Major League Sales Coaching
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To always be closing, always be coaching. Sales leaders have the privilege and responsibility to encourage, empower, and enable their teams with the practice, guidance, feedback, tools—everything—they need to win.
Sales coaching 101
Sales managers use sales coaching to optimize the performance of their sales reps and account executives. Sales coaching enables every seller to contribute to the goals of the entire sales team and grow in their careers. And while the sales coaching process involves professional sales training and support in a number of areas, not all forms of sales coaching are equal. For sales coaching to truly be effective, leaders need to deliver coaching that is continuous and customized in a way that focuses on skills and reinforces great sales behavior. Let’s take a closer look at each of these sales coaching qualities.
It’s essential that sales coaching is continuous. As a sales leader, the improvement of the performance and skills of your sales team should be an ongoing focus. It’s a good idea to schedule a day and time every month or even every week to train and coach your sales team. Continuous sales coaching is the best way to help your sellers develop advanced skills that build upon each other.
Effective sales coaching is also customized. While it’s a good idea to hold sales coaching sessions for the entire team, you should also take the time to hold individual sales coaching sessions for each rep. At the very least, you should schedule check-up meetings with each team member. During this check-up meeting, you can talk to each rep about their progress and where they have room for improvement. Customized sales coaching will help you improve the performance of the same team more quickly.
Reinforces or corrects behavior
Effective sales coaching is also a great method to reinforce or correct behavior. Many sales leaders make the mistake of simply telling sellers that they need to improve. However, they don’t provide specific information on the areas that need improvement or where the rep exceeds. If you don’t provide your sales reps with specific feedback, it will be difficult for them to do the work necessary to improve their performance. Additionally, sales coaching is a great way to applaud great behavior. This helps boost rep confidence and increases the likelihood they’ll continue to exhibit and share best practices and skills.
Focuses on skills not numbers
Finally, sales coaching should focus on skills, not numbers. As you know, there are many factors that contribute to whether your team is able to meet its sales quotas. While some of these factors are within the control of you and your sales reps, many of these factors are completely out of your hands. For example, during the holiday season, it may be easier for your sales team to meet its quota simply because the demand for your products is higher.
Why is sales coaching important?
A common question that many sales managers have is, “Why is sales coaching important?” Sales teams with coaches who dedicate 20% or more of their time developing their team see a number of benefits including:
Increased revenue and rep growth
Sales is a major revenue driver for a lot of companies. According to data from our friends at Chorus, teams who receive dedicated sales coaching actually see 16.7% higher revenue growth over teams who don’t receive sales performance coaching. Additionally, research shows that 75% of reps consistently hit their quotas.
Improved retention rates
Sales coaching is also important as it can actually improve rep retention rates. Sales coaching is a great way to improve employee morale and ensure that your sales reps remain satisfied and fulfilled working for your company.
Adoption of best practices across the team
Sales coaching can also help ensure that all of your sales reps are on the same page. It’s a great way to share best practices or examples of something that worked really well for one rep with the rest of the team.
Maximized sales training
Another advantage of sales coaching is that it maximizes professional sales training. The purpose of sales training is to help your sales representatives develop new skills and advance in their careers.
The main purpose of sales coaching is to improve the performance of your sales reps. Sales coaching will also give your reps a greater sense of confidence. While it’s important to have relevant skills and knowledge, it’s also essential for your team members to have high confidence levels. A strong sense of confidence will ensure that your sales reps are able to capitalize on their skills
Sales coaching topics to consider
Now that you know what effective sales coaching is, your next task as a sales leader most likely requires you to identify situations where sales coaching may be beneficial for your sales team. Here are just a few of our favorite sales coaching topics to include in your sales training program.
Sales call coaching
Chances are, one of the responsibilities of your sales reps is to speak with prospective clients about the products or services your organization offers. You can pretend to be a prospective customer, and the sales rep will focus on explaining to you in detail how the product or service will fulfill their unique needs. The sales rep should also make an effort to address any issues and pain points that you, the pretend prospective customer, are experiencing. Alternatively, teams can also record a rep’s call with a prospective customer that their manager and rep can then review together afterward.
