Table of Contents Hide
- What is Sales Coaching?
- Models for Sales Coaching
- Sales Coaching Techniques
- Sales Coaching Tools
- Sales Coaching FAQs
- Why is sales coaching Important?
- What do sales coaches do?
- What is the key to coaching a successful sales team?
Consider your sales team improving by 17% month after month.
Doesn’t it sound nice? Of course.
According to a CSO Insights study, there is a link between quota attainment and coaching. When coaching skills exceed expectations, 94.8 percent of reps meet quota. When it comes to coaching skills, only 84.5 percent get it right. In other words, no other economic output investment has the same impact as sales coaching. So, what exactly is sales coaching, and how do you do it well? Read on to learn more about sales coaching models, techniques, tools, and tips that will enhance your sales team productivity
What is Sales Coaching?
Sales managers invest in sales coaching as well as models to enhance sales rep productivity and empower reps to positively impact the larger sales organization. The sales coaching process is designed to ensure that every rep is supported and equipped to effectively meet their personal quota as well as the team’s quota and goals.
Examples of Sales Coaching
Here are a few examples of what sales coaching looks like:
- Reviewing a call with a sales representative and discussing what went well and where they could improve
- Inside sales training and advice
- Examining remote selling techniques and tools
- Scheduling weekly check-ins with reps to discuss objectives and areas of the sales process in which they are less confident.
- Observing or listening in on a sales representative’s meeting or phone call with a prospect
- Examining a sales representative’s email conversations with prospects at various stages of the buyer’s journey
Models for Sales Coaching
There are hundreds of different sales coaching models. Many managers are dissatisfied with them, and it’s easy to see why.
Some coaching models are designed for any manager with reports, rather than a sales manager and their reps, but sales is a very distinct profession. It necessitates a distinct coaching model. If you consider a generic model, you will most likely struggle to adapt it to your team.
Some sales coaching models can only be used with specific methodologies. This can be aggravating if you don’t like the model you’re supposed to use. Fortunately, you can always create a hybrid of your prescribed sales coaching model — one that you are more enthusiastic about.
Remember that some sales coaching models are overly structured. Hence, look for something adaptable that can be used with a variety of sales processes; that way, if your strategy changes, you won’t need to create an entirely new coaching model.
Ask your team if a sales coaching model is a good fit. Their opinions are most important; after all, they are the ones who should benefit. So, to obtain this information from your team, you could use an employee feedback tool or conduct an internal survey.
Now that you have a better understanding of what sales coaching is and why it is important, let’s look at some sales coaching techniques you can use.
Sales Coaching Techniques
These common coaching techniques apply to all types of sales teams. So, don’t be afraid to include some of these sales coaching techniques (or all) them on your team.
#1. Utilize sales data.
It can be difficult to determine what to prioritize in terms of sales coaching — both team-wide and among individual reps — which is where data comes in. Rather than going with your gut instinct, use some sales coaching software to identify areas where your salespeople could improve.
Keep track of conversion metrics on a monthly basis. If you notice that deal velocity is increasing but close rates are decreasing, you should investigate your reps’ email-to-meeting, meeting-to-demo, and demo-to-close rates (or the applicable metrics for your sales process) to determine where they are moving too quickly.
You may also notice that many reps skip the discovery call and go straight to the demo, which saves time but results in generic, low-value presentations… and, as a result, lower win rates.
In addition, compare each salesperson’s performance to their previous performance, the team’s average performance, and/or the performances of your top performers.
#2. Change up your sales coaching style.
Sales require a variety of skills and techniques, so make sure your coaching incorporates a variety of styles.
Mike Kunkle, Director of Sales Enablement at Brainshark, suggests varying between:
- Strategic coaching, or big-picture advice, on topics such as selling into a specific market, navigating a complex buying process, working with customer champions, and so on.
- Tactical coaching, or specific advice on how to start a relationship, qualify, and so on.
- Specific skill coaching, or assisting salespeople in improving their communication, questioning strategies, rapport-building abilities, remote selling, and so on.
#3. Obtain agreement.
