What You Need to Know Before Becoming a Sales Coach or Sales Trainer

What You Need to Know Before Becoming a Sales Coach or Sales Trainer

Are you in sales and have your eye on becoming a corporate sales trainer or sales coach? Even though many people view the roles as similar, they are in fact two unique positions. At the basic level, both are about improving sales performance. In this article, we explore both roles in detail, how much they earn annually, what the career path looks like and what it takes to be successful in each role.

The Role of a Corporate Sales Trainer

The corporate sales trainer is an individual whose responsibilities include teaching salespeople effective sales strategies for prospecting, discovering, presenting, negotiating, and closing sales. Sales trainers teach both salespeople and sales managers about sales enablement technology, provide product education, and ensure product knowledge about products or services are proficient and comprehensive. The corporate sales trainer will have to lead by example and demonstrate effective sales skills. The job duties also include maintaining accurate performance metrics and evaluating which sales team members need additional skill development. 

Finding Employment as a Corporate Sales Trainer

To get hired as a corporate sales trainer, you need to have extensive prior sales experience working with other salespeople and strong leadership skills. It also will likely require both industry-specific sales experience and demonstrated high sales performance. In addition, a bachelor’s degree in business or marketing is highly preferred. The typical career path includes years of sales experience initially, followed by either sales management or sales coaching. Companies looking to hire a corporate sales trainer are looking for high-performers.

A recommended best practice is to keep detailed sales performance records and document the sales methods that made you successful for future use. When you apply for a corporate sales training position, you will be able to provide both your performance records and sales training material to show a potential employer. 

Another best practice is to attend free sales training sessions, join LinkedIn sales training groups, and update your Google Docs with different sales training methodologies, you learn along the way.  Finally, corporate sales trainers are well-read in all the latest sales books. 

Required Skills for Successful Career as a Corporate Sales Trainers

A successful corporate sales trainer knows how to convey complex concepts so they are simple for less experienced sales reps to understand. This requires both deep and extensive experience in the sales process and buyer behavior. It also requires an understanding of human psychology and the emotional side of selling. This role requires an individual with high Emotional Intelligence. A corporate sales trainer will know how to make their students feel comfortable learning. They are consistently curious about learning new sales strategies and upskilling their current sales skills. This means they invest in themselves. The best sales trainers have a genuine love for the sales profession and desire to share their knowledge with less experienced sales professionals.

The Role of a Sales Coach?

A sales coach provides specialized training for salespeople. Sales coaches help sales reps improve their sales skills to improve performance. Typical job duties include listening to live calls, role-playing, and identifying areas of sales improvement, developing sales coaching programs, onboarding new sales reps, and providing specific help for sales challenges. Sales coaches assess each sales rep’s performance before coaching and evaluate the sales rep’s retention after coaching. This career requires excellent interpersonal skills, extensive sales or customer service experience, and usually a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Where a corporate sales trainer may work with groups or teams, the sales coach’s focus is more on the individual and providing one-on-one coaching. A good sales coach recognizes the personal needs of the individual sales rep and strives to improve the weaknesses as well as their strengths. 

Finding Employment as a Sales Coach

Finding employment as a sales coach can be the first step for a sales rep looking to become a corporate sales trainer. Those interested in sales coaching need a thorough background in sales and a demonstrated history of high sales performance. Most employers prefer a candidate with at least a bachelor’s but a degree is not a mandatory requirement. Other important qualifications include industry experience and excellent communication skills. Professional certification in sales training is also a wise investment. With professional training potential, sales coaches learn how to diagnose coaching needs, develop effective individual messaging, and craft action plans for each direct report. Some sales coaches are employed and work for a single company. Others are self-employed and work as consultants for multiple companies.

Required Skills for Successful Career as a Sales Coach

A professional sales coach is an expert in sales with extensive experience in sales fundamentals, cold calling, social selling, objective handling, and tele-prospecting. Many sales coaches have a bachelor’s degree, but it is not a standard requirement. A proven record of sales success is the main requirement for launching your sales coaching career. Sales coaches should have a natural passion for teaching. You also need excellent problem-solving skills and as corporate sales trainers, must be able to convey complex ideas in simple, easy-to-understand terms. A sales coach will be tasked with uncovering and solving individual sales reps’ deficiencies and assisting them with developing the sales skills to increase their sales performance. This is not a role for an individual who lacks patience or compassion. It is a role that will require the individual to have focus, dedication, humility, and composure. In other words, not every sales rep can be a sales coach. 

In Conclusion

Both career paths’ can be very rewarding personally and financially for a salesperson with the right characteristics. The key requirements are to be naturally curious, a lifelong learner, and have the will to invest in yourself. Sales coaching or sales training may not be for everyone, but for those unique sales professionals with a giving heart and high integrity, it can be an excellent career path after you master the fundamentals of selling. The key is to remember that great sales coaches and sales trainers are made, not born. Anyone can achieve success in sales coaching with dedication and commitment. 

Phil Jackson, the former coach of the 6-time World Champion Chicago Bulls, said this about coaching: “I think the most important thing about coaching is that you have to have a sense of confidence about what you’re doing. You have to be a salesman, and you have to get your players, particularly your leaders, to believe in what you’re trying to accomplish on the basketball floor.” When a sales coach believes in and is confident about what they are doing, success is a natural outcome.