Best Sales Training Programs: Sandler Vs. SMEI

We’ve all seen those rare few salespeople who simply have a knack for sales and seem like they could pull off a multi-million-dollar contract in their sleep. For everyone else, however, sales is a carefully curated skill that only develops after dedicated training and years of experience. That’s why choosing the right sales training program can either get you started on the right foot or take your skills to the next level.

With the abundance of options available today, though, what is the best sales training program that will truly pay off as an investment in your future? Let’s compare two key options: Sandler and SMEI.

Comparing Sandler vs. SMEI as the Best Sales Training Programs

Both the Sandler sales training program and the SMEI sales training program are excellent options for any developing salesperson, but they do have their differences. There are ten important qualities we can use to compare the two.

Sales training is now accessible for everyone who wants to sell more. 

Long-Standing Reputation

good reputation

You want your training program to have a long, established history of success. After all, this allows the team to continuously perfect the program over a number of years. Both Sandler and SMEI have this benefit, as Sandler was founded in 1971 and SMEI was founded in 1935.

Esteemed Among Industry Leaders


Every sales training program is only as good as its results. For that reason, you want to see that your training program has delivered strong enough results to earn the trust of major leaders and organizations. Sandler has long served Fortune 1000 companies and other notable corporations. SMEI, likewise, has been partnering with major universities like Syracuse University, TDTU, Western Governors University, and the University of British Columbia for over 70 years to provide training.

Teaching a Relationship-Based Selling System

sales management training

A relationship-based sales strategy is an important way to break down buyers’ barriers and establish a professional rapport with open communication. Sandler teaches this through its proprietary Sandler Selling System, while SMEI has developed its own customer-centric selling system through ongoing academic research.

Breaking Down the Selling Process Into Clear Steps


Buyers generally go through stages in a buying process whether they realize it or not, and a strong sales program teaches learners how to recognize and work with those steps. Sandler teaches this with the “Sandler Submarine” which outlines a seven-step selling system. SMEI, similarly, teaches a strong customer strategy based on an understanding of buyer behavior and the buying process.

Teaching the Use of a Professional Communication Philosophy


Mastering the art of professional communication is critical for successful selling. A salesperson needs to be able to communicate with buyers in a way that balances confidence with relatability and garners open communication.

In the Sandler sales training, learners discover how to develop an equal business stature with their buyers and establish honest communication. SMEI, on the other hand, teaches salespeople to leverage their natural personalities and develop their own personal selling philosophies and personal communication styles.

Sales training is now accessible for everyone who wants to sell more. 

Educating Students About Strategic Solutions


Salespeople don’t always have an answer to every buyer’s needs or questions off the bat. Finding ways to develop strategic solutions to buyers’ problems or concerns is a critical skill in the sales world.

Sandler teaches this skill by showing learners how to develop unique solutions to the problem at hand while staying within the budget and remaining consistent with the necessary decision-making process. SMEI, similarly, focuses on teaching learners how to develop a product strategy that adds concrete value for their buyers.

Offering Online Instruction

online sales training

Online coursework is in high demand for training programs, including sales training. After all, it makes for far more convenient training and makes the training more accessible to people without access to transportation or childcare.

The Sandler training program includes some online components. SMEI has placed a strong emphasis on online learning, making its course an interactive learning experience that teaches practical knowledge with on-the-job applications. It’s available for learners to complete on-demand and at their own pace.

Offering Classroom Instruction

online sales training

As convenient as online instruction is, it isn’t the best option for everyone. There is a certain amount of coaching and feedback that only happens with in-person instruction, and many people learn better in this environment. For this reason, both Sandler and SMEI offer classroom instruction for their sales training programs through licensed affiliates.

Providing Ongoing Support and Training


Sales strategies and best practices are constantly evolving as we learn more about buyers (and as buyer behavior changes thanks to shifts in our world). In any case, no one is ever truly done learning about sales or finding new ways to improve their skills, and this is why ongoing training and support are so important.

Sandler and SMEI both serve this need in different ways. Sandler offers an alumni resource library, as well as conferences and podcasts for continuous learning. SMEI, on the other hand, hosts monthly educational webinars in addition to publishing blog posts and holding virtual summits that qualify for professional development hours.

Bestows Professional Sales Certification After Completion

Sales training is a tremendous asset for growing your skills, but it’s notCSE Badge always enough to know that you have excellent sales abilities. You may need to convince others of this too, and that is where a professional sales certification comes in handy. It adds to your credibility and shows that your knowledge has been tested and approved.

Sandler and SMEI both offer certifications upon successful completion of their courses. Sandler bestows its proprietary certification while SMEI has a globally recognized, not-for-profit certification board that governs its certifications.

Sales training is now accessible for everyone who wants to sell more. 

Choosing Your Sales Training Program

Whether you’re an individual salesperson looking for a way to grow in your abilities, a business that wants to educate its sales staff, or a school aiming to provide direct sales instruction, the right sales training program can give you tremendous value for your time and investment. Sandler and SMEI are the top sales training programs, each offering fantastic benefits for any stage of your career.

To take the next steps, start by exploring the SMEI course catalog or reaching out to SMEI about training for your organization.