What is one of the worst ways to try to change a salesperson’s behavior? Tell them what to do.
Most salespeople are fairly independent — that is why they chose to work in sales — and do not respond well to being ordered around.
You’ll have far more success if you involve them in the process of improvement. This includes asking them how they think they performed, what they can do to improve, and which metrics will help them track their progress.
#4. Make the most of your best salespeople.
Salespeople can learn just as much from one another as they can. Use this to your advantage: if one person on the team is excelling, ask them to share their knowledge with the rest of the team.
As an example, suppose two of your reps are having great success prospecting on LinkedIn (social selling is a highly-effective tactic, after all). Figure out what they’re doing differently. Are they conveying a specific message? Are you trying to reach a specific group of people? Answering questions in specific groups?
These reps should present their winning strategy at your next team meeting. Your other salespeople will be eager to imitate them, and the group may discover an even more effective way to execute this play.
Let’s also look at the various tools that can help you manage all of these sales coaching tips and techniques more easily.
Sales Coaching Tools
There are several tools available to help you improve and simplify your sales coaching techniques. These tools include software and educational resources that can be used independently or in conjunction with one another.
Chorus.ai makes it simple to use sales enablement practices to coach and empower reps, allowing you to build, implement, and measure the success of your sales coaching tactics to ensure you’re supporting your reps so they’re more likely to hit their goals.
The software’s AI capabilities make it easier to create coaching tactics and plans by drawing on real rep conversations, data, and interactions with leads and customers.
Using the product’s conversation intelligence capabilities, Gong provides a unique view into rep interactions with your customers. As a sales manager, this feature will make it simple to identify and replicate the actions your best reps are taking, as well as assist other reps in areas where they require assistance. You can review the conversations your sales representatives have with prospects and customers over the phone, email, or web conference.
#3. HubSpot Sales Coaching for Managers
HubSpot Sales Coaching for Managers is a free program for sales managers to learn how to better coach and support reps. The lessons focus on the best ways to coach reps so they can hit their goals and your team continues to excel and positively impact the business’s bottom line.
#4. Showpad Coach
Showpad Coach, formerly LearnCore, is a sales coaching and training software. It enables you to organize and manage coaching (as well as onboarding and training) for each representative on your team.
The software includes features that allow you to review analytics for each of your reps, allowing you to determine which people require what type of support and coaching. You can also create and share coaching videos to customize and tailor the support you provide your reps.
ExecVision is a conversation intelligence program that is ideal for coaching large teams of reps. The software makes it simple to assist your reps and focus on their specific areas for improvement by focusing on their behaviors.
The software makes it simple to identify coachable moments in each rep’s process. It transcribes sales calls and highlights key moments in each rep’s workflow. So let’s look at some sales coaching tips that will help you use these tools
Sales Coaching Tips
- Concentrate on the middle 60%.
- Tell us about your vision.
- Discover each salesperson’s motivators.
- Use incentives wisely.
- Personalize your prizes.
- Seek out and try out new sales coaching techniques and materials.
- Prepare and rehearse a variety of sales coaching scenarios.
- Make use of your complete sales staff.
- Have the difficult dialogues.
- Give out more good feedback than negative input.
In addition to sales coaching models and tools, here are some general tips to keep in mind. These tips will assist you in properly coaching reps to guarantee that your sales team is as productive as possible.
#1. Concentrate on the middle 60%.
According to Brent Adamson and Matt Dixon, authors of The Challenger Sale, most sales managers spend the majority of their time coaching their team’s “very best and very worst” salespeople.
Managers feel obligated to assist the bottom 20% of their teams in meeting quota. They want to assist the top 20% because it is rewarding.
As a result, the middle 60% receives the least amount of attention. However, Adamson and Dixon emphasize that “the real benefit from successful coaching is found among… your key performers.”
After all, the worst-performing salesmen (those who continually underperform) aren’t always the best fit for the job. You should replace them rather than try to train them.
#2. Explain your vision.
Sales representatives want to feel as if they are making a difference in the overall performance of the organization. This motivates them and provides them with non-monetary satisfaction.
