How to better activate sales training skills

When you think about your last sales training session, how much of the learning and skills did you or your team apply? 

The statistics around this subject are quite discouraging. 70% of employees report that they don’t have mastery of the skills needed to do their jobs and only 12% of employees apply new skills learned in L&D programs. With these numbers, I can understand why some leaders can become frustrated at the results of these training courses. 

To combat this, it’s vital to understand that there are two dynamics in any training scenario. One is the organizational environment and culture around the training and the other is the psychology of learning itself.

At an organizational level, the relevance of the training is critical. Is it something the employees need and can use NOW or is the relevance abstract? There must be a viable way to connect the training to an immediate need to significantly improve employee mindset and engagement. 

An organization’s culture also has a significant impact on how training is viewed and more importantly, valued. Is the training a way of attaining “credits” that will help in promotions (check the box) or is it measured against the actual impact on your performance? In addition, how specific training is viewed by senior leadership has a significant impact on their value within the organization. Is training perceived as something that “we have to do for them” because a consultant says that it will improve performance or is it something they live out in their vision for the rest of the organization? In reality, it’s all about intent.

Two of the many benefits of being intentional around a developmental environment include better performance and employee engagement. 7 out of 10 employees say that learning improves their sense of connection to the organization while 8 out of 10 say it adds a sense of purpose to their work. When someone feels a sense of purpose, their psychology in how they work shifts as well.

A key psychological dynamic is the ability to retain the information being taught. Hermann Ebbinghaus developed the “forgetting curve” in 1885 that mathematically calculates the rate at which humans forget information if there are no intentional attempts to remember and apply it. Some studies show that we forget 50% of new information within the first hour and up to 70% in the first 24 hours.

So, what’s the plan?

Here is a checklist that will help activate learning within your organization:

  1. Create a performance culture that values training and its implementation – valued from the top down.
  2. Have intentional conversations with the employee about how the training will have a positive impact around something meaningful to them – solving a current problem or helping achieve their personal goals inside the organization.
  3. Connect training to immediate and real-world situations.
  4. Plan to implement the learning immediately after the session through a coaching framework that allows for reinforcement training.
  5. Have a peer/team support framework where there is regular communication around the implementation of the learning – success and challenge stories.
  6. Measure outcomes and objectives.
  7. Adjust what needs to change and leverage what is working.


Activated learning can have a positive impact on your organization if your goal as a sales leader is to initiate the sales training immediately with real-world reinforcement coaching behind it. If you are looking for a more effective sales approach or simply wish to learn more about what we do at Braintrust, then reach out at We’d love to connect with you.

Related Posts