The right sales management course will give you the skills to develop and empower your sales team to hit their targets and close high-quality deals.
With so many sales courses online, it can be difficult to choose one that matches your circumstances, budget and learning needs.
In this article, we’ll explain how sales management training can help salespeople at all career stages, list seven of the best online courses to consider and help you choose the one that’ll best equip you to lead and sell more effectively.
How sales management training can help anyone lead well and sell more
New and aspiring sales leaders aren’t the only ones who can benefit from online sales management training.
With buyer behaviors constantly evolving, even highly experienced sales managers need to keep updating their skillsets to succeed.
Modern consumer attitudes toward corporate social responsibility, omnichannel shopping and brand loyalty mean sales teams have new expectations to meet. It’s your job as a leader to ensure every rep is closing sales deals.
What’s more, Peakon’s research tells us that employees’ expectations and priorities in flexible working, sustainability and diversity are shifting. Sales managers must account for this changing landscape if they’re to be effective leaders.
With all this in mind, great sales management courses can teach you how to:
Meet the buying needs of modern consumers
Identify, manage and act on the most valuable performance data
Become a great sales manager your team wants to work hard for
Ignite passion among your sales representatives with a more personal approach
Become a better coach for developing salespeople
7 sales management courses to hone your skills
To simplify your search for the perfect course, we’ve built a list of starting points to consider.
In no particular order, here are seven of the best sales management courses online in 2022, covering a range of skill levels, teaching methods and time demands.
1. To develop your leadership skills: ASLAN’s Catalyst training course
As well as offering training in inside sales, call center sales and field sales, ASLAN provides a sales leadership-focused program called Catalyst.
The course comes in three phases:
Phase II: “Catalyst Workshop”, a two-day workshop exploring ASLAN’s proprietary “Other-Centered” approach, whereby sales leaders focus on helping each member of their team achieve their personal goals, which in turn improves team performance overall
Sign up to Catalyst and you’ll also gain access to coaching and hiring guides, workshop outlines for five fundamental sales competencies to reinforce your team’s skills and a performance management dashboard to track each rep’s results, productivity, competency and engagement levels.
One of this course’s biggest selling points is its focus on changing how you see leadership. If your one-size-fits-all management approach isn’t getting results, ASLAN’s “Other-Centric” teaching could be valuable.
Cost: Varies based on individual or group training requirements, and you can contact ASLAN for a quote
Length: Two days of live training
Teaching method: Online or in-person interactive workshops with skill development activities and a dashboard for tracking results
Certification: Learners are assessed in three stages during Catalyst Certification, with ASLAN Leadership Certification received on completion
2. For driving sales growth: Cornell’s Sales Growth Certificate Program
Based on the 2016 book Sales Growth: Five Proven Strategies from the World’s Sales Leaders (authored by McKinsey experts), this five-stage course by Cornell University helps managers build actionable roadmaps for driving sales growth.
While it’s useful for salespeople at all levels, managers are Cornell’s main focus. In the course’s five units, you’ll learn how to:
Discover sales growth opportunities
Get the most from your sales efforts
Win with your key accounts
Negotiate effectively to maximize the value of every sale
Manage sales performance for growth
The unit is taught by renowned faculty members and the content is authored by a host of senior sales specialists from McKinsey & Company, including Director Maria Valdivieso, Senior Partner Homayoun Hatami and Chief Business Development Officer René Langen. This lineup means you’ll gain access to a goldmine of experience-backed insight from industry leaders.
Cost: $2,520 or $770 per month
Length: Three to five hours per week for three months, with each unit lasting two weeks
Teaching method: Instructor-led videos and supporting texts, with a maximum class size of 35 students
Certification: Learners receive the Sales Growth Certificate from Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management upon completion
3. To inspire your team to perform: RAIN Group’s Sales Management
RAIN’s Sales Management training course gives managers the skills to keep their teams motivated, accountable and hitting performance objectives.
Recognizing some of the role’s biggest challenges, it promises to help leaders host more valuable team meetings, forecast performance more effectively, hire great new talent and coach reps to consistently exceed sales targets.
RAIN’s modular approach means participants and their employers can get a more personalized learning experience by focusing on the topics most relevant to their needs.
There are 13 modules on offer, including:
Leading Masterful Sales Coaching Conversations
Managing and Coaching for Accountability
Developing My Team into Sales Superstars
Team Forecasting and Pipeline Management
Interviewing and Hiring Sales Superstars
Leading Exceptional Team Meetings
Cost and length: Both vary based on business and learner requirements, and you can contact RAIN Group for a consultation
Teaching method: Each course comprises in-person or online classroom sessions, online resources and application coaching
4. For making the step up to management: LinkedIn’s Transitioning to Management for Salespeople
LinkedIn Learning is a great place to upskill in many fields, including sales and marketing management.
At the time of writing, there are 276 courses in the Sales Management section of the platform. The Transitioning to Management for Salespeople course specifically targets new and aspiring sales leaders.
Led by sales consultant and author of Selling with Noble Purpose Lisa Earle McLeod, this well-reviewed mini-course gives learners an idea of what to expect when switching from team member to team leader.
McLeod focuses on the areas in which new sales managers typically get stuck, including:
Sales pipeline management
Attracting and retaining talent
Holding sales meetings
Working with other departments
Dealing with failure
It’s a short course (a little over an hour), but the points raised here should set the groundwork and inspire your next steps in sales management education.
