March 12, 2019
Updated: December 1, 2020

Sales Managing vs. Training vs. Coaching

Believe it or not, sales management is different from sales training and coaching, just as sales training is separate from sales coaching and managing. 

These three phrases (sales managing, training and coaching) are often used interchangeably, but they are actually quite distinct in the world of sales enablement. It’s important to grasp the thrust of each concept in order to truly drive sales performance and success across your organization and sales team.

This can be a bit difficult to do because overlap certainly does occur across all three. However, digging deep into each will allow your business to empower reps and enhance sales enablement. Making this effort will also help you coordinate all three activities so that your business can reap the full benefits of a top-tier sales management program that blends the three disciplines.

But before you reach that stage, your sales leaders must appreciate the differences between sales coaching, training and managing. With this knowledge, you can integrate each approach within your greater sales enablement vision and strategy. 

To help you understand what separates sales training, coaching and managing, let’s take a closer look at the definition of each, as well as how they are deployed in practice. You can then use the insight to fully build out your sales enablement program to leverage all three activities.

Sales managing

Sales management is largely centered around the day-to-day responsibilities of managing a sales team. A sales manager is typically focused on everyday management duties like tracking sales performance through various metrics, coordinating with other decision-makers in sales or other departments, and individually communicating with each salesperson on daily tasks.

Of course, the sales manager’s job also extends beyond the day to day. Managers are also intimately involved in setting sales objectives and quotas, as well as undertaking quarterly sales forecasting and other high-level projects. 

Though managers do operate on an interpersonal level, they are often more busy with the numbers and tangible aspects of a sales operation. For instance, while a sales manager may hold a one-on-one meeting with a salesperson, the manager might choose to focus on workload, productivity or account-specific questions rather than asking what skills the sales rep thinks they need to improve in. 

Also, sales managers are also responsible for hiring and onboarding new reps. A manager might comb through resumes, interview candidates and ultimately advocate for applicants to upper sales management. 

And as we’ll see, the sales onboarding process illustrates how the three disciplines of managing, training and coaching can work in unison to drive sales enablement and success.

Sales training

We can best understand the point of sales training by using that example of the onboarding process.

A new hire might be a natural-born salesperson, but without the right education they may not have a shot at becoming an effective sales professional.

That’s where sales training comes in. In reality, sales training is a more technical practice that focuses on teaching sales reps specific information, techniques and best practices they need to sell effectively. This commonly occurs during the onboarding process, but is not exclusive to it. Sales training can be deployed across the lifetime of a sales rep, as there are always new trends, products or markets.

The bottom line is that your goal should be to establish and maintain a sales training program that arms your sales reps with the know-how they require to effectively sell and drive success for your organization. This sales training program should be built on pillars like annual training events, ongoing review and periodic training refreshes.

However, sales training shouldn’t be seen as “one size fits all;” different people learn and develop in ways and paces. To factor this individuality in, think about creating a catalog of training content. Making it accessible via desktop and mobile gives sales reps the ability to review whatever training materials they need whenever they need to do so. 

For instance, if reps are going into a product demo for a customer, they may want to brush up on their knowledge of that product in order to prepare — something Showpad’s sales enablement platform can make happen. Digesting a quick video guide or one-pager on a smartphone when en route to the meeting provides sales reps with all the information they need. Using our solution, a manager can pitch in with sales training or onboarding and track completion of various training materials delivered by a sales leader.

One thing to think about with sales training is organizational culture. Your business needs to foster a culture that emphasizes learning, as well as continuous learning. Your sales leaders should lead by example here, and underscore to the entire department the value in learning new things all the time.

Sales coaching

Trying to understand the difference between sales training and coaching? Think of training as a science, and sales coaching as an art.

Whereas training focuses on teaching sales reps certain information, sales coaching involves listening to reps, and focusing on what each individual needs in terms of leadership, support and skill improvement to be successful. In many ways, effective sales coaching reinforces what was learned and aims to elevate performance over time.

A sales coach is a distinct role on the sales team, even if other professionals take up the mantle. Whenever they do, they need to put aside sales management or training tactics and adopt a sales coaching mindset that prioritizes the individual rep, rather than metrics or learning.

This is important because the approach for every seller on the team will be different. Regardless of specifics, sales coaches must sit down one-on-one regularly to address achievements and areas for improvement, as well as questions and concerns.

Ultimately, sales coaching helps reps understand what they need to do personally to progress, and holds them accountable, resulting in a long-term improvement in performance. For example, a sales coach may sit in on a sales call with a new lead, and then give feedback to the salesperson on what they did right, what they did wrong and what they can do better.

Leverage Showpad to unify sales managing, training and coaching

By implementing this trifecta of sales processes, you’ll have a well-rounded team prepared to take on buyer conversations and turn those buyers into customers. 

But to successfully deploy sales managing, training and coaching, you’ll need a comprehensive platform to support your operation. Showpad is that all-in-one solution that can bring your sales programs to the next level. 

Contact us today to learn more about Showpad or to receive a product demo.

7 Steps to Building a Winning Sales Enablement Program

7 Steps to Building a Winning Sales Enablement Program