What is the difference between Sales Training and Sales Coaching?

71 percent of all customers buy a product or service based on trust. In most cases, this trust comes from the salesperson or your sales team, and one of the best ways to make sure that your sales team makes an impact and builds trust is to first train them and then coach them over time to improve. 

While the phrases sales training and sales coaching have been used synonymously, they are not the same. 

Sales training introduces a salesperson to new processes, products, techniques, and resources. While sales coaching helps improve a salesperson’s technique while on the job.

At its core both sales training and sales coaching, help your sales team get the skills or resources they require to do their job, better. 

Having said that here is everything that is different between sales coaching and training. 

\begin{table}[] \begin{tabular}{lll} & \textbf{Sales Training} & \textbf{Sales Coaching} \\ \textbf{Who is it for?} & New hires and Existing team if a new process or product is introduced & Existing team members and new hires \\ \textbf{When is it done?} & At the beginning of a new sales process or when a new hire starts with the company & While on the job to improve the sales performance \\ \textbf{What is taught?} & Company playbooks, Audience details, resources, and processes & How to improve or sell better to the target audience \\ \textbf{Who is responsible for this?} & HR dept or Sales dept as a whole. Is a part of onboarding. & The sales manager \end{tabular} \end{table}

Training is for teaching something new. Coaching for improving existing skills. 

Sales training at its core aims to help new or existing sales members familiarize themselves with the process, persona, tools, and other aspects of selling the product or services to target customers.

This includes familiarizing them with how the product works, how customer onboarding works, and where each sales resource can be found.  

  

Usually, sales training is done as part of initial onboarding that takes place after hiring fresh talent this can be new sales folks or experienced sales agents. 

 

Sales training is for new sales hires. Sales coaching is for the existing teams.

The premise of sales training is teaching a new product, process, or market condition to sales folks. In most cases, these sales folks are new to the team while in some cases these can be existing sales folks. 

Like when a new product is released or a new market is being targeted. 

Sales coaching is purely for existing sales folks, it is more about improving their skills to help improve their overall sales performance than teaching a new skill, playbook, or process. 

Sales training teaches company playbooks, sales coaching helps improve individual skills

Sales training is aimed at teaching tools and standard processes that a salesperson might require while they sell to target customers.

 

These include standard playbooks, ethics guidelines, competition, common objections and how to handle them, and any other resources that would get them started. 

Sales coaching, on the other hand, is about improving what salespeople are currently doing. 

This usually means improving how they tackle customer objections or answer pricing queries and how they implement processes taught to them in during sales training. 

Why should you opt for sales training?

Sales training is for introducing new or existing sales folks to new processes, products, markets, or resources so that they could use this information to effectively sell and reach their sales goals. 

It becomes the starting point for sales folks whenever something new is introduced to the mix. Especially when a salesperson is introduced to a new company or product or market, they might not be aware of the processes, best practices, or customer behavior that would be essential to succeed. 

Sales training fills this gap and allows salespeople to be ready when they eventually start selling. 

In most cases, sales training is for any sales team that is venturing into something new; new hires, new market, new product, or new processes.

Why should you opt for sales coaching?

Sales coaching though in essence very similar to sales training is meant to improve the sales team’s performance by helping them identify and then rectify issues within what they are already doing. 

Sales coaching is especially beneficial for underperforming sales reps, where the sales manager can help the salesperson find areas they can improve on and then help them improve using coaching initiatives

This would include looking at the current processes that the salesperson follows in addition to the sales calls and meetings they do, to identify places that might need improvement.

Once identified the sales coach or usually, sales managers can work with the salesperson one-on-one or in a group to help rectify the problems over consecutive weeks or months. 

Ideally, though, sales coaching needs to be a quarterly if not a monthly affair, where sales managers look at various aspects of customer conversations to understand and improve how the sales team deals with customers. 

Why do you need both Sales coaching and sales training?

As a sales leader, If recurring, predictable, and stable sales numbers are your goal then coaching your sales team cannot be avoided. Sales teams that are left to fend for themselves either see a lot of churns or see lower sales numbers over time making sales coaching an essential tool for every sales manager.

Though sales coaching does help sales folks to evolve to meet customers changing behavior that is rarely intentional and any changes in the market, customer behavior or product would make improving existing processes obsolete.

This is where sales training comes to play. 

Markets, customer behavior, and product change, might not happen over a week or a month but almost always every year and sometime over a quarter. In this case, the company and the sales teams need to adjust their strategy on how they reach out to, engage and close new business. 

Though not as frequent as sales coaching; sales training needs to be at least a half-yearly affair where sales teams are taught about the new changes and then help them evolve their own processes to meet these changes. 

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