Sales Managing vs. Training vs. Coaching: What’s the Difference?

modern classroom

Pinpointing the difference between sales managing, training, and coaching can be difficult. Although they’re often used interchangeably, each one means something different. The main difference is the delivery and desired outcome of the approach.

Training focuses on a specific set of skills and isn’t necessarily a 1:1 approach between a manager and employee. Coaching, on the other hand, is usually a one-on-one approach focused on continual skill improvement at regular intervals. Finally, sales managing is the management of the day-to-day responsibilities of managing a sales team.

Sales ManagementSales TrainingSales Coaching
DefinitionSales management is the process of hiring and training staff, creating a successful sales strategy, and coordinating operations to execute that strategy.Sales training is learning something new. It could be learning about: new features of a product update, new organizational messaging, new sales processes and tactics for sales conversations. It could even be learning how to use new sales tech or how to improve the approach to a cold call.Sales coaching is the ongoing development of sales skills.  

Coaching takes place before and after calls to identify what worked, what didn’t, and what next steps are; refine sales skills to ensure salespeople don’t reinforce bad habits; and direct them on how to improve their key weaknesses.
Leader TitleSales Manager
Sales Director
Sales enablement Sales learning and development teams, depending on the structure of your organizationMost sales managers wish for time to coach and role play with their team on a regular basis, but their workload makes it difficult to coach, so this often slips through the cracks.
Key ActivitiesSales Operations
Sales Strategy
Sales Analysis
Developing Training,
Implementing Training
Managing and Overseeing Sales Education Process
Call Review
Call Coaching
Content Feedback
Behavioral Feedback
How AI can helpAdd intelligence to all components of sales managementAutomate and personalize sales trainingAutomate and personalize sales coaching
Key OutcomesHitting and exceeding  sales targetsEnabling reps to hit/exceed sales targets and
drive a better sales process and selling outcomes
Empowering reps to hit/exceed sales targets,
identify and drive winning behaviors and better selling skills and outcomes

Each one is equally important in the workplace, and none should be seen as less vital than another. To help you better understand the importance of sales managing, training, and coaching, we’ll go into more detail about each aspect of these phrases and why an AI-powered coaching platform can help sales organizations manage their sales teams more efficiently.

Sales Managing: What is it?

Sales management is the day-to-day management of a sales team. A manager oversees everything that goes on within their team, and they’re typically the ones to implement training and/or coaching. They may track sales performance, coordinate with other decision-makers, and communicate with each individual on their team. 

Managers often continue working even after leaving the office. They have to set sales objectives, and quotas, and look into sales forecasting for the next quarter and/or year. While not all managers do the training and coaching, some are extremely involved with their employees, setting up one-on-one sessions to help an employee improve their sales rate, or discussing more skills they need to work on. 

When it comes to sales, a manager must be competent, involved with their employees, and organized. Usually, sales managers in this field have a previous history of successful sales, which is a great help when managing a team of salesmen. There are several jobs a manager must juggle, all while making sure their employees are staying on track, as well as trained properly. 

Sales Training: How Does it Work?

Even if someone already has spectacular general selling skills, a new employee needs to be trained contextually within the company. Each company has different processes, methodologies, talk tracks, and positioning, so you can’t count on a new employee to do things perfectly if they’re coming from a different sales team. They may have sold insurance efficiently, but moving on to pharma sales requires more training. 

Related: Buyers’ Guide to Communication Skills Training

When a sales rep goes through company training, they’re being taught a specific skillset and company-related information to successfully sell a product. Sales training most often occurs during the onboarding period but should be continued throughout an employee’s time at the company. Even a sales manager can benefit from extra training every so often (“coach the coach”). 

Keep in mind that not every training session will work for all employees. Some may need extra help understanding the material, and some may need to go about the process in a different way. This is why it’s so important for a sales manager to get to know their employees. In order to know what they need, you must understand their strengths and weaknesses. 

How Do I Know Which Employees Need More Training?

All employees in the workplace will likely need more training based on their strengths and weaknesses. Despite how things have changed in the world of sales, old training methods are often used to teach skills to new or existing employees. These methods are based on past sales tactics of the past, not on the sales tactics that work today. It tends to be used for all employees without focusing on the specific areas an individual may need help in. 

AI technology is now being used to improve the training process though. Being human trained, it can pick up on an employee’s strengths and weaknesses in the sales force. An employee may be an expert in the product and industry, but lack the communication skills needed to land a sale. This is where AI technology can help. It provides an unbiased measure of current verbal and non-verbal behavioral skills to identify strengths and weaknesses, then provides a path towards individual skills improvement.

