Top 5 Sales Management Training Programs
There’s a lot that goes into being a sales manager. You’ve got to balance your sales team, your own sales goals, your key performance indicators (KPIs), your future growth plans, and more…all while managing your self-control and steering clear of the break room brownie plate.
Yup—being a sales manager is a lot like being a juggler. And the best way to make juggling easier is to learn the tricks that go into keeping all those balls in the air.
While you could take an actual juggler training course (I bet that’d be a great team-building exercise!), what I’d recommend is diving into sales management training courses. Training programs can help you implement new sales methods, understand new technologies and bring fresh insight to your sales team each and every day.
Today, you’re getting a quick tour of the best sales management training programs. Every program here is recognized for its excellence and is great for managers and experienced sales reps who want to take their game to the next level.
Before we get into that, though, let’s take a quick look at what sales management is, what’s expected of a manager, the best leadership skills to cultivate, and how to identify a good training program.
Then, we’ll discuss specific programs that can help you catapult your success – as well as your team’s.
What is Sales Management?
Sales management is the process of organizing your sales department to bring a clear strategy to your efforts, helping salespeople meet their sales performance goals, and driving growth across the company.
Because sales directly drives the profit of most companies, you must create an environment in which team members know what to do. Sales management, therefore, includes:
- Setting clear goals and expectations for individual salespeople and the department as a whole
- Capturing leads and driving them toward the sales funnel
- Setting KPIs and tracking their performance
- Automating your sales team processes to save time and increase conversions
A solid sales management system is critical for meeting all these objectives. If you do not have a good customer relationship management system (CRM) in which to keep all your contacts organized and to help you set and meet goals, you’re unlikely to succeed. That too is the job of the sales manager.
It’s also important to measure and refine the sales management process over time. While sales organizations can take many forms, not all forms will work equally well for your industry, niche, business size, B2B customers, location, or other factors. Keep track of successes and failures, and keep experimenting.
So whose job is it to make sure this all happens? Why, the manager’s, of course.
If you're a sales manager, you need to consider utilizing powerful tools like CRM to streamline your team's workflow and drive productivity. Check out our article on the "Best CRMs for Sales Managers" to discover the top solutions tailored to your needs.
The Sales Manager Role Defined
Sales managers oversee all the people in their departments or, if the department is broken into many smaller teams, all the people on their teams. They hire, train, and oversee the work that individual sales reps do. They take stock of the total leads, prospects, opportunities, clients, and customers.
They’re also responsible for setting the goals and expectations discussed above, as well as gathering the data needed to measure the success of each objective. On a daily basis, they may interact with their own clients, their team members, and the top brass. They create weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports. When someone is responsible for conveying this information to higher-ups, it’s often the sales manager who will do it.
As you can see, the sales management job description isn’t for the faint of heart. Managers need excellent leadership skills – and a wide range of them, too.
Hey you! Elevate your game with these proven sales manager training methods–see my article.
Leadership Skills Needed for Effective Sales Department Management
If you’re wondering “why sales management training?,” the simplest answer is: because it delivers the leadership skills you need to rule your roost. (Benevolently, of course.)
The truth is, people aren’t always born with these skills. That’s okay, because there are ways to cultivate them. In fact, sales managers should train continually when running a sales team. Not only are these skills necessary additions to your toolkit, but it’s important to lead by example, and self-education is no exception.
So which skills should you strive to attain, and how does this benefit the department and organization overall? Let’s take a look.
- Define the sales process: One of the most important selling skills for great sales managers to acquire is the ability to define the sales process. That means knowing your targets, making a plan to get there, and defining that for everyone else.
- Implement sales enablement: How do you make sure your team can sell? With the right sales resources, coaching, and expectation-setting. Together, these enable you to implement great sales projects and meet your goals.
- Lead the hiring process: From using LinkedIn to calling on recruiters, hiring is tough. Sales managers are instrumental to its success, though, which means this is a skill you must cultivate.
