January 11, 2022
12 Effective Sales Coaching Tips That Work
If you ever played sports growing up, you can probably remember your favorite coach and the ones who didn’t make the cut. What made some so great and others so bad? Maybe your football coach set realistic expectations and knew how to motivate you, so he earned your respect. Or maybe your basketball coach picked favorites or yelled too much. Either way, you know the difference a good or bad coach can make. The same goes for sales coaches in the business world.
In fact, one-third of top-performing businesses currently use sales coaching within their organization. It’s a way to develop their sales team and make sure they are selling at their full potential. Below we highlight why coaching is an effective way to improve the skills of your sales team.
Sales Coaching 101
The International Coach Federation offers a comprehensive definition for coaching: “An interactive process to help individuals and organizations develop more rapidly and produce more satisfying results; improving others’ ability to set goals, take action, make better decisions and make full use of their natural strengths.” Great coaches are people who bring out the best in their students and make a significant impact. They do this by understanding their students’ specific skills and what motivates them, highlighting their strengths, and strengthening their weaknesses.
CSO Insights gives a formal definition: “Sales coaching is a leadership skill that develops each salesperson’s full potential. Sales managers use their domain expertise along with social, communication, and questioning skills to facilitate conversations with their team members that allow them to discover areas for improvement and possibilities to break through to new levels of success.”
Sales performance coaching is essentially the same concept, but with a focus on effective sales. Like any other coaching, sales training incorporates a one-on-one approach that’s unique to each sales rep. These types of sales leaders measure certain metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to discover problems and work directly with each of the reps to solve them.
According to the Harvard Business Review, being a sales manager in today’s world requires you to be more of a coach than a boss. Sales managers focus on telling team members what to do and offering broad direction, while sales coaches give specific game plans for individuals in their best interest.
These coaches do the following for their sales organization:
- Motivate and advise salespeople to improve sales performance
- Plan ahead & set important goals
- Devise action plans
- Analyze data and information
- Project future numbers and a series of sales opportunities
- Oversee customer engagement from day-to-day
- Ensure efficient collaboration with other departments and executives
Sales Coaching Tips For a Better Sales Team
The best sales coaches are results-oriented, highly ambitious, innovative, and quick decision-makers.
They are dedicated to helping others succeed through effective communication, teaching, and encouragement. Let’s take a look at 12 tips and best practices that make a great sales coach.
1. Follow a Formal Process
Creating and following a formal process will help your sales managers and reps be more consistent. This method should be proven and repeatable. Research by Sandler Training showed that more successful sales teams were 1.4 times more likely to use a formal sales process that involved metrics.
2. Meet Regularly
Good coaches are well-organized and maintain a consistent session schedule. The first few sessions may be closer together, as both student and teacher are getting used to everything. Meeting every two weeks is often recommended, as it gives the rep to apply what they’ve learned. It also gives the teacher time to observe and compile feedback.
3. Devote Time to Sessions
Although it can be tempting to tack a meeting onto your session for efficiency’s sake, don’t. It can be a distraction from coaching. First, you don’t want to overwhelm the rep. Give them time to process what’s been taught. This will also let the salesperson know that you value his or her time and are focused on teaching them.
4. Use Data
At the end of the day, the truth is in the numbers. Great sales coaches should be able to compile and analyze data to form conclusions and then effectively communicate their findings. This data should dictate the next steps for the sales rep and give them a clear picture of their progress.
5. Challenge Them
The only way people can grow is if they are challenged. Don’t be afraid to take your team members out of their comfort zone; it’ll only help them in the long run. Give them a new sales strategy to try, up their quota once they reach a certain point or something else that will require some critical thinking and hard work.
6. Take Notes
Don’t forget to take notes during each session to document what’s been said and agreed upon. Afterward, your brains probably won’t remember everything that happened. Both teacher and student should do this, so they can go back to their notes for reference.
7. Build Trust With Authenticity
The best sales managers will acknowledge when they’ve failed in the past, as this builds a sense of trust. Telling stories about these times will encourage each individual and let them know they aren’t alone. It’s also important to share the steps you took to fix the problem, as this will give them a real-life example of how to overcome difficulties on-the-job.
