Sales Coaching vs Sales Training

Solving your Sales Process and Technology Challenges

Sales Coaching vs Sales Training

sales coaching sales training combined to increase productivity

Are you looking for a sales trainer or a sales coach? You might already have an idea in mind of what you are looking for. Did you consider that the answer might be both sales training and sales coaching? Determine which will best meet your needs and increase productivity. Check out the graphic below for a hint.

sales training and sales coaching combined increase productivity chart

Let’s first start by understanding the difference between sales training and sales coaching. Simply put, training is putting your best into someone while coaching is drawing the best out of someone.

Sales Training and Sales Coaching Defined

I hear these two terms used interchangeably quite often, typically by those who don’t know any better, or those who simply think coaching is trendy and want to say that is what they do. I keep them quite distinct when working with my clients because the outcomes from each are different, and it is in using training and coaching in tandem that businesses see the most success.

Training may refer to implementing a new technology, process or system. Something where you could use a manual or user guide to describe how to proceed.

Coaching is about listening intently to understand what is being said and why. In doing this a sales coach is able to help the speaker discover the path best suited for them. The following example is based on a common scenario we see at many companies.

Sales Training

Sally is a new salesperson at her company. She needs to learn how to use the company’s CRM, how to track her leads, and how to follow the proven and repeatable sales process at her company. Sally needs sales training.

Now that Sally has the basics down, she is actively working with prospective clients. Sally runs into objections and the sales process has tools in place to help overcome these objections. However, Sally is still not having much luck getting past these objections to close the sale. At this point, simply training Sally again on the sales process or use of the technology tools isn’t going to cut it. Sally needs sales coaching.

Sales Coaching

With coaching, we work with Sally to understand what was going through her mind before, during and after that objection arises. Also, we can look at what Sally thinks is going on inside her prospects mind at this time. This is a key step!

A talented salesperson often has a lot of empathy which allows them to relate to their prospects, building trust and connection quickly. However, this often means that the same salesperson unknowingly projects their own feelings or beliefs into the situation, when it isn’t the case.

Sally kept receiving an objection over price when discussing a particular service her company offers. She is selling this service to people who make at least double her salary. When Sally is quoting the price, in her head she is thinking “this is way too expensive” and that is reflected in her pitch (whether she is reading the exact words from the script or not, the tone and inflection of her voice indicates she is not comfortable with that price). The term expensive is relative, and Sally is projecting. What is too expensive for her may not be for someone making twice as much as she does.

Training combined with Coaching offers the best results.

Utilizing a proven and repeatable process that Sally came to understand during her on-boarding training, she was able to start seeing success in the company quickly. No training program or manual is going to help Sally recognize that she is over-empathizing in this situation. The training provides Sally with a script that is proven to work in addition to the best practices outlined by (though number 8 starts to cross the line into coaching). The coaching sessions are necessary to help Sally discover nuances in how she is presenting that script in this example.

It is important to understand that this is just one example and coaching goes a lot further than just the strategy listed here. You should have a better understanding of the difference between training and coaching and can start to decide what your company needs. If you are unsure, hire a company like Adroit Insights, who provides both coaching and training services. They will be more objective in their determination of whether training, coaching or a combination of the two will benefit your sales people and your company most. Additionally, have a third party conduct a full analysis of your sales process and sales people first and then determine the best approach moving forward.