- Maintain sales pipeline ownership: You, not your team, are ultimately responsible for filling the pipeline and ensuring it stays full. Managing the sales pipeline—which includes keeping it full of hot leads, measuring the effectiveness of each stage, and analyzing essential pipeline metrics—is on you.
- Reward top sales performers: The best sales managers routinely reward their top performers. This serves not only as a motivational tool for those top performers but as an inspiration for everyone else. Knowing which sales incentives are appropriate, how often to award them, and what to budget toward them are important leadership qualities. (Note that you should reward the performance of the entire team as well!)
- Plan creative sales strategies: Sales forecasting will help you create and execute the best strategies, but it’s only by thinking outside the box that you can truly rocket into the stratosphere. Once you become a manager, you need to learn to think more creatively, which is where sales courses come in.
- Monitor and refine sales calls: Your sales results are largely dependent on calls, whether we’re talking cold calls, warm calls or traditional in-office visits. Running effective call reviews and and using metrics to help your team improve are baseline leadership skills you need to have – or get soon.
What to Look For in a Good Sales Management Training Program
Sales coaching programs are a dime a dozen these days. On the one hand, it’s great that the internet provides such a wealth of content. On the other hand, that means it is significantly harder for sales leaders to separate the wheat from the chaff.
If you want to learn the best sales management skills and competencies from real gurus, you need to know what to look for. Here are several of the most important characteristics for your search.
If you’re tempted to say “duh” here, wait a minute. The truth is, lots of supposed sales management training programs tell you how to sell, but they forget to tell you how to manage the sellers. Make sure whatever program you choose has a specific leadership bent. You are already a great salesperson or you wouldn’t have landed the manager role, right? So look for those competencies that will help you captain your ship more effectively.
Performance Management Strategies
If you want to keep your team on the path to landing prospects and closing deals, you need to take the right approach. Setting a direction for your sales staff is one of the most important performance management strategies for winning teams, including such skills as motivating them remotely and helping them practice transparency. Moreover, you need to learn to communicate with your team, track their progress, and respond to their performance for good or ill.
Sales organization means putting all your ducks in a row so you can set expectations, generate leads, turn them into prospects, close deals, manage your team, motivate and monitor them, and report back to the company. It’s a lot, and you need to learn to juggle. Luckily, a good customer relationship management system (CRM) can help!
Proven Sales Methodologies
What works when it comes to motivating others to sell? To giving performance reviews? To pivoting when a sales strategy doesn’t pan out? To leading meetings? Or simply to using the most cutting-edge sales methodologies? Excellent questions all. Your training course should include the latest sales techniques as well as how to impart them to others.
Instructor-Led Coaching Techniques
There’s a world of difference between reading something on paper or screen and practicing it yourself. If you want to get better at the cold call or the sales meeting, you need to learn by doing it and getting critiqued. The same is true if you want to practice critiquing someone else, which is where instructor-led coaching comes in. Successful sales management is all about gently leading your team, and an instructor can help you hone those skills in a way simple online modules cannot.
Of course, this isn’t meant to imply that you cannot learn important skills from courses that don’t come with a live instructor. However, you should look for training that includes video lectures that feature a real person demonstrating those techniques. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all, so surely a video is worth, like, a million?
Top 5 Sales Management Training Programs
Alright—it’s time to deliver on our promise. The following five management training programs have been vetted by the Close team and shown to be effective in creating highly successful sales managers.
RAIN Sales Management Training
Best for: Sales reps and managers who are looking for extensive training
The RAIN sales management training believes in one foundational truth: that the manager is instrumental to the success of the sales force. RAIN Group offers tons of training programs, with courses available via onsite instructor-led training and/or virtual classes.
In the RAIN Sales Management training course, specifically, you’ll learn how to…
- Lead exceptional sales team meetings
- Hone your sales forecasting and pipeline management skills
- Interview and hire top sales performers
- Keep reps motivated and energized to exceed their sales targets
Information on the length, pricing and certifications earned from RAIN Group’s Sales Management Training course are all available during a one-on-one consultation.