8. Ask Them to Self-Evaluate
Self-evaluation leads to more self-awareness, which can lead to more confidence in their work. Give the salesperson a chance to reflect on their performance and see what they share with you. Make sure to have some questions to help them out. For example: What were your biggest obstacles this quarter? What did you do well?
9. Concentrate On One Thing at a Time
It will take some time to see vast improvements, but it’ll take much longer if you’re overwhelming the rep with too many tasks. Giving them one thing at a time will give them adequate space to focus and allow you to measure their progress more effectively.
Successful sales coaches don’t just set goals and tell people what to do. The best coaches empower each individual team member and inspire them to do their absolute best. They do this by maintaining a positive attitude and a calm composure while also offering encouraging words.
11. Take a Unique Approach to Each Person
Every person is different and should be treated as such. Treating everyone the exact same and offering the same advice will only backfire. Each rep will possess different strengths, weaknesses, personalities, and preferences. Learn these things and tailor your teaching to each individual.
12. Point to Additional Resources
You only have a limited amount of time in each teaching session, so it’s important that you empower your salespeople to take responsibility for their own success. You can do this by directing them to other resources such as relevant blog posts, online articles, websites, books, webinars, etc.
What are the Benefits of Sales Coaching?
Your sales reps are the first people that prospects meet. They represent your business and play a critical role in keeping income flowing. So, it’s vital that you continue to sharpen your team’s skillset. Every business needs a good strategy and effective sales coaches to improve their team’s performance. Coaching programs offer just that. Let’s review some major benefits your company can gain from successful sales coaching.
Results in Higher Return on Investment (ROI)
According to a recent study by the Human Capital Institute, 51% of companies that have a solid coaching culture experience higher revenue. Why? Because good sales coaching turns into good selling! When each individual receives the time and attention they need, you’ll likely see their skills develop. And when your team improves, the entire business reaps the benefits.
Develops Sales Leadership
Helping a team grow and accomplish its goals may have a greater impact on the sales leaders in your office. They’ll begin to transition into a team mindset, where the team’s success is the most important thing. This success can serve as an incentive to continue improving their sales management technique. As leaders mature, they’ll encounter fewer problems, which will allow them to focus more on the overall sales vision and team motivation.
Increases Employee Retention
Every company needs to retain top performers. When you have an effective sales coaching program, the low and mid-level performers will improve, reducing the quota strain on the star sales representatives. The support and encouragement that come from coaching will help increase company loyalty and teamwork by boosting morale. And when people are less stressed and feel more involved in their company, they tend to stick around a bit longer.
Guidance from a coach expert gives different people the tools they need to flourish, which can have the greatest impact on productivity and your team’s performance. The additional training will ultimately take them to new levels of success, teaching them to be more efficient in their work. As they grow, they may have fewer questions and won’t need much time to perform tasks (and they might even do them without being told to do so). Knowledge really is power!
Improves Client Inflow & Satisfaction
When sellers receive proper training, they’ll be more comfortable making certain decisions and interacting with a prospective customer or having sales conversations with clients. As a result, this could bring in larger clients and projects. More knowledge and confidence from a coaching program will also improve customer service, causing a behavior change in clients and giving your company a good reputation.
Sales Coaching For Bigger Impact
The most successful companies reach sales success using a training program targeted at individual reps. Different sales and forms of sales call for different techniques. A better coach can equip their team to handle all types of cases throughout the sales process, from sales calls and video meetings to in-person selling and email follow-ups. With strong leadership and mentoring, your team’s numbers are sure to soar.
Are you wondering if now is a good time to invest in sales coaching? Maybe your sales team struggled last month, and you’ve come to terms with the fact that you need help. The good news is any time is a good starting point! Sales coaching is making the biggest impact on companies both big and small. See how sales teams with the best coaches are getting a 5X increase in close rates: https://sendoso.com/solutions/sales/.