Create a mission statement for your team that goes beyond “Sell X amount of business.” This aim should be concrete, actionable, and exciting – for example, “break into A market,” “be known internally for doing B,” or “break the corporate record for C.”
#3. Discover each salesperson’s motivators.
Different factors motivate different people. Even though the bulk of your reps is motivated by a desire to make money, their exact financial objectives are likely to vary greatly. One salesman may be paying off college loans, while another may be putting money aside for a down payment on a home. Some salesmen work primarily in sales.
#4. Make good use of incentives.
Sales contests and incentives should modify behaviors rather than reinforce them. That is why providing $100 to the first rep to make a sale that day is unlikely to be beneficial.
Determine what your salesmen aren’t doing that you’d like them to, and build your content around that action.
#5. Provide personal incentives.
Individual awards should be related to the aims of a certain rep. For example, if a sales representative is working on raising their call-to-meetings rate, you may promise to treat them to a pleasant lunch if they increase by X percent.
Not sure what to give away as a prize? Knowing each salesperson’s motivators comes in help here. You might also ask them directly, “What can I give you as a gift for accomplishing [objective]?”
#6. Look for and try out new sales coaching techniques and tools
There are numerous sales coaching approaches and tools available today; don’t be scared to try them out. Every team and individual is unique, which means that no sales coaching method will ever be one-size-fits-all.
In your one-on-one meetings, learn about what will work best for your representatives and their requirements, and ask each rep for input on your coaching style. Then, stay with these approaches until you reach a point when you need to reassess their efficacy and impact.
#7. Plan ahead of time and practice with a variety of coaching settings.
It is your responsibility as a sales manager to prepare and practice with various coaching scenarios. Your team will inevitably change, as will the people on it (in terms of their skillset but also rep turnover).
Stay efficient and effective as a coach by planning for all circumstances – this way, you’ll be ready to assist and teach reps with varying requirements and places for growth at any time.
#8. Make use of your complete sales team.
Some salespeople learn by example, which is why leveraging other members of your sales team may be beneficial (perhaps to the top 20 percent ). Schedule some shadowing sessions so that the salespeople you’re mentoring can hear a few good sales calls (or sales call recordings). After that, debrief with your reps and discuss why the calls were so effective, what could have been done better, and how each rep would have handled the calls themselves.
#9. Have the difficult dialogues.
Many salespeople struggle to reach their full potential because of expected prospect pushback… and the dreaded word, No. Most people, though, work their way past the soreness with practice.
Roleplay some awkward scenarios and difficult talks with the sales reps you’re coaching, as well as practice some typical objections. Reps will be better prepared to handle objections on real sales calls as they become more comfortable hearing them and reacting to them.
#10. Give more positive feedback than negative input.
Give double as much positive reinforcement to your sales representatives as you do constructive criticism. This not only helps to preserve morale, but it also allows sales representatives to see what they’re doing well — and hopefully inspires them to repeat and improve on that behavior.
Sales coaching is an art as much as a science. It’s one of the most crucial aspects of sales management, if not the most crucial. Do it well, and the outcomes of your team will speak for themselves. So, start combining numerous sales coaching techniques, tools, and tips to help your team complete more deals, increase revenue, exceed quota, and grow more effectively.
Sales Coaching FAQs
Why is sales coaching Important?
Sales coaching is essential for many reasons. First, it helps reps continuously improve their performance through feedback, practice, and repetition. Next, it allows sales managers to improve sales processes, training techniques and pinpoint progress and areas of improvement for their teams.
What do sales coaches do?
What Is Sales Coaching? Sales coaching is the process of developing and mentoring a salesperson through one-on-one relationships with a manager or peer. An effective coaching program helps reps self-diagnose deficiencies, enabling reps to take greater ownership of their performance and improve their outcomes.
What is the key to coaching a successful sales team?
The tips to coaching successful sales teams are focusing on the how not the what. When you go beyond telling someone what they’re doing wrong to showing them how to do things differently, you’re providing tools for long-term success.