Skip to content

Your Sales Training Doesn’t Work. Here’s Why

  • May 26, 2023

Countless sales leaders invest in training programs, only to see minimal impact on their team's performance and revenue. So, what's missing?

The key lies in understanding how people truly learn.


How people truly learn

B2B sales reps forget 70% of their training in one week and 87% in one month.”

Shocking, isn't it?

Most training programs focus only on knowledge transfer, neglecting the critical psychological factors that drive effective learning. They design a great curriculum, build the best courses and prepare days-long workshops to teach it.

Sadly, all this effort usually goes to waste, as most of it will be forgotten within a month.

The reason for this is rooted in psychology. Meet the 70 20 10 model—the groundbreaking approach to learning in the workplace.

The model was created in the 1980s by three researchers and authors working with the Center for Creative Leadership, a nonprofit educational institution in Greensboro, N.C. Since then, it has been widely utilized by organizations to build effective, successful training programs.

According to this model, individuals gain:

  • 10% of their knowledge from formal education,
  • 20% from interactions with others, and
  • a whopping 70% from on-the-job experiences.

The model percentages are not set in stone and will vary from company to company, and the model has received several updates since 1980. But the core psychological principle remains as the cornerstone insight for effective learning in the workplace:

For workplace learning to be effective, it needs a mix of formal, social, and on-the-job methods. Most impactful learning happens through on-the-job experiences. 

Untitled (1)


Now, consider the typical sales training programs available today. Most revolve around one-time, generic courses, workshops and seminars heavily focused on theory. They are not specific to each company, and provide little opportunity for continuous, on-the-job practice and feedback.

In other words, they heavily emphasize the first 10%, leaving the remaining 90% untapped. It's no wonder they’re forgotten fast and fail to generate impact.


Designing a training model that works

To design a training model that truly works, we need to rethink our approach. Forget about one-time seminars, standalone masterclasses, and self-guided courses. While they provide valuable knowledge, without follow-up measures, they fail to drive real impact.

Instead, consider a holistic approach that enables formal, social, and on-the-job learning. Here are some practical examples:

  • Combine a one-time seminar with interactive reflection sessions and ongoing coaching to reinforce learning and align it with daily activities.
  • Enroll in an online course that encourages peer collaboration and discussion, with regular sessions to identify areas for improvement.
  • Attend a masterclass, participate in live group activities, and access bite-sized knowledge nuggets that can be readily applied in real time.

The common thread among these successful approaches is their ability to facilitate learning at every stage of the process. By integrating structured learning, social interactions, and on-the-job application, you create a powerful learning environment.


Our experience applying this model

The 70:20:10 model gives us a foundational framework to understand how people learn, but not a clear blueprint on how to make it happen. That’s where it gets tricky.

When we built the Hyrise program, we obsessed over how to drive real behavioral change that allowed salespeople to really boost performance and sales. We carefully tested different ways of enabling workplace learning at all different levels, until we arrived at a formula that worked in the sales environment.

Screenshot 2023-05-18 at 20.00.41

We decided to make our program continuous, spanning at least six months, and built it upon four core pillars:

  • Regular, personalized coaching. Coaching is at the core of our training program and actually impacts all three learning stages. Our coaches provide structured knowledge transfer sessions that build on our short courses, discussions where social learning happens, and working sessions focused on on-the-job issues and experiences.
  • Micro-learning courses. After a coaching session, learners will most likely be tasked to take a short course and complete a practical assignment. Sellers can only digest so much in their day-to-day and if companies want training adoption and engagement, it needs to fit into their day-to-day with highly relevant yet highly targeted content. We strive for quality over quantity here: it’s about giving small micro-learning impulses that will be complemented with a practical assignment to apply this knowledge and receive feedback. 
  • Practical assignments. The most effective enabler for on-the-job learning. We task salespeople to practice what they have learned through our courses and coaching sessions and apply it in real life. We pull from a library of proven assignments for every use case and create personalized ones when necessary. All assignments receive personalized feedback. 
  • Data. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. We regularly assess learners on different skills to measure progress and identify areas of improvement, and personalize the learning path accordingly.

Here is a typical monthly training cycle at Hyrise Academy

Screenshot 2023-05-18 at 20.18.50

Make it work for you

Implementing a sales training program that works takes time and patience. Our main piece of advice, if you are trying to make sales training work within your organization, is not to spend your money on expensive speakers and one-time workshops. They will not work.

Instead, focus on a training program that not only provides structured learning opportunities but also enables social and on-the-job learning. If you are a manager, regular coaching to discuss key concepts covered in structured learning and identify blockers and issues to work on will already go a long way.

Many companies decide to take training into their own hands, and if you have the time and resources, it can be extremely effective. If you want to dive deeper into practical advice to implement an effective training program check out our 8 best practices to implement effective sales training for your team.

Want to learn more about our training program? we are always happy to chat.

Related Posts

You may also like this

Hyrise Manifesto: The future of work requires the future of education

November 4, 2020
At Hyrise Academy we believe everybody has a space in the digital economy. We're transforming education to make this...

Hyrise Academy: Turning our vision into reality

November 4, 2020
Discover how we're getting closer to our vision of a better education model: accessible, personalized and designed for...

Introducing Salesforce Trailhead into our curriculum

June 14, 2021
We are very happy to announce our collaboration with Salesforce that pays into our philosophy of industry led learning.