Sales Coaching: How is it Different From Training?

Sales coaching is more of a “one on one” approach with an employee. This could be provided by a manager, trainer, or someone specifically hired to coach employees. A sales coach will focus on an individual and what they need help with when it comes to being a high-performing salesperson.

These people help other employees understand what areas they need to focus on and how they can improve. However, doing this with each and every employee can be frustrating. One employee may receive a lot of help, while another might be somewhat neglected. Being a sales coach is a lot to handle sometimes, but it’s an important role in the industry. 

How an AI System Can Improve Sales Coaching

First of all, using an AI system for sales coaching will not replace a sales coach, but give them better tools to help the employees they coach. It just makes their job easier by providing feedback and learning for every employee. As people, we all have our biases, but an AI does not. Supported by data collected from millions of people, an AI system almost erases any bias a sales coach may have towards sales techniques or skills.

Related: AI will not replace communication coaches, but communication coaches who use AI will replace those who don’t.

Using an AI system will provide a sales coach data that allows them to show an employee their progress in certain areas. They can see how they’ve improved or where they need to show more progress. It also helps when it comes to constructive criticism; the sales coach doesn’t have to provide any bad news directly since the AI provides an objective and standard measure of performance. This means the sales coach and employee can have a better relationship in the workplace, possibly improving productivity for both individuals. 

With an AI coaching platform, every rep has on-demand access to coaching to continually improve their communications skills. There’s no need to worry about trying to interact with each employee on a daily basis as a coach when you have an AI coaching platform to guide them.

Why an AI System is a Good Idea for Your Company

The idea of using an AI system for training and coaching your employees might be scary. It’s new and different, and everyone is afraid AIs will replace their jobs, but that isn’t true. An AI system for your sales team is meant to improve their productivity and skills. It won’t make the sales, but it will provide the data and coaching tools necessary to upskill every rep so the entire team is more effective at communicating and closing deals.

One problem companies face is the growing number of online sales, and the skills lacking to keep up with it. Most training is still based on old sales techniques, but sales reps often don’t have time to significantly influence purchase decisions and customer preferences. If you don’t know what a customer prefers, how can you truly help in so little time?

Given this, it’s more important than ever to have a well-trained sales team. They need to be able to get the point across, make the sale, and ensure the customer feels heard. Sales reps must be proficient in what they do, and incorporating an AI system for individualized training and coaching makes the learning process quicker, easier, and more effective. 

Even though it’s projected that over 50% of sales will become or are virtual it’s still hard for a manager or coach to effectively evaluate the communication skills of individual employees. You may be able to view chat logs, but evaluating them is an entirely different thing.

Evaluating a phone call between an employee and a customer can be even harder, but an AI system knows exactly how to do it. Conversation intelligence is one of the many things an AI system provides, which, according to g2, is “software that uses artificial intelligence to analyze speech or text in order to derive data-driven insights from conversations between sales agents and customers.” Basically, this means an AI system can provide feedback and training to improve an employee’s communication skills when speaking with a customer. 

An AI-powered platform helps sales organizations manage their sales teams more effectively and objectively. Instead of trying to manage each employee’s success as a whole, this platform gives reps individual control over their own success at their own speed. 

All training is personalized with unbiased conversation performance evaluations, scores that show their strengths and weaknesses, and personalized training modules to upskill them. With this technology, sales coaches can guide their teams to lasting behavior change that leads to better sales conversations that lead to more sales and customer loyalty.

The right training can make a huge difference in the profit of a pharmaceutical sales company. A sales team can be given all that and more by integrating the use of an AI system with what they already have. It makes things easier on the sales reps, coaches, and managers on the team, providing everyone with tools to enhance the skills they’ve been given, and learn what they haven’t been taught. 

Give Your Sales Team What They Need

Quantified provides only the best conversation intelligence and AI-powered coaching system for pharmaceutical organizations. Known as the “Level Up Customer Impact” program, Quanitifed’s AI-powered coaching system averages a 20% increase in sales performance when used as an integral part of sales training and coaching. 

Salesforce conversation intelligence, AI-powered rep coaching, message optimization, and sales benchmarking are what make this platform so effective. It’s all personalized and easy to use, giving your team unbiased communication skills assessment and training they need to succeed. Request a demo to see how our successful program works and integrate it into your employees’ training.