Sales Managing vs. Training vs. Coaching

March 12, 2019

Sales managing, training, coaching: These three words are often used interchangeably, but they are actually quite different in the world of sales enablement. While there is some overlap, all sales managing, training, and coaching should work in conjunction with one another to maximize the performance of your sales team. But what are the distinctions between them?

Knowing the difference in approaches and how to integrate each into your sales enablement program will keep your team efficient and get sellers well on their way to closing deals easier and faster.

Sales Managing

Sales management is rather self-explanatory: it involves the everyday management of the salesforce and operations, as well as selecting and implementing new programs and techniques that will drive success of the sales team as a whole. Sales organizations often have different kinds of managers specializing in managing a variety of teams. Whatever the breakdown of the team, managers oversee day-to-day tasks of the team and ensure everyone is doing their job.

A manager is responsible for hiring and onboarding new reps, advocating for them to upper management, analyzing sales performance, tweaking  goals and strategies, and developing performance reports.

Sales Training

Sales training is a more technical practice, focusing on teaching sales reps specific information, techniques and tools they need to sell effectively. From annual training events, to ongoing review of relevant materials, the goal of training should be to arm your reps with the knowledge they need to reach optimal performance in the shortest amount of time.

However, sales training shouldn’t be seen as “one size fits all;” different people learn and develop in ways and paces. Provide a catalog of training content that is accessible via desktop and mobile gives reps the ability to review what they need to review, when they need to review it. 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. A quick video guide or one pager accessible via a tablet or phone en route to the meeting provides all the information they need. Managers should track completion of various training materials and offer quizzes and surveys to gauge where every rep stands.
 
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Sales Coaching

While training focuses on teaching reps certain skills and providing them with all the resources they need, sales coaching involves listening to reps and focusing on what support they need to be successful. It accelerates training by providing individualized attention for each rep. One-off training is beneficial in keeping reps up to speed, but information gets lost after a couple of months. Coaching reinforces what was learned and keeps performance consistent over time.

Managers should naturally take on the role of sales coaching, as they are already leading teams and should be monitoring performance and observing their team every day. The approach for every seller on the team will be different, but regardless of specifics, 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.


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. Using a tool to support your managing, training, and coaching approaches will make it all a lot easier to execute moving forward. Showpad helps organizations provide sales teams with everything they need to reach their goals and generate revenue.

7 Steps to Building a Winning Sales Enablement Program

7 Steps to Building a Winning Sales Enablement Program