3 Sales Training Exercises (That Actually Work)

This is the second of a two-part series that covers the PDX AA-ISP Sales Training Panel. Click here to read the first part.

sales training exercises that actually workWhat would you do to get a close rate of 44% on every opportunity your team opens?

What about a 78% close rate on every pilot you ran?

These numbers belong to Mark Kosoglow’s sales teams at Outreach. He’s their VP of sales, and he recently joined The Bridge Group President Trish Bertuzzi and host Chris Ortolano of ExecVision for an AA-ISP panel on sales training. (Watch the whole recording here.)

Part of Mark’s sales success comes from the continuous sales training he gives his sales development and account executive teams. Here are some very tactical training strategies Mark uses with his team, along with a few insights from Trish:

3 Sales Training Exercises You Should Try


  1. Daily Exercise

Mark’s SDR team has a daily 3-hour call block. But the first half hour of that is partner exercises, broken up into three 10-minute blocks. Here’s how you can build a similar set-up:

  • First 10 Minutes: Reps quiz each other on messaging. If a prospect is focused on hiring, what kind of questions should you ask? What case studies can you show someone whose organization just launched a new product? Which customer quotes would you share with a prospect who just had a poor Q1?
  • Second 10 Minutes: Reps role play as buyer and seller, addressing common objections and value propositions.
  • Final 10 Minutes: Reps switch roles and role play again.

“We do that every single day before our calls. Gets everybody warmed up and in the zone, and then they’re off and running,” Mark says.

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For companies that don’t have the time to make that kind of daily investment, Trish suggests recording sales calls to enhance training. Have reps record a few of their calls each week and share them with each other.

Mike refers to recording calls as a no-brainer.

“If you’re not listening to the people on your phone calls, then what are you doing as a sales leader? It’s like being a hitting coach and not watching people take swings at bat,” he said.

  1. Monthly Drilldown

Is there a particular activity you want to help your team do better with? Once a month or so, Mark’s teams drill down on specific skill training by using the Pomodoro Technique, where reps focus on one specific activity for 25 minutes, and then break to talk about it for five minutes. Here’s how Mark structures it for his sales team:

  • 25 Minutes: Reps independently perform specific activity (writing emails, making calls, etc.)
  • 5 Minutes: Reps record number of activities completed on collective whiteboard. Team gathers to discuss what worked, what didn’t work, etc.
  • Repeat for desired amount of time (a few hours is a good benchmark)

“We use the Pomodoro method to work on people’s muscles to help them do quality actions a lot faster,” Mark says, adding that the rep who does the most is typically rewarded with a free lunch.

  1. Ongoing Certifications

Another way to continually engage your reps in sales training is with certifications and micro-promotions. After you spend time on a team monthly drill down or one-on-one coaching session, give reps a chance to prove their skill mastery with a certification test. Test reps for areas like:

  • Objection Handling
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Targeted Outreach
  • Personalized Prospecting
  • Storytelling and Use Case
  • Pipeline Forecast

If they pass, give them a badge or some sort of recognition and reward (that makes the effort worth it). If you want to take it a step further, you could tie in micro-promotions: small advancements in job role.

For Mark’s team, there are a series of micro-promotions that create a really defined potential career path for SDRs:

SDR > Senior SDR > Team Lead > SDR Manager > Director of Sales Development

“To keep people and to make them better, you have to have a learning culture. So micro-promotions are about that level of learning. Whatever skills need to be leveled-on, those are incorporated in your micro-promotion strategy,” Trish says, adding that this technique is especially popular for millennials.

Looking for more sales training exercises? Use this checklist to conduct a sales win/loss analysis of closed deals.

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