Sales Trainer Job Description
A sales trainer is a person who trains salespeople how to negotiate with prospects and close sales. It is the job of a sales trainer to help sales reps improve their skills and knowledge.
They do this by identifying skills gaps in a company’s sales team and designing teaching materials and programs to close those gaps. Basically, they help salespeople get better at selling.
Sales training specialists educate employees on basic selling skills and conduct refresher courses and seminars to help experienced salespeople stay on top of trends and new technologies.
It is also the responsibility of a sales trainer to monitor feedback and evaluate the performance of the sales team to identify areas of improvement.
As a sales trainer, you may be hired by a company to work as part of its human resources or sales department. Or, you can work for a company that offers professional sales training services to independent companies, which means you could be training sales reps at company X this month and another sales team from company Y next month.
Sales Trainer Responsibilities
Different sales training positions will likely come with unique responsibilities. In general, though, the responsibilities are the same. Here are some that you should expect whatever the sales training job title you have:
- Meeting with sales managers to discuss results and develop training plans.
- Maintaining sales training materials, such as brochures, handbooks, manuals, cheat sheets, etc.
- Facilitating one-on-one training sessions for employees to enhance their sales skills.
- Develop and implement sales training programs to familiarize new hires with the company’s products and services.
- Collecting employee performance feedback to expose areas that need improvement,
- Developing training manuals to be used by new hires and updating existing manuals as needed,
- Maintaining records of training activities, including dates and topics covered and participants,
- Analyzing data to identify trends in sales reports and using them to improve sales performance.
Sales trainers may also be responsible for evaluating the effectiveness of training programs through observation, assessments, or other evaluations.
To train others effectively, sales trainers must have a deep understanding and appreciation of sales techniques. This knowledge must be communicated clearly to enable salespeople to understand how to apply it in real-world situations.
Your next question may be, can I earn enough to retire on working as a sales trainer? Or simply:
How Much Does a Sales Trainer Make?
The salary of a sales trainer varies based on education, experience, and company size. Sales trainers may also receive a commission and a bonus.
The average salary for a sales manager is $72,500. However, the top 10% of managers can earn more than $113,000, while the lowest 10% of employees can make as little as $43,000.
The demand for salespeople is on the rise and is projected to grow by 10% by 2026. The demand for good professional sales trainers should grow with it.
As more sales organizations realize the value of having well-trained salespeople, the demand for more qualified, experienced, and educated sales managers will increase.
How to Become a Sales Trainer
Sales trainers need to have specific skills, qualifications, and experience. Without a specific skill set, they can’t teach what they know to their trainees. And if they lack actual sales experience, they can’t lead by example because they have no reference point.
For a person training salespeople how to be effective at selling, it goes without saying that a sales trainer needs to have a deep knowledge of sales and know what it takes to be a good salesperson.
What qualifications do you need to become a sales trainer?
To land the best sales trainer jobs, you will need a bachelor’s degree in sales, business administration, or marketing as a bare minimum. Some positions may require a master’s degree.
Most employers provide new training staff with on-the-job training and may assign them tasks under close observation until they are ready to work independently. They may also train them on how to use proprietary company software and training tools.
A salesperson may seek a training certificate to increase their expertise and boost their chances of successfully stepping into the sales trainer job.
The typical work environment for a sales trainer
A sales trainer can work in various environments, from corporate training rooms to hotels to conference centers. They frequently travel to different cities and countries, conducting training sessions for new sales hires and existing employees.
Most full-time professional sales trainers work more than 40 hours weekly, and some even put in more than 50 hours. So expect to put in long shifts to get work done.
Sales training involves meeting with clients and students, which can mean traveling and staying overnight. Particularly if you work for a national company, you will need to constantly travel to regional offices to conduct training sessions.
All that travel means you will live out of your suitcase most time of the year. While that can be appealing at the beginning, it can take a toll, especially if you have a young, growing family.
What Skills Does a Sales Trainer Need?
