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February 11, 2024

Sales Goals or Learning Goals

Steven Rosen and Colleen Stanley discuss the strategy of simultaneously setting learning and sales goals. They explore the intricate relationship between continuous learning and improving skills for sales leaders, stressing the need for a balance. They share insights on how sales leaders can manage both effectively, creating a culture of ongoing learning. The episode highlights the importance of regular coaching, the role of belief systems in prioritizing learning, and the significance of skill mastery. 

“If we keep learning goals as relevant as we keep sales targets, we’ll get reps who can say that their managers helped them get better in at least one or two areas at the end of the year. Sometimes that’s all it takes to have a major impact on your performance.” – Steven Rosen

Key Takeaways:

  • Setting learning goals alongside sales goals is crucial for creating a learning organization and driving effective execution.
  • Sales leaders should identify the skills needed to achieve sales goals and provide training and resources to develop those skills.
  • Coaching plays a vital role in bridging the gap between knowledge and action, and managers should actively observe and guide sales reps’ behaviors and actions.
  • Balancing sales goals and learning goals requires a focus on skill mastery and progression, ensuring that reps have the necessary skills before moving on to the next objective.
  • Eliminating time-sucking activities and prioritizing training and coaching are essential for creating a continuous learning and development culture.
The interactive podbook below contains videos, audio, articles, summaries, transcripts, and YouTube shorts from this podcast episode.

Full Episode Article:

Title: Sales Goals or Learning Goals”

Byline: By sales leadership and coaching experts Steven Rosen and Colleen Stanley.


In sales leadership, there’s often a gap between what we know and what we do. To that end, some sales organizations prioritize sales goals but overlook the significance of learning goals. Closing this gap and acting on our knowledge can bring more success. In this article, we’ll look at the connection between sales and learning goals. We’ll explain why it’s essential for sales leaders to establish both. 

The Importance of Setting Learning Goals

Sales leaders often heavily focus on sales goals and activity metrics, drowning in numbers. However, it’s vital to inquire whether salespeople possess the skills to meet these targets. This is where learning goals become crucial. Leaders ensure their teams have the necessary skills to succeed by setting learning goals alongside sales goals.

One of the best examples involves a company introducing new business development goals. Recognizing the need for extra training, they brought in experts for areas like social media, territory planning, and sales messaging. Integrating sales and learning goals empowered the company to support its salespeople effectively with resources and training, leading to successful execution.

Balancing Sales Goals and Learning Goals

Maintaining a balance between sales goals and learning goals is crucial for sales leaders. One effective approach is adopting a methodology akin to funnel management, involving leading and lagging indicators. For each leading indicator, like prospecting activities, sales leaders should pinpoint the specific training or coaching required to master that skill. For instance, if email prospecting is a leading indicator, salespeople may benefit from training in copywriting to craft compelling emails effectively.

Another vital aspect of balancing sales and learning goals is recognizing patterns in sales performance. Analyzing the sales funnel enables leaders to identify areas where reps may need additional coaching or training. This could encompass hard skills like navigating complex sales processes and soft skills like assertiveness or emotional intelligence. Addressing these patterns through targeted coaching helps sales leaders guide their teams in bridging the gap between knowledge and action.

The Role of Coaching in Skill Mastery

Coaching is pivotal in helping salespeople master the skills necessary for achieving their sales goals. Simply providing training is insufficient; sales leaders must actively observe and guide their teams to ensure that the set learning goals are implemented in practice.

Using coaching plans and journeys is an effective approach. These plans outline specific learning objectives for each salesperson, serving as a dynamic document revisited regularly. Integrating coaching into daily interactions, like brief check-ins, enables sales leaders to hold their teams accountable and actively pursue learning goals.

Furthermore, sales leaders must prioritize coaching and incorporate it into their daily routines. This may necessitate a shift in mindset and a commitment to eliminating time-consuming activities unrelated to revenue generation. By dedicating time to coaching and skill development, sales leaders foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement within their teams.


Setting sales goals is crucial, but it’s equally important to set learning goals alongside them. This helps bridge the gap between what we know and do, creating an agile, resilient, and impactful learning organization. Balancing sales goals and learning goals involves focusing on skill mastery, providing ongoing coaching, and cutting out time-consuming activities. Implementing coaching plans, analyzing sales patterns, and offering targeted training can help sales leaders guide their teams to achieve sales goals while continuously developing skills.

Ultimately, the combination of sales and learning goals leads to long-term success in sales leadership. By investing in their people’s development, sales leaders can drive growth and achieve objectives. So, when setting sales goals, remember also to set learning goals and bridge the gap between knowledge and action.

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