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Briah Handa Oakley19.03.20235 min read

What is Sales Skills Training? The Ultimate Guide for L&D Managers

With as much as half of a company’s value creation resting with the sales force, it's no wonder that sales skills training is top of mind for L&D managers today. But as the sales landscape continues to be unpredictable, establishing a systematic approach to sales skills training has become much harder.

Despite the fact that successful sales coaching programs increased average deal size, sales activity, win rates, and new leads by 25%-40%, most L&D managers still aren't applying a sales-specific approach to sales skills training, and thus, sales teams are missing out on growing their full potential.

In this article, we give you the full rundown of what soft skills training is, and how you can level up your sales teams skills in the 


What's In This Post?

  1. What are the top sales skills training topics?
  2. What should sales training include?
  3. Soft skills training for employees
  4. Soft skills training for managers


What are the top sales skills training topics?

Interest in sales skills training has grown tremendously. As the global economy has become more competitive, companies have recognized that investing in sales skills training is no longer an option, but a necessity. But what are the top sales skills training topics to prioritize?

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1. Pipeline management 

A well-managed pipeline ensures that sales reps are focused on the right prospects, at the right time, with the right message. This enables reps to identify and pursue the most promising opportunities while avoiding wasted effort on prospects that are unlikely to convert.

In fact, pipeline management is the sales skill with the biggest difference between high and low-performing sales representatives. 

By understanding where each prospect is in the sales process, reps can tailor their approach and messaging accordingly. This can help build stronger relationships with prospects and increase the likelihood of closing deals.


2. Identifying customer needs

LinkedIn's study based on surveys of more than 7,500 buyers and sellers around the globe found that 43% of buyers find it's an "immediate deal breaker" when sellers don't understand their company and its needs.

Identifying customer needs is a critical sales skill that can make or break a salesperson's success in today's competitive business landscape. By understanding the unique needs and pain points of their customers, salespeople can develop targeted solutions that address their customers' specific challenges, building stronger relationships and ultimately driving revenue growth.

One of the key benefits of mastering the skill of identifying customer needs is the ability to develop tailored sales pitches that resonate with customers. By taking the time to understand their customers' needs and pain points, salespeople can develop targeted messaging that speaks directly to those concerns, making it more likely that customers will be receptive to their message and ultimately more likely to make a purchase.

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3. Managing objections

"It's too expensive", "I've never heard of your company", I don't see how this can help me", "It isn't important for me right now."

Objections are a natural part of the sales process, but that doesn't mean it always gets easier. But it can be the make or break of building strong relationships between sales reps and clients.

Managing objections is one of the most critical sales skills that salespeople need to master to succeed in the highly competitive business environment of today - it helps salespeople navigate the often-challenging sales process, overcome customer resistance, and ultimately close more deals.

One of the most significant benefits of mastering the skill of managing objections is the ability to build stronger relationships with customers. By effectively addressing customer concerns and objections, salespeople can demonstrate their expertise, build trust, and establish credibility. This, in turn, can help to foster more open and productive relationships, leading to more sales in the future.

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What should sales training include?

Despite sales skills training budgets increasing every year, 45% of companies only cover two to five training topics with their sales professionals. A good sales skills training is one that includes a variety of topics and skills that help salespeople succeed in their roles, that engages learners and motivates them. 

Retorio's Behavioral Intelligence platform is a video-powered training platform helping L&D managers around the globe develop the talent they need to excel at sales growth. Retorio's sales skills training includes: 

  • AI-video-powered training modules where sales trainees can practice real-life client scenarios
  • Tailored feedback for sales trainees on their performance
  • Suggestions for further sales skills training modules based on results
  •  Personalized learning paths for sales reps 

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Soft skills training for employees

The way work gets done is evolving rapidly. Soft skills are the building blocks for facilitating fluid and efficient communication within a workforce. Particularly in a sales environment, where communication, relationships, and presenting your organization in a positive way to the public and potential employees is a priority, companies are recognizing more and more that soft skills are in fact irreplaceable and need to be focussed on developing. 

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Soft skills training for managers

Just like how soft skills are the building blocks for facilitating fluid relationships between sales reps and clients, the same goes for managers and employees.

Picture this... you have a manager who always talks over the other employees during meetings, interrupts them, and dismisses their ideas without giving them a chance to express themselves fully. They're quick to criticize and blame their employees for mistakes, rather than working collaboratively to find solutions. They don't take the time to listen to their employees' concerns or feedback and tend to be dismissive or defensive when confronted with criticism.

Soft skills are particularly important for managers who need to lead and motivate teams, resolve conflicts, and communicate effectively with people at all levels of the organization.

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1. What is sales skills training?

Sales skills training involves equipping sales professionals with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes to perform their roles effectively. It typically involves a structured approach that includes coaching, feedback, and continuous improvement over time. The ultimate goal is to improve sales performance both in the short term and the long term, by making positive changes to the behaviors and habits of the sales team. By following a coaching playbook and engaging in regular one-on-one or group conversations, sales professionals can improve their sales skills and develop best practices that become automatic over time.


2. How do you train sales skills?

There are many different training methods to help train sales representatives and close skill gaps. From workshops and seminars to e-learning platforms to video-coaching and AI. 

Luckily today, we can harness A.I. technology to make personalized learning available for sales reps that is scalable and allows sales reps globally to train their sales skills wherever they are, whenever they want.

Analytics can devise training curricula based on the trainee’s specific needs, help carve out customized learning paths for the learners, as well as give highly personalized feedback to each employee.


Briah Handa Oakley

I work as part of the marketing team at Retorio, conducting in-depth content strategy at the intersection between artificial intelligence and L&D. I cover emerging technology and the latest advancements in AI technology and ultimately fuse technical knowledge with storytelling skills.