Sales trainers must be well-rounded individuals with diverse skills. They must communicate well, relate well with others, and have a personable, approachable, and friendly demeanor, among other qualities and skills:
Sales trainers must be self-starters that can work under pressure
Sales trainers must have strong organizational skills to successfully plan and conduct training programs and seminars. They will constantly be liaising with other departments like finance to set budgets and with sales managers to plan training schedules. Navigating that maze of interactions requires exceptional written and oral communication skills.
The sales training job also demands the buy-in of functional heads in the company to achieve the best outcomes. That demands strong interpersonal skills. To be effective in the sales trainer job, you must also command the respect of the salespeople you will be training, and people respect substance, character, and skill.
Importantly, sales is a high-pressure job. Because you essentially work in sales, you also need to be able to deal with pressure and manage your time effectively. You can’t help your trainees excel in their jobs if you don’t do well in yours. Your failures will reflect on them.
The best sales trainers have extensive selling experience
Sales is such a hands-on job that you can’t imagine being a good trainer if you have not worked in the trenches as a sales rep. There are concepts you have to teach from experience, otherwise, you will find it hard to connect with your trainees.
Every type of sales experience will hold you in good stead as a sales trainer – from analyzing and qualifying leads, selling over the phone, doing product demos, pitching clients, to closing sales. You will teach better if you have examples from your own experience to cite.
Think about your strengths, weaknesses, and areas where you had to improve as a sales rep. How did you learn to listen, handle objections, close sales, and deal with the pressures of quotas and targets?
As every sale is different, every day teaches something new, so the more experience you have the more knowledge you have to sell to your trainees.
Volunteering at a non-profit organization is a great way to learn more about small businesses. You’ll get hands-on experience and might even be able to pick up some new skills.
To become an effective training manager, you should first gain real-world experience working in sales. You will also need to be familiar with the sales process and the various sales strategies used to help trainees be successful.
Besides actual field work as a sales rep, you can gain sales experience by volunteering at a non-profit or a corporation with a similar product or service. This will help you understand the inner workings of a business and what programs they offer.
Sales trainers must be lifelong students themselves
Perhaps more the salespeople they train, sales trainers must always be learning new skills and updating their training approach. The constant stream of new tech tools coming onto the market means training methods are constantly changing tools.
A few years ago, videoconferencing wasn’t available to the masses. Now thanks to platforms like Zoom, they are. That alone has opened a medium for remote training that wasn’t available to make trainers.
As a discipline, sales is also constantly evolving. Sales trainers must learn new selling tactics and refine their approach to evolve with the industry, otherwise, they will be left behind.
A sales training tip for success is therefore never to stagnate. Make every day an opportunity to learn something new. If you don’t have one, study for an MBA on the side.
Have a list of the best sales trainers in your field and follow them everywhere they share their knowledge, be it on LinkedIn, Youtube, Twitter, or their personal website. If they have a newsletter, subscribe to it and read their content. Make connections and engage with them where you can.
You don’t want to be the sales trainer that persists with sales tactics that last worked 5 years ago.
Sales trainer vs sales coach
Sales trainers teach sales teams and help them improve their skills for the collective good of the company. On the other hand, sales coaches work with individual sales reps to refine their skills and get better at their jobs.
A sales coach works in the same way as a mentor, only that they charge for their services whereas mentors typically volunteer. Coaching is more personalized teaching that focuses on advanced sales tactics, while training largely focuses on basic skills.
Sales coaches are typically veteran salespeople who have seen it all and have a lot to teach others but no longer have the energy required for full-time sales training. Salespeople looking to learn advanced sales skills are best advised to find a private sales coach than hoping to learn those on the job.
TL;DR – How to Be a Sales Trainer
Sales training can be a great career choice for a person with the right qualifications, skills, experience, and personal attributes. It entails working with people in the sales function and other departments, which means you have to possess strong interpersonal skills to succeed.
Perhaps more importantly, you must have sold successfully to excel as a sales trainer. You will basically be showing trainee salespeople what works and what doesn’t. You, therefore, need to draw from your own experience as a sales development representative.
The sales trainer job is demanding as you will likely be traveling a lot to conduct training seminars. So you need the physical stamina for that as well as support from your family.
Lastly, succeeding as a sales trainer also demands staying up to date with current trends and constantly updating your knowledge through study and research.
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