The practise of reviewing sales reps’ abilities, knowledge, and readiness, as well as offering feedback for continual performance development, is known as sales coaching.
“In sales coaching, sales managers use their knowledge, as well as their social, communication, and questioning skills, to encourage conversations with their team members, allowing them to identify their potential to break through to new levels of success.”
Sales managers frequently lead coaching sessions, which are facilitated by sales enablement professionals. Many firms offer in-person coaching (also known as role plays), in which management can create certain scenarios and observe how salespeople respond in a simulated environment. When it’s time to meet with buyers, the manager can point out the reps’ strengths and places for improvement, as well as the measures they can take.
Sales coaching tools can make a major difference in this process, especially in today’s world where so much is done digitally. Video coaching tools are an example of this type of technology, as they allow sales managers and sales enablement experts to build and assign video coaching tasks. They define a topic or situation and request that the representative record a video response. The manager can then assess the reaction and provide recommendations to help the sales reps improve their abilities. Coaching and feedback are made virtual, scalable, and simple to handle using these technologies, which is especially valuable for large or distributed sales teams.
Technology that analyses and evaluates reps’ meeting and call recordings, sales activity, and written materials are examples of different sorts of coaching tools (such as emails). Coaching features, such as video coaching exercises, AI-powered analysis, and management and peer feedback, are also included in sales ready platforms.
Why is Sales Coaching Important?
For a variety of reasons, sales coaching is vital. Firstly, it allows reps to improve their performance over time by providing feedback, practise, and repetition. It also enables sales managers to improve their employees’ sales procedures, training tactics, and pinpoint progress and areas for improvement. Coaching, above all, has a huge impact on outcomes. According to CSO Insights, firms that take a structured approach to sales coaching have a 10% higher success rate.
The results reflect a company’s approach if it isn’t the proper one. According to CSO Insights, an informal or laissez-faire coaching technique (where sales managers are solely responsible for the process) can drastically reduce win rates.
How Do I Get Started with Sales Coaching?
1. Establish where reps need the most help
When creating a sales coaching program, it’s critical to first figure out where sales reps require the greatest assistance. Instead of targeting regions at random, use a data-driven approach that evaluates your team’s performance against standards to uncover deficiencies in areas like pipeline conversion ratios. If you specifically target areas where reps are struggling, coaching will have a far greater impact.
2. Start small and stay appropriate
Evaluate how you can build early momentum, given that you’re already in an environment where change is likely to be opposed.
If you’re doing in-person coaching, have reps role-play a minor scenario, such as leaving a voicemail for a prospect, and provide comments on how they delivered it. Because they’ll be learning how to use the technology as well, you can start small using video coaching tools. Create activities to introduce salespeople, such as asking them to respond to a basic question such, “What is your favourite restaurant and why?”
You can introduce reps to the concept of coaching and expose them to different types of coaching one-on-one with a manager or via a video/Saes coaching platform by starting small. Following a few ‘at-bats,’ the coaching activities that follow will be a lot of fun.
Quick Tip: Prepare a schedule for each coaching session, but also give reps time to talk about what’s going on on their calls and where they might be having problems.
3. Generate a variety of coaching scenarios
Many stages of the sales cycle and parts of a deal require salespeople to stretch various selling muscles.
Sales coaching programs should not be confined to a single type, but should instead suit to a wide range of skill sets and degrees of experience.
Because they’ll still be learning important product and company messaging, you might want to advise newer salespeople on how to execute a successful elevator pitch. Veteran salespeople may benefit more from being instructed on a specific scenario, such as how to cross-sell or upsell one of their current accounts.
Quick Tip: Try utilising a round-question-and-answer structure in your coaching sessions, with each rep focusing on a thorough part of the sales process. For instance, what three questions could you ask a sales executive whose company has recently acquired or merged with another?
4. Share it with the class
Coaching should not be restricted to one-on-one meetings between the management and the sales representative. It’s beneficial to involve the entire team because reps can learn just as much from one another as they can from you.
Share both positive and negative feedback from coaching activities, and have reps provide peer input. This can benefit novice or struggling reps by allowing them to learn from high-performing reps. It can also assist any rep in learning new techniques for improving or achieving quick wins in a different way. By allowing reps to share recordings to managers and peers for full-circle feedback, video coaching solutions make this process a breeze. Furthermore, sales managers can save the most effective comments and use them into courses or curriculums.
When you have a geographically scattered sales team, peer feedback can also be beneficial. It can create ties amongst reps who may never interact on a daily basis and foster a sense of teamwork as they strive toward a common objective. It also relieves the sales manager of the burden of being the sole source of constructive criticism or praise.
5. Proactively seek out internal and external resources
You don’t have to go it alone if you’re new to coaching or trying to restart your programme. Internally, solicit ideas and inspiration from sales managers, sales reps, and sales leaders for the types of coaching activities that will be most beneficial to the sales team. Outside of the company, there are a multitude of resources accessible, including thought leadership, best practises, and other sales enablement employees in similar situations!