14 Common Reasons Why Sales Training Fails

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Sales training is a cornerstone of any successful sales strategy. It’s the fuel that powers your sales engine, driving performance, boosting morale, and sharpening competitive edge.

However, not all sales training programs yield the desired outcomes. Sometimes, despite the best intentions and resources, sales training can fall short of expectations. 

According to a recent survey, 84% of all sales training is forgotten after 90 days.

But why is that? 

Let’s dive in.

The Importance of Effective Sales Training

When sales training is done correctly, it can be a game-changer.

It can transform your average Joe into a top performer and your top performer into a sales superstar.

According to a report effective sales training will improve the performance of an individual on average by 20%.

But there’s a catch: the magic only happens if the training is done right.

Here Are 14 Reasons Why Sales Training Can Fail

Despite all its potential benefits, sales training can sometimes fall flat. It’s like a rocket that’s all set to soar into the sky but fizzles out on the launchpad.

But why does this happen?

Why does sales training, with all its promise and potential, fail at times?

Reason 1: Absence of Defined Objectives

Imagine setting off on a journey without a clear destination.

You might enjoy the ride, but chances are, you’ll end up lost.

The same goes for sales training. Without clear objectives, it’s tough to design an effective program or measure its success.

Reason 2: Taking a Generic Approach

Every sales team is unique, with its own set of strengths, weaknesses, and challenges.

A one-size-fits-all approach to sales training often fails to address these individual needs.

It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole—it just doesn’t work.

Reason 3: Lack of Role-Playing

Role-playing is a crucial part of sales training.

It allows salespeople to practice their skills in a safe environment, receive feedback, and learn from their mistakes.

Not focusing enough on role-playing is like trying to learn to swim without ever getting in the water. 

It’s theoretically possible, but practically ineffective.

Reason 4: Overcrowding the Training Room

Training too many participants at once can dilute the effectiveness of the training.

This is because the instructor will not be able to give each participant the individual attention they need to learn effectively.

To avoid this, it is important to keep the number of participants in a training session small enough that the instructor can give each participant the individual attention they need.

This will help to ensure that all participants learn effectively and that the training is a success.

Reason 5: Focusing Too Much on Theory

Sales is a practical field. It’s about building relationships, understanding customer needs, and finding solutions to problems.

Training that leans too heavily on theory without practical workshops can fail to deliver.

It’s like trying to learn to drive by reading a manual—you need to get behind the wheel to truly understand how it works.

Reason 6: Ignoring Real-Life Scenarios

Training that does not incorporate real-life scenarios can fail to prepare salespeople for actual sales situations.

In a real-life sales situation, salespeople will have to deal with a variety of factors.

By incorporating real-life scenarios into training, salespeople can learn how to deal with these factors and improve their chances of success.

Some ways to incorporate real-life scenarios into training include:

  • Using a recent account as a case study
  • Roleplay
  • Pre Work
  • Applying the learnings to real-life opportunities during the workshop


By using these methods, salespeople can learn how to handle different sales situations and develop the skills they need to be successful.

Reason 7: Lack of Follow-Up and Reinforcement

Training is an ongoing process that should not end with the training session.

Without proper follow-up and reinforcement, the lessons learned can quickly fade.

This is why it is important to continue to practice and use the skills learned in training, even after the training session is over.

It is also important to choose a sales training company that offers reinforcement sessions, so that your team can retain the learnings.

Reason 8: Absence of Management Support

Without the backing and involvement of management, sales training initiatives can struggle to gain momentum.

This is because management is responsible for setting the tone and providing the resources necessary for training to be successful.

Without their support, it can be difficult to get employees to participate in training, and it can be even more difficult to ensure that the training is effective.

Reason 9: Overlooking Individual Learning Styles

Everyone learns differently.

Some people are visual learners, others learn best by doing, and some prefer to learn by listening.

Ignoring individual learning styles can make sales training less effective. It’s like trying to play a symphony with a single instrument—you need a variety of instruments to create a harmonious sound.

Reason 10: Inadequate Resources

Without the necessary resources, even the best-planned sales training program can falter.

Here are some of the resources that are important for a successful sales training program:

  • Time: It takes time to develop and deliver a quality sales training program. Make sure you have enough time to do it right.
  • Budget: Sales training can be expensive, so make sure you have a budget in place.
  • Tools: There are many tools that can help you deliver a successful sales training program, such as e-learning platforms, sales simulators, and sales coaching software. 
  • People: You need to have the right people in place to deliver your sales training program. This includes trainers, coaches, and support staff.
  • Process: You need to have a process in place for delivering your sales training program. This includes things like how you will select participants, how you will deliver the training, and how you will measure success.

If you don’t have the necessary resources, your sales training program is likely to fail.

So make sure you plan carefully and make sure you have the resources you need to succeed.

Reason 11: Setting Unrealistic Expectations

Setting unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment and demotivation, undermining the effectiveness of sales training.

To avoid setting unrealistic expectations, it is important to be clear about the goals of the sales training program and the realistic outcomes that participants can expect.

It is also important to provide participants with the support they need to achieve these goals.

Reason 12: Failure to Adapt to Market Changes

The sales landscape is constantly evolving.

New technologies, changing customer expectations, and shifting market dynamics can render old sales strategies obsolete.

According to this report by Taskdrive, sales teams willing to invest in technology for sales training and development are 57% more effective then their competitors.

Sales training that fails to adapt can quickly become outdated. It’s like trying to navigate a rapidly changing city with an old map—you’ll likely end up lost.

Reason 13: Lack of Measurement and Evaluation

Without proper measurement and evaluation, it is impossible to gauge the effectiveness of your sales training.

This is because you will not be able to determine whether or not your training is actually helping your sales team to close more deals.

There are a number of different ways to measure the effectiveness of your sales training, such as tracking the number of leads generated, the number of deals closed, and the average deal size.

By tracking these metrics, you can see how your sales training is impacting your bottom line.

Reason 14: Choosing Trainers with Irrelevant Sales Experience

Choosing trainers without relevant sales experience can hinder the success of your sales training.

Sales is an industry-specific field that requires an understanding of unique sales challenges, sales process, customer behaviors market trends etc

The trainer should have hands-on experience in sales who has done sales in their carrier as they will be in a better position to handle the participant’s objectives, correlate real-life scenarios and eventually better equipped to articulate the concepts.

Additionally, trainers without relevant experience may lack credibility, leading to skepticism and disengagement from the participants.

Conclusion

Sales training is a potent tool for boosting sales performance, but it’s not without its challenges.

By understanding these common pitfalls, you can ensure your sales training is as effective as possible.

Remember, the goal isn’t just to train your sales team—it’s to empower them to reach new heights of success.

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About the Author

Vinayak Bendigeri
Vinayak Bendigeri
Vinayak is a B2B sales professional with 10+ years of experience of working with large enterprises and startups in enhancing their sales performance.Please reach out to him at vinayak.b@salesprofit.in for any support on B2B sales.
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