Generating new opportunities
Reps need the tools and autonomy to get creative, research effectively, and fill the pipe. Effective sales coaching can help reps analyze their deals to see where things tend to stall, successfully close, or are lost. This is also a great opportunity to coach reps on cross-selling and deal expansions.
Sharing effective messaging
Customers tend to communicate with sales reps by email as well. Therefore, you can also review a prospect email demo. Teams can run through practice scenarios where they pretend to be a prospective customer and engage in a conversation by email with the sales rep. Or, managers can review a real-life email conversation. The goals of the sales rep should be the same as with the prospect call demo. Afterward, you should give your sales rep suggestions about ways they can improve how they communicate with prospective customers through email.
Sales coaching best practices: techniques to consider
There are a number of ways that sales managers can deliver high-quality sales coaching. Here are some of the best techniques that sales managers should consider for effective sales coaching.
Using data is a great way to improve the effectiveness of your sales coaching. Analyzing data helps you track objectives and performance so it’s easier to identify gaps for improvement. It’s also a great way to see where reps are exceeding.
Switch up the coaching style
You should also take your time to switch up your coaching style every once in a while. In fact, you should consider using different coaching styles depending on the seller who is being coached. After all, different people have different styles of learning. Additionally, each rep differs in areas where they need improvement. Therefore, you may want to identify the best coaching style for each teammate based on their learning preferences and skill set.
Leverage peer-to-peer coaching
Sales coaching doesn’t have to just come from a sales manager. In fact, you should consider leveraging peer-to-peer coaching. Chances are, your sales reps have different strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, every member of the team should have a skill or knowledge that they can impart to the rest of the team. Peer-to-peer coaching can lessen your burden when it comes to sales coaching and help achieve improved results for the team as a whole. Peer-to-peer coaching is also a great way to strengthen the relationships between your sales reps. Thanks to peer-to-peer coaching, our sales reps know that they can reach out to each other whenever they need help.
3 flavors of sales coaching styles
Knowledge checkpoints that include 1:1 sales coaching and feedback are extremely beneficial in sales training. Sales coaching offers reps dedicated times to ensure they understand what they’re learning, have a space to ask questions, and receive consistent feedback. It’s valuable to have different opportunities, or reasons, for coaching, too. Some areas include:
Unfortunately, some reps’ performance level may not be up to snuff. Sales coaching is an excellent opportunity to address areas for improvement and give reps actionable next steps and advice for future growth. This is about ensuring that not a day goes by where reps aren’t getting 1% better at hitting quota and working towards their professional goals.
There are a ton of skills that every sales rep should know and adopt. Think interpersonal and tactical skills. This is about maximizing the talent your reps already have and working together with them to develop new skills, too.
While team coaching is extremely beneficial, it’s also crucial to take the time to schedule weekly or monthly individual sales coaching sessions with your sales reps. During these recurring meetings, you can discuss quota goals and check on each reps progress with their objectives. Then, identify the areas where each sales rep needs to improve for future coaching sessions.
Accelerate coaching with a sales coaching tool
Plain and simple, the best sales coaches empower teams to win. For sales coaches specifically, that means enabling reps to perform and consistently hit quota. Easier said than done? Yes. Impossible? Not at all.
Our industry is saturated with ideas about how to become the remarkable sales coaches we all want to be. But with so many voices, books, programs, and tips, it’s tough to know what’s the most effective way to help reps reach their potential. That’s why we created the newest sales manager coaching guide, Major League Sales Coaching. This playbook is a compilation of the brilliance we gleaned from 18 world-class coaches, sales enablement gurus, and leaders who are all trying to hit goals every quarter, just like you. If you’re ready to simplify your sales coaching, then take a look at this free resource. It features a three-part framework full of ideas and strategies that any sales leader can use to build a scalable sales coaching model that will help their team sell like never before.
Sales teams across the globe also use our professional sales training software to offer team training, deliver detailed feedback, and identify areas for improvement. To learn more about our training and sales coaching software, click here.