Sales Manager Training 101: Turning Wannabe Bosses into True Leaders
Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
If you're in sales management, you probably make more money than you did as a regular sales rep. You also have killer health insurance, and work from a private office.
But you also deal with more pressure. Your sales team looks to you for motivation and guidance—and if you don't provide it, your entire department will underperform.
Effective sales leadership requires a specific skill set. First you need to understand your target market and identify the best ways to close deals. Then you need to use this knowledge to develop sales strategies, analyze sales performance, and coach salespeople.
Oh, and there's the human element, too. As a sales manager, it's your job to inspire your subordinates to greater success, while resolving conflicts between them.
Despite these challenges, top sales reps almost always want a crack at sales management. Fortunately, there are lots of quality resources to help them out.
Keep reading to learn about eight fantastic sales manager training courses, so that you can build up the next generation of sales leaders at your company.
The Importance of Sales Management Training
Most sales managers start out as sales reps.
Over time, said reps learn about their industry and target customers, develop their selling skills, and build professional relationships. Then one day—BOOM!—a promotion offer.
There's nothing wrong with this approach, except for the fact that only 20 percent of organizations invest in sales leadership training. The result? Stellar sales reps are thrust into sales management roles they're not prepared for, and their companies suffer for it.
As mentioned earlier, sales management requires a unique set of skills.
Sales managers aren't asked to prospect for leads, make cold calls, or host sales meetings with potential customers. They aren't asked to close deals either. Instead, sales managers devise sales strategies, motivate and coach reps, and analyze sales metrics. This rings especially true in the context of maximizing total contract value, a concept that hinges on strategic planning and nurturing long-term customer relationships.
The only way for new sales managers to succeed is (1) to receive sales management training, or (2) be given freedom to learn on the job. The first option is strongly preferred.
The 8 Best Sales Management Training Programs
Sales leadership training is (obviously) beneficial. The question is, which programs are worth your time and effort? I've put together a list of eight rock-solid courses for you to consider. Each one will teach your wannabe bosses the core competencies they need to manage a sales team.
1. The High-Impact Sales Manager
The High-Impact Sales Manager course gives learners a "complete framework, essential skills, and practical tools to build, coach, and lead a high-performing sales team." That's a bold claim—can it actually deliver? Actually, yes. The course includes five modules that pertain to recruitment, leadership, sales coaching, and managing sales pipelines. And each module is taught in an easy-to-understand way that creates lasting behavioral change.
- Attend live and interactive online workshops, taught by engaging instructors.
- Learn the ins-and-outs of sales management, from hiring reps to sales forecasting.
- Enjoy practical lessons that are designed to be immediately actionable.
- The High-Impact Sales Manager is an online sales course. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but students who prefer in-person learning should consider a different program.
- While not overly expensive, The High-Impact Sales Manager course isn't cheap either. Learners on a tight budget might not be able to afford this comprehensive training.
Course Pricing: $795 per year
Time Commitment: N/A
2. Explore a Career as a Sales Manager
Explore a Career as a Sales Manager from LinkedIn is really five courses in one. The first course teaches sales management foundations. The second helps learners make the transition from sales rep to sales manager. The third builds empathy for sales professionals. The fourth teaches new sales managers how to measure performance. And the fifth course deals with sales rep motivations. All in all, this sales management training program is a solid option—especially for budget-conscious learners who already subscribe to LinkedIn Learning.
- Build sales management skills without spending a fortune on education.
- Tackle various topics, such as new rep onboarding and employee motivation.
- Earn completion badges once every module in the course has been viewed.
- Students can only access course content if they subscribe to LinkedIn Learning.
- The training isn't as extensive as other sales management courses on this list.
Course Pricing: $19.99+ per month
Time Commitment: 5 hours
3. Catalyst by ASLAN Training
Catalyst by ASLAN Training takes a different approach to sales management. Stop relying on incentive plans, training classes, and performance scorecards to change rep behavior. Instead, focus on the three drivers that ASLAN Training teaches: desire, productivity, and capability. Doing so will help you better motivate and manage your team. Skeptical? Don't be. Professionals at major corporations like Aflac and HP are students.
- Go beyond sales management skills and learn important leadership techniques.
- Become a master of time management and get more done than ever before.
- Work with certified ASLAN consultants to gain feedback and sharpen abilities.
- The Catalyst course from ASLAN is a serious commitment. It includes pre-work, extensive workshop content, and a post-class certification process. This can be a good thing, however, assuming students have enough time to dedicate to the program.
Course Pricing: Contact ASLAN for pricing
Time Commitment: Two full days of training (plus pre and post-class work)
4. 3D Sales Management
Next up, 3D Sales Management, an exhaustive course that teaches students how to effectively lead a sales team—regardless of which sales methodology they use. The training starts with an assessment to gauge each individual learner's skills. It then tackles a range of topics, like hiring new reps, managing pipelines, and forecasting results.
- Attend 3D Sales management online or in-person.
- Receive pre and post-class material to get the most benefit out of the course.
- Learn the hard and soft skills necessary to lead a thriving sales department.
- As far as I know, 3D Sales Management can only be purchased via annual subscription. Students looking to rewatch lessons throughout their careers as sales managers will end up paying way more money for the information in this course.
Course Pricing: Contact Imparta for pricing
Time Commitment: Up to 10.5 days of instructor-led content
5. RAIN Sales Management
According to the RAIN Group, sellers with less than five years of experience are 240 percent more likely to achieve top-seller status if they have an effective sales manager. And top-performers are 71 percent more likely to have a manager that excels at motivation. The RAIN Sales Management course teaches students to be that kind of manager. Enroll to learn how to host stellar sales meetings, manage a pipeline, and otherwise facilitate business development.
