Your organization could have the best sales strategy in the game. But without adequate training, no amount of planning, creativity or strategy will set you up for success. Make sure your sales reps have the coaching, resources, and support needed for success in an increasingly competitive marketplace. In this post, we’ll share some of the best ways to improve sales coaching in your organization.
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What Is Sales Coaching?
Sales coaching is a process that sales managers follow to support and prepare every salesperson on their team for success in the field. The goal of coaching is to maximize the potential and effectiveness of every rep. It is personalized guidance meant to improve or reinforce skills and should occur on a weekly or even daily basis. While it does not need to be a formal process, managers should be regularly looking for ways to identify individual strengths and weaknesses and work closely with their team to improve.
Prioritize Your Focus
Rather than focus on improving the top- or bottom-performing reps, channel your coaching energy into the middle-of-the-road salespeople for the biggest return on investment (ROI). Chances are, the worst reps won’t improve enough, and the best reps don’t need as much coaching. The “middle 60%” will benefit the most from training. Focusing on this group helps equitably leverage time and training resources.
Sales coaching is all about finding ways to improve your sales team’s performance. Motivating them to do their best is essential. And believe it or not, motivation doesn’t always mean money. In fact, employee engagement firm TINYpulse found that money ranked seventh on the list of factors that motivate employees to go above and beyond. Only 7% of the 200,000 workers surveyed listed it as a motivating factor.
According to their study, the strongest motivators included:
- Camaraderie and peer motivation (20%)
- Intrinsic desire to do a good job (17%)
- Feeling encouraged and recognized (13%)
- Having a real impact (10%)
- Growing professionally (8%)
- Meeting client and customer needs (8%)
With this in mind, consider intrinsic incentives like friendly peer competition, awards, recognition or extra vacation time.
Be Flexible With Your Coaching Style
Just as sales requires a variety of skills, so too does sales coaching. It’s important to understand your coaching style and even more important to understand when it’s time to switch up your strategy. Consider the following styles:
- Strategic coaching and big-picture guidance are best for broad topics like navigating a complex buying process or selling into a specific market.
- Tactical coaching is ideal for more individualized interactions like building a relationship or navigating conflicts.
- Skills coaching helps salespeople improve in specific job function areas like communication, writing, rapport-building, etc.
Empower Your Reps
Sales managers should encourage their teams to be part of the learning and evaluation process. Get their input so you can help to work on key areas that are important to them. Start by asking some basic questions. What are they doing well? What skills do they need to work on to improve in the future? The more that sales managers can make their teams part of the coaching process, the more relevant and impactful coaching can be.
Create an Equitable Environment
Cultivating an environment where every sales member feels valued and heard helps to boost overall performance. Make equitable team decisions, such as rotating monthly meeting leaders, providing recognition for a job well done, and actively soliciting feedback on professional development topics.
Define The Gold Standard
Using standardized metrics to track sales helps determine what kinds of trainings were successful and informs sales strategy moving forward. But tracking is only helpful if all team members are being held to the same standard. It’s up to the sales manager to set objective, measurable goals and metrics to track against them.
Read our blog post on How to Set Measurable Sales Goals & Objectives to give your team a roadmap for success.
Turn Coaching into Culture
Embed coaching into team culture by providing ongoing opportunities and continuously evaluating performance. When training and learning are fundamental aspects of a sales team, members feel more invested in and engaged with the process, and they’re more motivated to succeed. Encourage your sales managers to hold monthly training round up that cover various topics be sure to benchmark success regularly.
Set Your Sales Managers Up For Success
There’s no magic bullet to sales coaching. Sales managers should be equipped with a variety of ideas, incentives and options for engaging their teams in conversations about improvement and learning. The more you can make training part of your organizational culture, the more seamless and successful it will be.
Get in touch to learn more about HireDNA sales recruiting, evaluation, and training services. Let us help you build an exceptional sales team!