This post was originally published on lessonly.com.
Let’s get straight to the point: Effective sales coaching leads to real results. In fact, we strongly believe that it’s one of the top activities that organizations can do to positively impact performance.
But, if sales coaching makes such an impact on organizations, then why isn’t everyone doing it? In a recent study by the Sales Management Association, 73% of sales managers said they spend less than 5% of their time coaching. When asked why that’s the case, survey participants shared that…
- They don’t have the time to add coaching to their already busy work day.
- They don’t know how to deliver effective coaching.
- They don’t have the tools or resources necessary to create and deliver a sales coaching process that works.
We get it. Sales leaders do have a ton on their plates. And, it’s a struggle to figure out how or where to start. But, we’ve got good news—this post is full of tips and tricks that will help you build a sales coaching program that’s both efficient and scalable. Let’s get to them!
1. Include a variety of assessment methods
Every great sales coaching program needs a way for both leaders and reps to assess their skills and knowledge. All too often, sales coaching only includes a formal assessment process from the team’s top sales experts or managers. But, it’s also helpful to have your reps perform a self-assessment of their own skill sets. This gives leaders the opportunity to gain insight into how a rep thinks they’re performing and vice versa. When both leaders and reps go into a coaching session with an understanding of how they each assess a certain skill, they’ll be able to build a relationship of mutual trust and understanding for coaching.
2. Focus on a clearly defined area for improvement
It’s really easy to fall into the trap of covering too many topics or addressing multiple skills at once during sales coaching. But, individual sales coaching sessions are much more effective when they zero-in on one or two specific skills that impact a certain behavior or sales outcome. For example, when coaching for sales performance, reps might need help in a few areas including objection handling, negotiation, and cold calling. Instead of focusing on all of these skills at once, space them out so reps can dedicate their time, energy, and attention to honing each skill. This will ensure they don’t feel overwhelmed and make it easy to track their progression and development.
3. Get agreements on the path forward
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Sales coaching is not as simple as creating a to-do list where reps just have to check off the boxes. Instead, sales leaders and reps should work together to build an actionable, personalized coaching plan. This creates a mutual understanding on the steps reps need to take to up-level their skills. Consider creating a plan that includes everything from taking additional sales training courses, completing practice exercises or certifications, or even shadowing other top sales experts on the team.
4. Close the feedback loop
Sales coaching only works if leaders and reps can analyze and track their progress over time. That’s why the best sales coaches provide ongoing feedback as reps hone their skills. Once reps have completed the action items that you both agreed on, be sure to intentionally set aside time to review their progress and have an open discussion. This is a great time to ask follow-up questions, highlight what’s working, get feedback on the process, and decide on the next skill to focus on.
5. Incorporate sales training and enablement tools
Remember that survey that I talked about earlier in this post? One of the big reasons why leaders spend so little time coaching is because they don’t have access to the tools that make it possible to deliver coaching at scale. But, there’s good news. There are tons of enablement tools that make sales coaching easier than ever. That’s because they give reps the chance to access training, practice skills, and complete essential sales coaching courses. And, online sales enablement and training solutions, like Lessonly by Seismic, empower leaders to assess reps, uncover opportunities for additional training, and then track development all in the same place.
Lessonly by Seismic makes it easy to deliver the best sales coaching
We’ve seen teams experience a 66% increase in ROI when they invest in coaching. So, what are you waiting for—learn more about Lessonly by Seismic with this demo.