing a proposal for a key account. Their creative thinking may result in a change that benefits the entire department. Don't underestimate the value of motivation when you are developing your sales training topics.

Understanding Different Communication Styles

Each employee brings a unique set of behaviors into the workplace. And their responses to workplace happenings, such as losing out on a promotion or being reminded to pay attention to detail, are unique. The more a manager understands about each team member’s behavioral tendencies, along with their own, the better they will be able to communicate. If the manager and the rep both tend to have an aggressive and take-​charge work style, they could clash in some situations. These clashes serve as an important reminder of why sales training topics should incorporate discussions on various communication styles.

Sales Manager Training Topics — Communication

To be effective, sales management training topics should include a module on learning how to communicate with each team member. Practice sessions, especially in the form of questions and answers, can reinforce these concepts. When managers know how to use the results of a sales competency assessment, they’ll realize that some team members will react harshly when they are accused of doing something wrong. Another team member might be very calm in that situation and ask for specific examples.

Acing Sales Forecasting

Did you know that the typical sales manager spends more time trying to forecast than on coaching their reps? Sales managers know the organization is counting on them to deliver the numbers they commit to. Unless you include forecasting as one of your sales training topics, some managers will find that coming up with solid projections for the entire department is an overwhelming task. 

Each business and industry will have unique rhythms to the sales cycle. When reviewing how to develop a forecast, sales managers should learn how to incorporate those unique elements into their numbers. Your sales manager training topics should spell out how to take a “more consistent approach by implementing a formal cadence for forecast review.” A weekly review with the team that involves tracking where deals are in the pipeline and how quickly they are moving, gives sales managers assurance. They’ll have more confidence in the updates they give to company leaders.

Hiring Your Next Rainmaker

Your new sales manager may have little to no experience in hiring. The process includes writing a job description, posting recruitment ads and notices, and reviewing resumes. Sales manager training topics should include developing this crucial skill. Your sales managers must learn what questions are legal to ask during an interview. And if your organization has stated a commitment to specific diversity, equity and inclusion goals, your sales training topics should spell out how managers can take specific steps to meet these goals during the hiring process. Above all else, ensure that your manager doesn’t fill the department with “mini-​mes.” Make a sales skills assessment platform available to your sales managers and require them to use it.

Sales Management Training Topics

A good sales manager training program covers the topics these employees need to succeed. When you are putting together your sales management training topics, remember the five items we've listed here.