More than half of college graduates will end up working in sales, yet fewer than 4 percent of universities include sales in their curriculum, according to a Harvard Business Review report. As the profession moves away from smiling, dialing and carefully scripted pitches, that gap in training has only become more glaring.
Enter, sales bootcamps and training workshops.
While bootcamps are most associated with technical professions like data science and software engineering, it’s become an increasingly popular option for sales professionals. Companies now expect entry-level salespeople to know how to manage a CRM, incorporate research into a selling strategy and explain cloud computing software in a way a child could understand. And companies that invest in training their teams see higher rates of quota attainment, sales rep retention and deals won, according to a CSO Insights Study.
In short, it’s not enough to rely on “natural-born sellers” anymore.
As a result, in addition to courses for reps trying to up their skills, there are now sales training programs for entire teams, as well as for managers looking to pivot sales strategies to boost revenue. There are bootcamps dedicated to technical sales careers, and others dedicated to recruiting and training candidates from diverse backgrounds.
Topics covered range from teaching fundamental sales development skills like building a sales pipeline, managing a CRM like Salesforce and communication strategies, to honing inbound sales methods, technical product presentations and coaching techniques.
Most programs are available online and offer certificates upon completion. Some bootcamps will even help graduates find work after graduation.
Want to learn more? We’ve got you covered.
Top Sales Training Programs And Courses To Know
- SV Academy
- Re:work Training
- Coursera, “The Art of Sales”
- General Assembly
- Sales Assembly
- JBarrows Sales Training
- Winning by Design
Location: New York, San Francisco; Online
What They Do: As more and more companies transition into tech or launch software products, SV Academy’s fellowship aims to prepare students for the new sales landscape. The program gives students the tools they need to thrive in entry-level sales development roles before placing them into the job with a starting salary of $79,000. Based in New York and San Francisco, the fellowship involves either a part-time three-month training or a full-time one-month program, where students will learn the technical expertise and sales skills required for a tech sales position. They’ll also be matched with an employer and given a year of coaching. The training is free to students (the fees are covered by the employer once the student graduates) and can be taken anywhere. However, students must be willing to move to San Francisco or New York for work.
Location: San Francisco; Online
What They Do: Not every job in tech is an engineering job, but you wouldn’t know that from the training and internships companies provide. CEO James Nielsen launched Sales Bootcamp to help bridge the experience gap between new graduates and junior sales roles. Students can enroll in a free one-week online training bootcamp that will teach them the fundamentals of sales. Upon graduation, students can apply for a Vendition sales apprenticeship.
Location: City of choice.
What They Do: Once a student graduates Sales Bootcamp, they can enroll in Vendition’s three-month fellowship with a partner company that will pay them $7,500 over the course of the program. The company’s apprenticeship model includes on-the-job training with supplemental education, and leads to a job at the end. It’s designed to help graduates land their first jobs in sales and comes at no cost to the student. Program alumni have landed gigs at Box, Google, Salesforce and more.
Location: Offices in Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Missouri, Indianapolis, Phoenix; Virtual classes available.
What They Do: Victory Lap’s foundation lies in two statistics that define the sales workforce — just 4 percent of colleges offer sales education, while 50 percent of college graduates end up in the role. The bootcamp’s CEO and founder Brian Bar struggled because of that divide, according to an interview with VoyageChicago. Victory Lap strives to bridge that gap through a training program that explores foundational sales skills like prospecting, effective sales communication and sales role playing with coaches. Notably, tuition is free to students and covered by the bootcamp’s employer partners. Its online classes cost about $340 and include six live, instructor-led sessions, access to a post-program peer community and materials to use in the field. Since launching in 2016, the program has graduated 600 alums and amassed more than 150 company partners.