Cost: $29.99 or free with a one-month trial to LinkedIn Learning
Length: One hour and 15 minutes (self-paced)
Teaching method: A series of video tutorials, slideshows and real-life examples presented by Lisa Earle McLeod, with quizzes to test your knowledge
Certification: Learners receive a LinkedIn “Certificate of Completion” after finishing the course
5. For a big-picture view of sales leadership: West Virginia University’s Sales Operations/Management course (on Coursera)
This Coursera “Specialization” (defined by the platform as “a series of courses to help you master a skill”) uses a mix of theoretical and practical methods to teach students about sales management.
Three highly qualified West Virginia University professors speak on all areas of sales management, including organizing, selecting, training, motivating and compensating team members.
Students also get to meet practicing sales managers and build up to an “Applied Learning Project”, which involves analyzing the sales function of a real business.
You’ll learn how to:
Develop a plan for organizing, staffing and training a sales force
Identify the key factors in establishing and maintaining high morale in the sales force
Develop an effective sales compensation plan
Evaluate the performance of a salesperson
Organize sales territories to maximize selling effectiveness
Evaluate sales ethics and sales management strategies in relation to current legal standards of practice
Cost: Requires a Coursera Plus subscription at $399 per year or $59 per month (includes a seven-day free trial and access to 7,000+ other certificate programs). You can access the course materials for free but not the assignments, support or certification.
Length: Around six months at the suggested pace of three hours per week (self-paced)
Teaching method: A mix of instructor-led course videos, supporting text, graded quizzes and a hands-on assessment project
Certification: Learners earn a shareable certificate from West Virginia University on completion
6. To harness the power of data in sales: Queen’s University’s Sales Enablement & Analytics (on edX)
This course sidesteps general sales skills to home in on analytics in selling, which is something all sales department heads can benefit from.
Sales Enablement & Analytics builds on the concepts covered in two of Queen’s University’s other courses, Enterprise Selling and Strategic Account Management. Passing both is a prerequisite for the specialist program. Once you’re in, you’ll learn about tools and technologies that allow sales managers to make data-driven decisions and create more value for their employers and buyers.
By the end, you’ll be able to analyze your team or business’s existing sales processes and intelligently address inefficiencies.
The course is led by Michael Cant and Jim Hamilton, both seasoned sales professionals and business leaders with more than 45 years of combined experience.
Cost: Free to take without certification, but a “verified” version comes with graded assignments, a shareable certificate and unlimited access to course materials for $199
Length: Six weeks at the suggested pace of four to six hours per week (self-paced)
Teaching method: Instructor-led video content with supporting texts
Certification: Learners on the verified version of the course (paid) receive a certificate upon completion
7. To reach more win-win outcomes: Sandler Training’s Negotiating Mastery
Sandler’s Negotiating Mastery course emphasizes the power of relationships in sales.
As a sales manager, you’ll:
Become a stronger negotiator for your own deals
Be better positioned to coach reps in sales negotiation styles and best practices
The curriculum has eight modules, including:
Understanding and Dealing with the Professional Negotiator
Sources of Negotiating Leverage
Personality, Style, and Persuasion
The Most Common Negotiating Mistakes
Top 12 Gambits Buyers Use and the Countermeasures
Breaking through Apparent Impasses
Sandler’s teaching methodology is all about reinforcement. As well as providing plenty of theory-based content, it encourages learners to practice new leadership skills through role-play, simulations and other low-risk situations before transferring them to the field.
Cost and length: Both vary based on business and learner requirements, and you can contact Sandler for a quote
Teaching method: A mix of video content and supporting texts, with access to the Sandler Resource Library of podcasts, whitepapers, reports, webinar recordings and eBooks
How to choose the right sales management course
All sales management courses have their own focuses, methods and credentials. The following factors should help you make the best decision for you:
Course content: List the competencies you think you’re currently missing and cross-check them with the course modules. If you’re not sure where to start, take a shorter and broader fundamentals course like LinkedIn’s Transitioning to Management for Salespeople to get some ideas on what you want to pursue in depth.
Course length: Some courses run for an hour, while others take months to complete. Naturally, you’ll get more detail from a longer program, but it needs to align with your professional and personal commitments. Your employer may be flexible if they can see the course’s value. Self-paced, asynchronous courses provide more flexibility if you need it.
Cost: The pricing of your course must fit within your or your employer’s budget. While free courses are attractive, paid sales management training that helps you or your team sell more has a high ROI. For example, if the sales techniques from a $1,000 course help you close a $3,000 deal, you can easily justify the investment.
Teaching methods: You’ll find that most online courses use a mix of text and visual content to teach, although some go further by providing access to online communities that allow you to chat and collaborate with faculty and peers. As for assessments, you might find yourself answering quiz questions or taking full-blown exams. Both will help reinforce your new skills.
Certification: Do you need formal recognition from your course? Sales management certification might boost your career, improve your reputation and convince your employer to invest in your personal development. If you’re looking to refresh an old skill or fill a knowledge gap, proof of success may not be necessary.
The best sales management training courses allow you to refine old skills, learn new ones and keep up with evolving trends so you can close deals and stay ahead of your competition.
With such a broad range of sales management training programs available, you should have no trouble finding one that matches your ambitions, schedule, learning style and budget.