- Attend instructor-led sales management classes in-person or online.
- Learn sales management techniques that are based on two decades of research.
- Break down training regimens into user-friendly modules that include additional resources.
- Like several of the other courses, RAIN Sales Management requires a monthly subscription. This means that students never own the content.
Course Pricing: $199 a month
Time Commitment: 6 weeks (recommended)
6. Sales Management Training by HubSpot
The Sales Management Training course by HubSpot is perfect for cash-strapped professionals. Or, just people who want to learn about sales management, but aren't ready to commit to a career change. Why? Because this course is packed with information—and it’s free! Sign up to learn essential skills like defining a target market, creating a scalable sales process, building training programs for sales reps, and much more.
- Learn the fundamentals of sales management for exactly zero dollars.
- Access the on-demand course content on any internet-capable device.
- Receive a certificate upon completion of the course, and an exit exam.
- HubSpot's Sales Management Training is a great resource, but it's not nearly as extensive as the other programs on this list. Some students will want more.
Course Pricing: Free!
Time Commitment: 4+ hours
7. Sales Force Management Mastery Training
The Sales Force Management Mastery course will teach students to "develop advanced leadership skills and watch [their] team consistently exceed targets." How? By helping students understand their natural leadership types: how to hire the right employees, how to motivate, engage, and coach their sales reps, and how to track key sales metrics. Sign up to join professionals from major brands like Spotify, Quickbooks, and Salesforce.
- Choose to attend classes live and in-person, live and online, or on-demand.
- Receive sales manager training in a host of different languages.
- Access workbooks, post-training content, and other materials that reinforce learning.
- This course puts the focus on leadership skills, which is great. But it doesn't touch on more practical information like how to manage a sales pipeline.
Course Pricing: Contact SOCO for pricing
Time Commitment: One to two days of training
8. Sales Management Training by Sandler
The Sandler Selling System is well-known in sales circles. So, you can trust that the Sales Management Training course by Sandler is top quality. Students learn to recruit and hire top sales candidates, understand and communicate with sales reps, train and evaluate rep performance, and delegate and manage one's time.
- Learn essential sales management skills from a well-respected name in the industry.
- Receive relevant information based on company size (enterprise, scaling company, individual).
- Enjoy ongoing support throughout your entire career as a sales manager (if desired).
- The Sandler website is a bit vague. It tells visitors what the class teaches, but doesn't really address how the lessons are taught. For greater detail, contact Sandler directly.
Course Pricing: Contact Sandler for pricing
Time Commitment: N/A
Key Components of Successful Sales Management Training
There are tons of sales management courses available online. And many of them are a waste of time and money. Before you buy a new training program, make sure it includes topics related to:
Developing Leadership Skills
Closing deals and managing sales teams require very different skill sets. This is why former sales reps—even the best ones—often struggle to adapt to their new roles.
One of the key differences between sales rep and sales manager roles has to do with responsibility. Reps are responsible for themselves. Managers are responsible for every rep under their command. As such, success as a sales manager requires strong leadership skills.
When researching sales management training, look for courses that teach leadership.
Knowing how to study markets, build sales plans, and evaluate sales metrics is important. But none of it matters if the manager in question can't earn the respect and loyalty of their team.
Building a Sales Process
Yes, leadership abilities are essential. But sales managers still need practical skills, like evaluating markets, monitoring competitors, and implementing sales strategies.
Any sales manager training worth its salt will teach how to build an effective sales process, from prospecting tactics to deal-closing techniques.
The course(s) you invest in should also include information about the tools sales managers use, such as CRM software, email marketing platforms, and/or sales enablement solutions. That way, students can have a general idea of their purpose and function before they’re asked to integrate them into their company's sales process.
Communicating with Reps
Fact: Great sales managers have top-shelf communication skills.
Sales leaders need to communicate the vision of their sales organization in clear, concise ways. They need to deliver quotas, motivation, and coaching effectively, too.
Because of this, the course(s) you purchase should teach the fundamentals of sales communication, such as active listening, expectation setting, and giving feedback.
In a similar vein, the course(s) you choose should teach relevant coaching skills. Sales managers need to guide their reps to greater success. The only way to do this is to deliver personal feedback on a regular basis, which again, requires strong communication.
Resolving Team Conflicts
Sales professionals are human. Which means they often irritate their colleagues.
Team members might argue over leads. Or who can close more deals. Or why one rep's yogurt disappeared from the breakroom fridge when it was clearly labeled.
Sales managers need to resolve these conflicts. The course(s) you buy should teach how. That way, your reps aren't distracted by grievances and can consistently reach their sales goals.
Analyzing Key Metrics
Last but not least, a quality sales manager training course will teach students how to collect and analyze key metrics, so they can better gauge individual rep and team performance.
Who are the department's top performers? And what do they do differently than the other reps? What's the team's overall conversion rate? And can you pinpoint ways to improve it? What can the team do better to impact the company's bottom line?
The best sales managers can look at data, then use it to make informed decisions that lead to better sales results. Choose a class that teaches these skills.
Train up Sales Leaders = Secure Your Future
Successful sales managers possess particular skill sets.
Fortunately, these sales manager training courses will teach those skills to you—or to the ambitious sales rep who won't stop asking for an opportunity to level up.
So, what are you waiting for? Research the courses above. Then, pull the trigger and use your investment to build up a new generation of sales leaders. Doing so will help you create a high-powered department that reaches new levels of sales success.
Oh, and if you’re looking to get your hands on an all-in-one CRM to support your growing sales team, try Close with a 14-day free trial. Our platform even offers built-in rep coaching and leaderboards, to support your long and prosperous sales management career.