Austin Sales Academy
Location: Austin; Online
What They Do: How do you know if sales is right for you? Given the lack of sales curriculums in colleges, most people must make a leap either into a bootcamp or entry-level sales job without knowing if it’s the right fit. Austin Sales Academy bridges that gap with a one-hour sales exploration course that introduces the profession to prospective students. If they’re interested, students can then sign up for the seven-week online training intensive that provides personalized coaching, sales assignments and role playing to prepare for the job. Graduates typically earn a job within 90 days, according to the company’s website. While the program has connections to Austin tech companies, students can take the course from anywhere.
What They Do: With its roots in Chicago, Re:work Training is a sales bootcamp that strives to make the tech workforce reflect the diversity of the city. Re:work’s program provides free sales training for candidates living in underrepresented communities in Chicago, primarily on the South and West side. With no education minimum, the program encourages unemployed, underemployed and out-of-school job seekers to apply. Enrolled candidates will go through eight weeks of sales training, and receive job placement support, as well as continued coaching and mentorship, upon graduation. Founded in 2016, the program has seen its graduates receive an average salary of $55,000 and generated $3.8 million in salaries back to the community.
Location: Toronto; Online
What They Do: Uvaro provides a 12-week sales training bootcamp that specializes in preparing people from all backgrounds for careers in technical sales. Rather than requiring a lengthy time commitment, the program can be done online in daily two-hour chunks from Monday to Friday. Students will connect with an instructor and classmates online while they watch videos, participate in discussions and attend lessons. The course teaches students basic sales skills, along with how to navigate CRMs like Salesforce and how to develop a career after graduation. The tuition is free upfront, but requires paying the $15,000 tuition through an income sharing agreement of 10 percent of base salary for up to 24 months.
Location: Charleston, South Carolina; Online
What They Do: As software sales jobs begin to dominate the industry — Prehired notes that there were more than 105,000 jobs on Indeed during one particular search it completed — this sales bootcamp aims to prepare candidates for that future. Divided over 15 modules, the bootcamp teaches students how to navigate tricky software features and land deals through its “Science-Based Sales Curriculum.” Modules cover everything from how to use Salesforce to sales psychology and landing a job. The tuition is paid through an income sharing agreement of 12.5 percent of your gross income for up to 48 months. Both HubSpot and SalesHacker have named the program in its top training lists.
Individual Training Modules and Workshops
Coursera, “The Art of Sales”
What They Do: Coursera’s catalog of online learning modules is extensive, with thousands of specialties from data to marketing and engineering. For salespeople, “The Art of Sales,” a program offered by Northwestern University, stands out as a comprehensive training for beginners. Led by Sales Engine’s CEO Craig Wurtman, the specialization series requires no sales background and includes four courses that explore prospecting, connecting with sales prospects, pitching and closing deals, and building a toolkit for sales processes. At the end, users receive a certificate of completion.
Udemy, “Sales Machine”
What They Do: Online learning platform Udemy’s “Sales Machine” course is often mentioned in discussions about the best online sales training programs. Designed for both current sales professionals and people interested in B2B sales, the course explores the fundamentals of selling a product and closing a deal. Students receive three hours of training videos and eight downloadable resources. The videos will explore building rapport with a customer, how to become a stronger listener and how to turn skeptics into buyers, among other skills.
HubSpot Academy, “Inbound Sales”
What They Do: Figuring out the intricacies of inbound sales can be challenging. Where outbound sales requires perseverance through cold calling and outreach, inbound demands targeting the right prospects, earning their attention through helpful resources, and persuasion. Developed by the CRM platform HubSpot’s online training team, the Inbound Sales course is designed for sales reps interested in developing those skills. The course is free, includes five lessons and takes two hours to complete.
Location: New York, London
What They Do: General Assembly specializes in data bootcamps and engineering courses, but it also offers a two-day sales workshop for anyone with something to sell. The program caters to entrepreneurs, small-business owners and anyone interested in the sales profession, providing guidance on the sales lifecycle, how to develop a prospect pipeline, pitching and how to hit quota. All that’s required for the course is to bring a laptop and a readiness to discuss your product.
