Imagine if 20% more of your sellers hit their productivity goals month after month. Or, consider how your team would feel if win rates soared by 25% every quarter.
These statistics aren’t pie-in-the-sky outcomes. They’re actually attainable for organizations that leverage sales coaching. And when it comes to improving performance, no other productivity investment comes close to coaching. In fact, sales teams that dedicate 20% or more of their time to coaching, experience improved performance, increased seller engagement and retention, and overall higher revenue growth.
Despite these benefits of sales coaching, studies show that most managers spend less than 5% of their time coaching their team. Here are just a few reasons why this is the case:
- Now that more reps are working remotely, it’s difficult for managers to find enough time to deliver effective coaching at scale.
- Sales teams don’t always know how to model effective sales coaching techniques to their sellers.
- New frontline sales managers lack the training and confidence they need to provide support to sellers.
If you can relate to any (or all) of all these reasons, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to share 10 tricks-of-the trade so your organization can reap the benefits of a stellar sales coaching program.
1. Build trusted and authentic relationships
Individual sales coaching will only be successful if there is a mutual understanding of trust and understanding between sellers and their coach. The best way to build an authentic relationship is for leaders to share insights and stories about their own success and struggles from their time as a rep. This shows sellers that they aren’t alone in their struggles and that you’ve walked in their shoes and overcome similar challenges before. Once that trust has been established, the best sales coaches continue to lead coaching conversations with empathy to deliver open, honest, and kind feedback.
2. Rely on numbers and data to uncover pain points
Whether you’re coaching new sellers or veteran teammates, a sales coach’s first job is to find out where they’re having the most problems or facing major roadblocks. Lean on data and dashboards that include both leading and lagging indicators for individual sellers and the entire team. By showing sellers their own personal dashboard that includes individual win rates, opportunities, and activities, it will be easier for them to understand how their performance measures up to that of their teammates. This will allow both of you to clearly identify key areas for improvement and where to focus your sales coaching conversations.
3. Focus on one thing at a time
It’s extremely easy to focus on numerous skills or topics during a sales coaching session. However, the most effective sales coaching happens when leaders and sellers narrow down what they need and focus on one tactic at a time. For example, if a seller is having trouble demoing a new product, pinpoint how they can improve the demo experience. Do they need additional training on key messaging? Or, are they simply unfamiliar with the product’s functionality and where to find key features during a live demo? This will help you identify the most effective path forward for development.
4. Include self-evaluations
One-on-one sales coaching is a two-way street. All too often, managers find themselves talking at a seller during a sales coaching session instead of with them. Avoid this scenario by asking sellers to self-evaluate their overall performance or skill. Consider open-ended questions like:
- What were you most proud of last week/month/quarter?
- What was your biggest obstacle and were you able to overcome it?
- What was the biggest takeaway from your closed-won and closed-lost deals?
- What is one thing you really want to improve on this coming week/month/quarter?
5. Create an actionable plan for improvement
Once you and your seller have identified key areas for growth, it’s time to create a plan to improve. This action plan should be created together instead of you simply handing each rep a list of tasks or steps they need to complete. Make sure this action plan includes a main goal, 3-5 steps they need to take to achieve that goal, and key deadlines or dates for completion.
6. Provide additional training
An action plan is only effective when you provide sellers with the tools and resources they need. By giving reps access to ongoing sales training they’ll be able to review topics and key pieces of information throughout the coaching process. Let’s consider the earlier example of demoing your company’s newest product. Once you and your rep determine that they need additional training on messaging, assign them training that covers the new messaging and value props for prospects.
7. Prioritize practice
Completing additional training lessons on certain topics or skills can only go so far. We’ve found that the best sales coaching also prioritizes the element of practice. For example, once a rep completes new messaging training, ask them to then apply that newly-learned knowledge in a practice scenario. This could include recording themselves on a mock call where they walk through a demo and deliver value props based on a certain prospect’s situation or use case. Then, you can review the recording and deliver additional coaching based on their practice performance.
8. Hold sellers accountable
Once an action plan is created, sales coaches need to ensure that they hold each rep accountable for their actions and work towards achieving their goal. This means that it’s important to follow up with reps by asking questions regarding their progress. It also includes looking into training data to see if reps are on track for completing training and understanding content.
9. Celebrate the wins
Every sales coach also needs to be a cheerleader. After all, rooting for your reps is extremely valuable to maintaining a great relationship, improving engagement, and ensuring retention. Remember, sales coaching isn’t exclusive to poor performance or mistakes. Instead, great sales coaches invest in their team by highlighting what they did well and celebrating those successes.
10. Keep the feedback loop open
One-on-one sales coaching is not a one-and-done event. Instead, it’s important to create a culture of ongoing feedback and coaching. This can be done by scheduling consistent 1:1 meetings with reps that focus on individual development, challenges, and opportunities for growth. After all, reps need to know that someone will continually be on their team and show up to celebrate when they win and help them when they struggle.
Sales coaching statistics can be a reality with Lessonly by Seismic
Are you ready to help your reps improve skills, become more engaged, and close more deals? We’re here to help! Lessonly by Seismic’s online sales training and coaching tools makes it easy for reps to learn and practice essential skills while managers can create custom coaching plans that scale. Get a demo to learn more.