Marketing and sales training

A group of business people attending a marketing and sales training sessionMarketing and sales training can deliver significant business benefits. Training your employees in better sales technique, customer service skills and marketing expertise helps boost sales and improve customer satisfaction

Marketing and sales training needs

Identifying your employees' sales and marketing training needs will help ensure that your training budget is spent effectively.

  1. Review your overall business strategy and how marketing can contribute. For example, whether the business aims to maximise short-term sales and profits, or to develop long-term customer relationships.
  2. Set measurable objectives and standards. For example, how many new prospects you need to contact each month and what proportion convert into customers. Or standards for customer service, and measures of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  3. Measure how well you are achieving your objectives. Get feedback from customers, for example by using customer satisfaction surveys and following up with customers who stop buying from you.
  4. Identify weaknesses in the performance of different team members, or the business overall, to highlight training needs. For example:
    • poor sales performance might point to lack of selling technique;
    • shrinking margins might indicate weak negotiation skills;
    • low levels of repeat business suggest a need for customer service training.
  5. Decide what training is required. This might include:

As well as helping develop new skills, training courses can help motivate and reinvigorate jaded employees.

Sales and marketing training options

A marketing training plan should be part of the way you manage employees from the outset. Start with a well-planned induction programme for new employees.

Practical training can be an important part of building skills, particularly in areas such as sales. Options can include:

  • role play exercises;
  • accompanying employees on sales calls;
  • debriefing employees thoroughly after successful or unsuccessful activities.

If you lack the skills or resources within your business, you might want to bring in a sales coach or marketing consultant to help develop marketing and sales skills. Other options include a wide range of training workshops, seminars and online training.

Marketing specialists may need a planned training and development programme, as part of the continuous professional development (CPD) requirements of a formal marketing qualification.

Leading marketing associations typically offer marketing training, either directly or through approved providers. Sources of information include the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Market Research Society and the Institute of Direct Marketing. Your trade association may also offer marketing training relevant to your sector.

As with any form of training, you should look for reputable suppliers offering training courses with a record of delivering results. Look for recommendations from business contacts and trainers with appropriate marketing qualifications and accreditation.

Check any potential training provider:

  • is properly accredited;
  • can help you assess your training needs;
  • offers training in the marketing skills you or your employees require;
  • pitches the training at the right level;
  • offers training at a convenient time and location, and in a form that suits you;
  • can provide standardised or tailor-made courses designed to match your specific requirements.

Ideally, the training provider should have experience of your industry and of working with businesses of a similar size. Specialist training providers are more likely to understand the particular challenges facing your kind of business, and to be up to date with relevant industry trends and regulations.

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