Kellogg Mastering Sales Course
Best for: Sales managers and highly successful sales representatives
The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has an awesome reputation for a reason. They’re really good at what they do, and the Kellogg Mastering Sales Course can ensure you, and your sales professionals, are too.
In this course, you’ll learn how to…
- Use proven techniques used by effective salespeople, based on direct experience and first-hand research
- Recruit, train, build, and manage a high-performing sales team
- Utilize more than 30 different tools across each stage of the sales process, from preparation, to contact, to scaling
- Complete a personalized skills assessment and create a roadmap for continued growth and professional success
Length: 10 weeks
Certification Earned: Certification of Completion from Kellogg School of Management for Mastering Sales
HubSpot Sales Management Certification
Best for: New Sales Managers / Representatives who have been promoted to Sales Management
HubSpot is both good at account management and at teaching others how to do it. Their Certification for Developing a Successful Modern Sales Team can provide a wealth of information for sales managers–especially for salespeople who’ve recently been promoted to management.
In this course, you’ll learn how to…
- Define your own successful sales process, and how to communicate it effectively to your team.
- Create sales training, coaching, and onboarding programs for your sales team.
- Develop a recruiting and hiring strategy to use when growing your team.
Length: Self-guided over 3 hours, 19 minutes
Certification Earned: HubSpot Academy Certificate of Completion for Developing a Successful Modern Sales Team
LinkedIn Sales Management Modules
Best for: Sales reps and managers of any level who want to keep learning forever
It’s no surprise that LinkedIn has its own sales coaching arm. This consummately professional social media platform offers LinkedIn sales management learning modules that put sales leadership at the forefront.
With more than 25 different self-paced courses currently available–and more being added all the time–you can brush up on everything related to sales management. Start with foundational courses covering basic sales management and operational processes, learn how to write your own sales playbook, become a motivational leader/coach to your reps, and even learn how to break bad habits and work on instilling better ones.
Length: Course lengths vary, with most falling between roughly 30 minutes and 1.5 hours.
Pricing: LinkedIn Learning courses can be purchased individually (price varies by course), or are available free of charge to learners with a LinkedIn Premium subscription.
Certification Earned: LinkedIn Learning Certificate of Completion for each course completed. Some courses may also offer industry-recognized CEUs.
Seismic Learning and Coaching Software
Best for: Organizations or executives that want to create and implement their own personalized training solutions.
Seismic is a sales enablement solution that integrates with your CRM, providing all of the tools your reps need to do their jobs, all in one place. Additionally, Seismic’s Learning and Coaching software claims to have your reps trained and on the phones 62 percent faster than your standard onboarding procedure.
Let us be clear– Seismic does not offer a standard Sales Certification program. Instead, it allows you to develop your own training modules, specific to your organization and workflows. You can teach new reps exactly what they need to know to use your software and follow your processes, and nothing else. Incorporate role-playing and video recordings, link to scripts and sales resources, and more, all within your own CRM and tech stack.
Length: As short or as long as you make it.
Pricing: Varies based on your needs and usage.
Certification Earned: Your own custom certifications.
Put Sales Management Training into Practice
At the end of the day, sales managers are required to meet a daunting array of challenges in their daily lives. They need oodles of skills to do the job right, on top of cultivating the deep well of energy needed to impart those skills to others.
Having the right tools on hand also helps a sales manager perform optimally and removes a lot of the stress from the job. Close CRM is one such tool, a powerful all-in-one system on which you can lean to streamline your workflows and encourage your team’s success. Close can help sales managers to:
- Set KPIs and collect data
- Build a customized pipeline with clear stages and steps for sales reps
- Create reports to identify bottlenecks and blockages
- Automate sales sequences and touchpoints
- Create more effective call training protocols with integrated Call Coaching
Bottom line? Close is here to help.