The difference between sales training and sales coaching

Peady’s Selling Engagement

As many of you know I conduct sales training and sales coaching with media sales teams and their leaders. It’s a role I thoroughly enjoy and get a great deal of satisfaction from, which leads me onto the subject – sales coaching, its power and its ROI.

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.


There are plenty of case studies and evidence to show the financial value (or ROI) of sales coaching. 
Trish Bertuzzi wrote about this in “The Sales Development Playbook” and quotes data from a CEB Global study:

Monthly coaching  Team % of budget
 Less than 2 hours 90%
 2-3 hours 92%
 3+ hours 107%

The Sales Readiness Group 2017 Sales Management Research found that sales managers at organisations where over 75% of sales reps achieve budget or quota spend significantly more time coaching than sales managers at average businesses where only 25% to 75% of reps achieve budget.

The Gartner Group reports experiential learning (or coaching) versus classroom-based training yields three times higher employee performance and similar levels of higher employee engagement. 

These examples and many others present a strong case for sales coaching with a solid ROI.


The difference between training and coaching

Let’s be clear there is a significant difference, however many sales managers confuse the two. They show their peoplehow and do it (which is training) but most of us learn by ‘doing’ which includes making mistakes. Salespeople benefit from the in-field selling experience with the sales manager, who can appraise the results to help improve performance (that’s coaching).

Sales coaching has two big benefits:

  1. Grows the skills of the sales manager. The more you learn about coaching, the more you apply those learnings and the feedback you receive is enormous. Coaching also gives you the insight to identify issues impacting the performance of your team. 
  2. Is highly personalised and targets specific selling skills for each member of the sales team via a focused plan. Over time this improves the results of all salespeople in the team and their productivity.

What salespeople want

I know many will disagree but the most important role for any sales manager is individualised or personalised in-field sales coaching. Working with each sales person on two to three skill areas and providing feedback based on observations from sales calls. 

Don’t believe me, well go and ask any salesperson if they feel that effective in-field sales skill coaching will help them. I’m yet to hear anyone say it won’t!

Until next week, good selling.

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]