12 Signs Your Sales Training Program Is Failing – and How to Avoid It

Have you ever implemented a sales training program and been disappointed with the results?

Maybe it looked something like this:

Symptoms of a Failing Sales Training Program

  1. The purpose of the sales training program is unclear, either to management or to participants (or both).
  2. Some or all of the salespeople don’t believe they need sales training.
  3. The training conflicts with the existing sales process.
  4. Training doesn’t use relevant examples, so salespeople aren’t sure how to apply it.
  5. Too much information is shared too quickly.
  6. The training is primarily instructor-led and doesn’t include role practicing.
  7. After the training, various people on the team apply different parts of the training with no consistency.
  8. Only the sales team participates in the sales training program, and when they go on sales calls with colleagues like sales support or management, the other participants unintentionally sabotage them.
  9. The team tried to apply what they learned in the training, but quickly went back to their old techniques.
  10. There isn’t a method for collecting feedback.
  11. There’s no method for evaluating whether the training is being applied.
  12. There aren’t metrics for measuring whether the training was successful.

What Can You Do About It?

We often see that sales training programs are applied in a cookie cutter format – not adapted for a specific sales team or process. Often, the decision to invest in a sales training program is made by an executive, and the team is not aligned with that decision. Goals for the program may not be clear to anyone involved, or may be different for various groups.

Instead, you can use some basic principles of change management to drive successful adoption of your sales training programs. Focus on key factors such as vision, goals, buy-in, culture, and measurement.

When you implement a sales training program carefully, using the principles of change management, you can see real growth that sticks.

To learn more about change management in sales improvement initiatives, check out my new eBook!

And I’d love to hear about your experiences with sales training programs in the comments.

Free eBook: A Simple 10 Step Change Management Process

By | 2016-10-04T11:51:09+00:00 October 4th, 2016|Sales Leaders|2 Comments

About the Author:

Elizabeth is CFS's Operations Officer and Senior Advisor and is the Product Manager for the Criteria for Success Sales PlayBook. She writes about sales leadership, management, teamwork, motivation, and process based on her work with CFS's clients. Elizabeth also hosts the CFS roundtable discussion episodes of the Let's Talk Sales podcast.


  1. Barry Hall October 4, 2016 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    Great post Elizabeth many thanks for sharing it with me.
    Best regards

    • Elizabeth Frederick October 4, 2016 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Barry! It’s been fun exploring change management.

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