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What’s the difference between sales training and sales coaching?

July 17, 2022

There are some who believe that sales training and sales coaching isn’t all that different for one another. We have also seen a few who use them interchangeably. However, there are significant distinctions between the two.

Here in this blog, we’ll highlight the distinctions between sales training and sales coaching and explain why sales coaching is better and more effective than sales training.

What is sales training

Sales training is the process of learning how to sell and engage with customers. This can be done through classroom instruction and practical application, which can be provided by companies themselves or outsourced to a third party.

The goal of sales training is to provide the salesperson with knowledge about the product or service, as well as skills for selling the product or service. The knowledge may include information about pricing, features and benefits of the product or service, and different customer segments.

Sales training comprises developing skills such as:

  • finding potential customers
  • understand the needs of the customers
  • ways to manage objections and overcome them
  • pitching a product or a service to the customer
  • various techniques to close a deal.

After a salesperson has successfully completed their sales training, they have better selling skills, expanded knowledge of their company’s products and services, and the know-how about closing techniques.

What is sales coaching

Sales coaching includes everything that sales training has to offer, and then some more. While much of the focus is on improving sales performance, the end goal of a sales coaching program is to help salespeople develop all aspects of their professional lives. This includes both professional and personal life, such as developing interpersonal relationships, managing finances, managing time, and improving self-esteem.

Sales coaching is done in-person or remotely — through one-on-one meetings, group meetings, and via phone or video conferences. In addition to having sales training, sales coaching also includes:

  • Goal setting to help motivate salespeople and to coach them about the best time management techniques
  • Advanced techniques such as gamification and leaderboards to infuse a healthy sense of competition
  • 360-Feedback that looks at salespeople’s performance from individual as well as team perspective
  • Milestones to give salespeople sense of accomplishment
  • Personality development to help salespeople get confident in personal as well as professional life.

With a good sales coaching program, salespeople not only get adept at selling, but they also get ahead in their professional careers.

Difference between sales training and sales coaching

Sales training and sales coaching are both effective ways to improve your team’s sales performance. The distinction between the two lies between approaches and expected outcomes. Knowing the distinctions will help you determine which to use and when, allowing you to accelerate the development of your sales team.

Frequency

Sales training is usually a one-time program that focuses on the teaching of sales skills and techniques. Sales coaching, on the other hand, is a more personal approach to teaching the same, but can be on a frequent basis. It includes more one-on-one time with the individual to help them develop their skills and overcome any obstacles they may be facing.

Function

Sales training takes a “micro” approach. It looks to impart a salesperson with the skills necessary to become effective in selling, whereas sales coaching takes an all-encompassing “macro” approach to help them in all areas of their professional lives, and not just sales. Sales coaching is also much more personalized and hands-on than sales training because it focuses on specific needs of the individual or team. The coach will work closely with each person to identify what they require and then provide them with solutions to help them reach their goals.

Sales coaching tailors feedback to each salesperson’s needs, helping them work on their weak areas and identify where they excel and reinforcing their strengths. Sales training, on the other hand, simply helps your company lay down a solid foundation and setting up new salespersons for success.

One teaches, the other refines

While sales training focuses on teaching salespeople how to sell and equipping them with the necessary skill set, sales coaching focuses on refining and tweaking an employee’s current skill set and knowledge. In contrast to the static nature of sales training, which takes place only once, sales coaching is an ongoing, dynamic process that takes place far more frequently than sales training does.

Who does it

Sales coaching is more formalized than sales training which can be a one-time event or ongoing coaching. It is also more diverse and involves several moving parts. It’s common for high-performing companies to engage an outside agency to design and implement sales coaching programs. 

It’s more likely for companies to handle sales training in-house. Sales training is simple in the sense that sales training programs are relatively easy to design and implement. But owing to the complexities that come with designing and implementing sales coaching programs for holistic growth of salespeople, it’s best to leave it to third parties who excel at it.

End result

Sales training helps sales professionals adapt their approach when working with diverse types of industries, businesses, and buyers. It helps generate much more interest in your website, products, and services.

Sales coaching helps your company achieve their growth goals by directly helping them to increase win rates, grow strategic accounts, improve sales cycle time, and increase average deal size. It ensures that success continues by identifying each individual sales rep’s weaknesses and empowering them to continually improve.

If you want to build resilience that will repay multifold in the future, sales coaching can help you do that.

Final word

Consider the difference between a coach and a trainer. To train is to show how things are done, and to coach is to guide someone on their journey to self-betterment and professional growth. Our team at Spinify understands that, and we have built our entire sales coaching framework around this. We deploy advanced methods to ensure that your salespeople will have the necessary skills to crush their goals and targets. Our sales coaching programs have helped thousands of salespeople reach the potential and hundreds of companies grow in size.If you have questions, feel free to reach out to us and chat with us. We promise you will be talking to an actual human being. No chatbots!

Put those insights into practice.

Set your team up for success by improving their performance through gamification.


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