Sales training regimes and sales coaching endeavors are both becoming staples of modern offices, but countless entrepreneurs and business managers who are trying to up the skills of their employees are making crucial mistakes that end up setting them back. That’s because there are a number of key differences between sales coaching and sales training that need to be accounted for, as one is definitely not the same as the other.
Here’s how you can learn to tell the difference between sales coaching and training, and how you can implement a sales coaching regime that will bolster your employee’s skills in the long run.
Coaching gets a bad rep
Before we even begin discussing the differences between sales coaching and sales training, it’s worth talking about the poor reputation that sales coaching is often stuck with in today’s market. When many business managers use the term sales coaching, they’re often referring to taking extra time to deal with employees who may be lagging behind, and view it with a negative connotation. Sales training, we’re told, is the preferable route to take if you’re really trying to turbocharge your workers with the skills needed to succeed in a digitally-driven economy.
As a matter of fact, however, sales coaching can be vastly more personable and effective than sales training regimes ever can be, and should be especially relied upon by smaller businesses or firms. That’s because sales coaching features more direct, one-on-one teaching than sales training does, especially since the latter is often defined by its broad reach that’s meant to impact every worker in the company. To put it simply, sales training is just too broad to do much good, and sales coaching is a much more beneficial route to take when it comes to actually engaging with and teaching your workers in a meaningful way.
If you take a look at some defining facets of a successful sales coaching initiative, you’ll quickly find that it’s much more personable than sales training regimes, which tend to treat your workers like faceless drones that all need to be taught the same lesson. Sales coaching recognizes that employees are individuals, and that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t be that effective, especially when it comes to bolstering employee engagement in the learning process. You should essentially be viewing your sales coaching program as a mentorship program, because it will entail pairing up a “coach” employee or manager with a “rookie” worker who’s in need of guidance.
Sales training efforts should be limited to broad conferences or yearly events that emphasize a single skill that each one of your employees needs to know. When it comes to the day-to-day improvement of your workers, however, a sales coaching approach will be much more efficient at making them feel comfortable while they’re instilled with new skills from your more experienced employees. If you doubt the power of coaching programs, merely take a look at the immense benefits of employee mentoring programs, which pay for themselves in no time.
Your training should be driven by individuals
Large corporate entities that possess huge numbers of workers will struggle with developing good sales coaching regimes for one simple reason: they’re tailor-made for your business, and should be designed to maximize the potential of every one of your employees. What works during today’s sales coaching session might not work during tomorrow’s, meaning that in order to really continually develop your employee’s skills over a long period of time, you’ll need to constantly be updating your sales coaching regime.
Far too many managers fail when implementing coaching strategies, however, often because they fail to differentiate between the dual-nature of coaching and the much broader nature of sales training initiatives. Sales coaching is defined more by listening to your employee’s specific needs than anything else, given that it’s a reciprocal process that entails both the amateur and the expert learning from one another. Unlike sales training exercises, sales coaching exercises won’t be dominated by one-sided lectures, but rather by a give-and-take mentality where both of those involved in the learning process are building off of one another’s progress.
If you’re still struggling to realize the importance of a good sales coaching regime, check out some key tips that will help you reignite the fires of your failing coaching program. Above all else, never allow the line between sales coaching and training to blur, as you simply can’t treat these two things as the same process. A failure to differentiate between these two fundamentally different approaches will inevitably result in your company wasting valuable time, money, and effort, which could be better spent elsewhere. What are you waiting for? Get started setting up a sales coaching regime today, and your staff will be all the better for it sooner than you’d think.
A social media marketing executive and entrepreneur, Alex has led the marketing divisions of some of the UK's leading advertising and PR firms. He specializes in usng the power of big data and business analysis to deliver actionable metrics.
As manager of a large team of digital marketers, Alex is responsible for delivering the training and development of his entire department. He emphasises standardizing procedures and creating an immersive on-boarding process as key to bringing new members to your team.
Outside business, Alex is a keen videographer and music producer, living and working in Brighton, UK.