How to train your field sales reps

Posted in Sales team management.

Field sales reps have hectic schedules, getting them to sit down and participate in training when the next potential sale is waiting can be challenging. This is why sales reps that are always on the road need training in small, bite-sized segments that still provide quality whilst not interfering with their work.

Make use of media

Field sales reps rely heavily on their smartphones and tablets for placing orders, organising their days, and travelling. This is why it is so important to use media, apps and online content to grab their attention. Videos are especially great for training sales reps in general. It has even been proven that retention rates are higher if a person can both see and hear the content being delivered. In fact, companies who use video-based training for their sales teams have more accurate forecasting, higher customer renewal rates, and shorter sales cycles.


Training shouldn’t be a time-bound event where field sales reps are involved. Sticking to a consistent training schedule can be difficult when sales reps’ activities change at the drop of a hat and they spend limited time in the office. Taking this into account, make sure that content is readily available on mobile devices for sales rep. This way they can access the information when it suits them without losing out on valuable training.

Bite-sized learning

Many of us have heard that the attention span of most healthy adults is 20 minutes, after that people tend to lose focus. It has also been said that 50% of content is forgotten within five weeks of training. This is especially true when training is conducted at day-long events and trainees are required to concentrate for lengthy periods at a time.

To avoid valuable sales knowledge going to waste implement a micro-learning approach instead. Micro-learning is training done in 15-minute increments and not spaced too close together. These short training bursts make retaining knowledge much easier and also give sales reps the time to put the knowledge they’ve learned into practice before the next session occurs.

Have an open door

Seeing as training for field sales reps shouldn’t, and to a point cannot be done, within a certain time period due to hectic schedule requirements, it is essential that whoever is providing training be available whenever needed. In other words, be available to assist sales reps with any training-related questions they may have.

This should also work both ways. The training facilitator should check in with sales reps every few days or so to track training progress. Ask how they are doing, what they require, and how their e-learning is going. This also helps to identify if mobile learning is being implemented effectively, and whether or not additional one-on-one training is required.