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Five distinctions between sales coaching and training

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On the surface, coaching and training appear to have the same meaning: both entail assisting in achieving a result. A sports trainer or fitness coach, for example, assists you to realise there are more things you can do to improve your ability. They create an awareness.

In contrast, a personal coach creates the awareness and then finesses the skills with you. The uses, applications, and outcomes of the two sales coaching and training teaching methodologies are very different.

Below are the five primary distinctions between sales coaching and sales training.

One of the primary distinctions between sales counselling and sales training is the level of instruction provided. When it comes to sellers, both coaching and training serve to teach sellers specific skills and techniques.

Sales training seeks to equip trainees with the foundational skills necessary to sell. Exemplifying the fundamental principles of customer pain points and cross-selling without delving too deeply into the best practices for each could be an example of sales training.

In contrast, sales coaching typically goes much further than training. Coaching imparts skills much more tailored to the individual, the team they are a part of, or the company they sell for. Whereas sales training may clarify the “what” of cross-selling, coaching teaches the “why,” “how,” and “when” to the salesperson.

A beneficial analogy for training and coaching would be creating or redesigning a website. You could build a fairly basic website that does what it needs to tell people what you do, which perhaps wouldn’t take much time and serves its purpose – that would be the equivalent of training.

On the other hand, you could invest more time and money to create a complex website that meets all of your customers’ demands and more. It has customer interaction and engagement. Coaching is equivalent to completing the procedure.

Training tends to be superficial and generalised, whereas coaching is more in-depth.

Now that we’ve established that sales training and sales coaching have different objectives, it’s simple to see that they should also target distinct audiences.

Due to the generalisation of sales training, it is possible to train large groups of individuals simultaneously. Imagine a room filled with youthful, energetic sales trainees learning the fundamentals of the art of selling. Many trainees are taught at once.

In contrast, sales coaching is not inherently suited for simultaneously delivering to a large group. This is because coaching is significantly more tailored to the individual’s requirements and circumstances. Just as a coach at the football game can not guide 50 people’s individual development at once, nor can sales instructors.

When envisioning a coaching setup, imagine a conversation between a group of six salespeople and their sales coach rather than a group of trainees attentively listening to the trainer. This aspect of back-and-forth communication is a crucial aspect of coaching that is less important in training.

Due to the multidirectional nature of much of sales coaching, having a medium of discussion and questions answered ‘on demand’ is vital to improving the individual.

Sales training is typically one-to-many, whereas sales counselling is typically one-to-few or one-to-one.

Timing and duration distinguish sales training from sales coaching as an important distinction between the two. As with other types of training, sales training typically occurs at the beginning of a new role or position and at regular intervals. Training schedules can be quite regimented and are rarely tailored to the individual needs of employees.

Contrary to this, sales coaching is the exact inverse. Instead of occurring at the beginning of a new role and at predetermined intervals, mentoring is continuous and entirely dependent on the salesperson’s individual growth. The programme is tailored to the specific needs of the learner.

Depending on the company, a sales training programme might last a few days or a week at the beginning of employment and a few isolated days a year. On the other hand, depending on the employee and employer, a sales mentoring programme could last for an employee’s entire career. However, this is merely a guideline, as coaching is individualised and can be significantly more or less time-intensive.

Due to its individualised nature, the duration of coaching can be as long or as brief as the client desires. Standardised sales training typically occurs at the outset of a position.

Although there are numerous distinctions between sales coaching and sales training, they do not exist in isolation. To get the most out of a sales team, they should receive both appropriate training and individual coaching.

Due to their drastically different natures, it is generally acceptable to provide only training, but it makes little sense to provide only coaching. Due to the fact that sales training provides the groundwork for selling, it is crucial for any salesperson. Coaching, on the other hand, addresses more complex skills and is, therefore, technically elective. Sending employees to events is a common form of coaching.

In some cases, a salesperson may not even require training because, for instance, they may have refined their skills through extensive practice before joining a new company. In order for employers to be less liable for issues that may arise in the future, an increasing number of businesses today require all employees to complete a training programme.

Quick Tip: Salespeople can get by without training, but they do not excel without training and coaching.

Frequently, the decision between sales training and sales coaching is determined by the investment a company is willing to make in its salespeople. Sales training enables more people to be trained simultaneously, imparting the fundamental skills they need to succeed and sell. This makes it the most attractive option for companies with limited resources to invest in their employees or those with a high employee turnover rate.

In contrast, sales coaching requires more time, costs more money, and typically serves far fewer individuals simultaneously. However, investing these resources in salesperson mentoring is one of the characteristics of a company that invests in its employees well.

Sales Focus’s experience in sales coaching over the last two decades has found that salespeople who receive coaching are more confident in their ability to sell, generate more revenue growth (35%), and contribute to a results-driven sales culture.

The form of training, complemented with the right coaching on specific skills, directly contributes to their abilities to manage customer interactions.

Following two of the most isolating years in living memory, people feel more disconnected than ever before. In the current environment, coaching as a means of enhancing employee satisfaction goes a long way. A company that invests in employee development is characterised by the provision of coaching in addition to training. Best of both for the greatest commercial success

After perusing this guide, you may conclude that sales coaching is superior to sales training. In reality, though, the two serve distinct purposes and can’t be compared. They complement each other.

Certainly, sales coaching offers more comprehensive skills development and imparts more individualised success skills. Yet, coaching can be ineffectual without an initial solid foundation of sales training.

Rather than viewing the differences between the two development methods as good or bad, viewing them as tools that are most effective in various situations and at different times is prudent.

In today’s world, sellers need easy-to-access sales training that provides them with the foundations of selling and an understanding of the application of each sales step. With the foundation in place, the sales coaching delves deeper into individual interactions with their customers, personalised coaching on the guidelines established in the training.

The process should be available over twelve months to provide sellers time to continually learn, practice, review and improve throughout the year.

In conclusion, the optimal method for developing a well-rounded sales team combines routine training programmes and individual coaching.

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About the Author: Adele Crane

A leader in Implementation Consulting.
CEOs and Managing Directors have relied on Adele Crane to solve challenges with the performance of their sales and marketing since 1990. Her consulting experience in delivering results in 90-120 days is unprecedented by any other known sales and marketing consulting professional in the world. As an author of 3 acclaimed books, appearances on major media, and publications in USA, NZ and Australia, Adele’s experience brings fresh thinking and contemporary practices to business.