Sales managers are tasked with training and coaching their team. Training is the foundation—solid and structured clear rules—while coaching helps individuals explore their talent and expand their self-awareness.
However, problems arise when managers continue training when they should be coaching. Let’s take a closer look at the differences and consider how you can incorporate coaching into your workforce.
Sales Training and Coaching, Defined
Sales training is better suited for establishing the basic sales concepts, procedures and habits you want your team to use each day. Training establishes benchmarks you can measure and correct; best suited for new hires. These are standard, repeatable, and measurable activities.
How to Be an Effective Coach
In contrast, coaching helps salespeople grow and reach for bigger goals. Once a salesperson has a solid foundation, the sales manager can begin to coach rather than train. Effective coaches help their team members discover solutions on their own accord. If you don’t know where to begin in coaching, pay attention to the following tips:
- Observe rather than tell. Assess a salesperson’s individual approach, strengths and weaknesses. Ask questions about why the sales representative does things a specific way — how do they make their decisions?
- Utilize cutting-edge technology and software tools that allow them to focus on growing their team’s skills.
- Focus on one thing a salesperson can improve by limiting observations and commentary in the field.
- Reinforce best practices from training by recognizing and using the strengths and qualities of each individual salesperson.
- Help the salesperson see what they cannot. Even the best performers have blind spots that may be hampering their performance.
Pay attention to the verbiage of these tips; ask, help and motivate. Utilize these interpersonal techniques to encourage your staff to improve their results.
Don’t forget, though, coaching is more about the relationship than the process. Take time to understand the world of the salesperson and the challenges they face.
The Art of Sales Management
Part of the art of sales management is recognizing when a salesperson has established good working habits, and will benefit from sales coaching. Your job becomes more art than science.
However, the line is not clear-cut. At times, you will need to incorporate coaching methods in the sales training process, depending on the experience of the individual and the specific challenges of your industry.
To learn more about how SalesWise can help you achieve more sales and fail-proof follow up, we invite you to contact us. Our tools give you rapid insight into all of your activities, so you stay connected, on time and on target to your sales goals.