January is the month of resolutions and predictions. Keeping that in mind, we posed a question on our Twitter and LinkedIn group: what do you think will be 2011's biggest trends for Sales Training?

And judging from the response, this is something you've all spent time thinking about! Here are three of the recurring trends you'd like to see for sales training.

Reinforcement Plans will (finally) catch on.

It's not news that training fades without reinforcement. It's just human nature to go back to habits you had before. But when those bad habits are actively costing you money in training, retraining, and headaches when you need to train again, you need to change them.

Reinforcement plans help changing those habits in two ways. The first is it lets you catch small issues before they snowball into large, costly problems. In other words, if you keep the content fresh in a sales reps' mind, they're likely to keep trying it.

Reinforcement plans also help you weed out ineffective training programs. When you can rule out the possibility that sales teams just aren't using the new information, you can start to see how effective the training really was. And what's the result of more informed decisions? More applicable training.

Web-based training will surge.

The largest advantage of web-based training is it can be done anywhere at any time. This helps every field, but most of all sales. Looking for something to do at lunch? Brush up on your listening and questioning skills. Up late at night worried about closing a big deal with a client? Take a refresher course on closing. Best of all, instead of wasting valuable selling time during the day taking a class, you're free to take it on your own time.

Of course, this is talking about web-based training as asynchronous (a fancy way of saying it's recorded instead of live). In terms of synchronous learning though, it still enables a mass sales force to be trained all at the same time across the world. What more can you ask for?

The big question about web-based training is what's going to end up being more popular? "Bite-sized" training meant to reinforce, or large-scale training plans that replace the classroom?

Sales Coaching will overtake Sales Training

This was one of the more surprising trends we noticed, but it makes sense. As one commenter so aptly put it:

"Training is for products and processes. Coaching is for working with the individual and helping them apply their style to the product and process."

Sales coaching allows for individualized treatment as opposed to broad general instruction. When you're asking for a sales rep's input as opposed to simply telling them what to do, they're also more likely to be invested in the answer. After all, they came up with it. Not only that, but it allows you to bring the best out of what's already there instead of putting something new in that might not work for them.

So, what do you think? Is it time to do away with the classroom and invest in the web? Should we be changing our name to "Sales Coaching Drivers"? Let us know what trends you see for 2011 in the comments section.

Photo credit: macbeck (http://www.flickr.com/people/macbeck/)