High-Impact Selling (Kellogg)
What They Do: Taught by the faculty of Northwestern University’s prestigious Kellogg business school, the High Impact Selling workshop is designed to help sales executives and leaders of small-to-midsize companies pivot sales strategies to grow revenue. The three-day class takes leaders through the process of establishing growth priorities, designing a team to capitalize on strategic advantages and a discussion on how to implement the new strategy. The program qualifies for continuing education credits and costs $8,350 to enroll.
What They Do: For sales leaders at fast-growing tech companies, it can be difficult to pivot into the next phase of a company’s growth. Processes change, strategies formalize and data enters the picture. Sales Assembly provides a membership service designed to help sales leaders make that leap and grow their teams. In addition to access to a community of sales executives, the organization offers training for all team members, sales enablement certification programs and leadership development. Sales Assembly works with 100 of the top tech companies in Chicago.
JBarrows Sales Training
What They Do: In 2018, 57 percent of sales reps missed their quota, according to a Forbes story. Missed quotas continue to be an issue for sales teams, and it’s one that John Barrows strives to tackle through his sales training. Barrows is the author of the book I Want to Be in Sales When I Grow Up. His training program is designed for sales teams of all sizes and explores how to prospect more effectively, build pipeline and close more deals to meet quota.
Todd Caponi: The Transparency Sale
Location: Chicago; Online
What They Do: It may sound counterintuitive, but embracing your company’s flaws in a sale can be the key to building trust and closing a deal. Todd Caponi tried that strategy out while working as the chief revenue officer for the customer ratings and reviews solutions platform PowerReviews, and its success inspired his book, The Transparency Sale, and his workshops. Caponi offers on-site and virtual workshops to help sales teams hone this strategy and approach.
Brooks Group IMPACT Sales Training
Location: Online; Anywhere
What They Do: Founded in 1977, the Brooks Group has provided corporate sales training for more than one million salespeople, according to the company. The program’s flagship service includes its IMPACT strategy training, which stands for investigate, meet, probe, apply, convince, tie-it-up. Companies that sign up receive a customizable program with a Brooks Group sales professional, personal assessments, workbooks and access to a mobile app to reinforce tips and lessons learned.
Richardson Power to Sell
Location: Online; Anywhere
What They Do: Richardson provides tailored sales training to corporate sales teams. Founded in 1978, the company offers more than 20 modules of in-person or online sales training that include sales coaching, consultative sales, storytelling and more. Its training methodology involves role playing and learn-by-doing exercises to create a relevant experience for each team. Although Richardson is based in Philadelphia, the course is available to customers everywhere.
What They Do: SalesWise Academy’s training program focuses on teaching technical sales strategies and developing a sales culture. The program works with B2B sales development teams and emphasizes a format where leaders train alongside team members. Lessons contain role-playing exercises, and they are designed to be consumed in bite-size segments in the form of a podcast. SalesWise Academy also provides ongoing coaching support to help leaders integrate 1:1 coaching into their team culture.
Winning by Design
Location: LA; Online
What They Do: Rated as one of the top sales training and consulting companies on G2, Winning by Design provides training for sales reps, customer success managers, sales managers and remote sales teams. For companies diving into remote sales for the first time, its training explores tips on how to develop an action plan, setting up a remote environment, how to run an online demo and more. Its trainings are taught through a 70-20-10 model, which involves 70 percent role playing, 20 percent learning from peers and 10 percent classroom instruction. Winning by Design offers customized virtual training on Zoom along with a monthly public video or an in-person offering.
Mastering Technical Sales
What They Do: Navigating a successful career as a sales engineer requires conveying intricate technical information with the ease and confidence of a salesperson. It can take years to master the art of a smooth technical demo and being able to troubleshoot on the spot. John Care and Aron Bolig, authors of the training book, Mastering Technical Sales, have created a curriculum to help pre-sales engineering teams improve their presentation skills and close deals. The company offers a 90-minute micro-workshop for companies, along with an 18-month development program.