7 Tips to Improve Sales Coaching in Your Organization

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.

HireDNA offers leading sales recruiting, evaluation, and training services to help you build a winning sales team. Contact us for more information.

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.

Motivation Matters

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!


Use Sales Assessment Tests to Improve Hire Quality

Hiring is an art and a science. While first impressions are key, when it comes to hiring effective sales people, you need more than a gut instinct. You need a proven track record of success, a host of positive personality traits, the right selling skills, a fierce drive to succeed, and an organizational fit. You need qualities you might not even be thinking of. Learn how sales assessment tests can improve your hire quality.

HireDNA® offers leading sales recruiting services to help you build a winning sales team. Contact us for more information.

Why Do You Need a Sales Assessment?

Hiring managers can quickly fall into biases that impact hiring decisions. Objective assessments take the guesswork out of the hiring process. They provide a uniform set of standards and help hiring managers see the full picture of prospective sales candidates. Learn about how they work and how HireDNA can help you use them to build your strongest sales team yet!

Common Sales Hiring Pitfalls

It’s easy to fall into a hiring bias trap. After all, interviews are an inherently personal process. Candidates strive to make a good impression, and those responsible for hiring are looking for people they want to work with. With this kind of soft criteria, it can be hard to benchmark the ideal candidate and objectively decide who may be the best fit for the role.

Those making sales hiring decisions can fall into one of many biases, like:

  • “Similar to me” effect: If a candidate has a similar personality, similar interests, or a similar mindset to the interviewer, the interviewer is more likely to think positively about the candidate.
  • The contrast effect: Interviewing a stronger candidate after a weaker candidate can cause the interviewer to perceive the stronger candidate as the right fit for the job—when in reality, it’s just relative.
  • Halo and Horn effects: The interviewer allows one statement, fact, or gesture to overshadow their entire perception of the candidate. This could be positive (halo effect) or negative (horn effect).
  • Stereotyping: This may be the most common and most implicit bias that interviewers impose on candidates. Stereotyping involves making snap decisions and judgments about a candidate based on characteristics like race, gender, age, religion, etc.

The Cost of A Bad Hire

Most people interviewing for sales roles are already personable, competitive, and convincing. Knowing what biases to watch out for, you need to cut through the surface level, go deeper than the resume and degree, and really understand performance potential. With 50 percent of sales reps today consistently falling below their targets, the cost of a bad hire really adds up.

According to a study by PeopleKeep, a bad sales hire can cost between 50-75% of their annual salary. So, a sales person who make $60,000 per year could cost $30,000-$45,000 to replace.

A bad hire doesn’t just take a financial toll. A bad hire costs staff time, training resources, and general morale. It can cause top sales reps to feel disengaged and undervalued. It can also increase burnout and turnover, as other employees work harder to pick up the slack. One bad hire can make or break a team.

What will a bad hire cost you? Find out with this interactive hiring mistake calculator from Objective Management Group.

How Does a Sales Assessment Work?

So how do you make the right decision from the start? That’s where a sales assessment test comes in. HireDNA uses the Objective Management Group (OMG) Sales Candidate Assessment to screen sales candidates. OMG is one of the world’s most accurate and predictive assessments, with a success rate of 92 percent of recommended and hired candidates performing at or above expectations.

The OMG assessment defines exact hiring criteria for sales candidates, holds all candidates to the same standard, and gives your sales organization competitive hiring edge. Plus, it can be customized to your unique hiring criteria and sale environment.

The result is a tailored recommendation that shows how the candidate stacks up against industry standards, your own organization, and among candidates for the role itself.

Secure Your Hiring Success

Build your strongest team yet! HireDNA’s predictive sales candidate assessments give you a leg up on your hiring process. Our objective, proven tool goes beyond personality traits, first impressions, and gut feelings to assess 21 core selling competencies possessed by top sales performers in your industry.

Get in touch to learn more about our sales recruiting, evaluation, and training services. Let us help you build an exceptional sales team!


Top Team Building Activities For Sales Reps

In today’s work environment, every employee seems to be looking for the next best thing. The sales industry in particular sees a turnover rate of nearly 12 percent! With competition for promotions, raises, deals, and more, it can be easy to forget about the glue that holds the workplace together: teamwork.

Creating a positive, team-oriented workplace helps to improve employee retention, morale, collaboration and sense of self-worth. But how can you cultivate that environment in a market dominated by constant innovation, fast-paced growth and the sustained demand for more, better, and faster?

The answer is that you make team building a top priority and get all of your salespeople involved. Here are some of the top team building activities for sales reps.

HireDNA® offers leading sales evaluation and recruiting services to help you build a winning sales team. Contact us for more information.

Great Team-Building Activities

Some well-thought-out and intentional team building activities can break the ice and unlock positive conversations and momentum for your sales team. Here, we’ve broken down the team building process to identify key skills and strategies along with some activities to help you improve each area. Try out some of these ideas to get the ball rolling.

To Improve Communication…

Clear communication is crucial for a positive team environment. It helps everyone feel on the same page, ensures all members are working toward a common goal, and helps prevent confusion and stress.

Activity: Telephone

A good, old-fashioned game of telephone doesn’t just lighten the mood and bring you back to summer camp days. It can also help to drive home the importance of clear communication and the consequences of misconstruing messages.

To get started, line your teams up, give the first person in line a phrase to say, and have them whisper it in the next person’s ear. Participants should continue whispering the message down the line, all the way until the last person repeats the phrase aloud.

Often times, the original phrase morphs as the message gets passed along the chain. This sort of process and outcome provides a great opportunity to talk about how directions, feedback, and information get distorted when people don’t communicate clearly.

To Improve Listening…

Active listening is not only a major part of communication and teamwork, it’s essential to an effective consultative sales process. Especially during contentious encounters, people tend to talk past one another, so wrapped up in thinking about what they want to say that they don’t even listen to the other person’s point of view. Employing active listening skills helps team members become more empathetic and generate collaborative, innovative ideas with full input.

Activity: Pair Up & Practice

Partner up different team members for a conversation, and every five minutes rotate partners. Think of this activity as speed-dating, but for active listening. When in pairs, advise participants to employ the following active listening rules: 1) Pay attention, 2) Show you’re listening, 3) Paraphrase and repeat back what you hear, 4) Provide feedback, and 5) Defer judgment.

To test listening skills, have the listener repeat back to the room the key points of the speaker. After the activity is over, gather the group back together to reflect on how it went, how each active listening rule was used in conversation, and how the use of these rules changed the conversation for both participants.

To Improve Presentations…

Presentation skills factor heavily into team dynamics. The ability to distill ideas and craft a compelling argument is an essential skill for salespeople. Encouraging presentation practice helps to improve this skill and boost overall team morale.

Activity: Create a Pitch Challenge

Create teams of 3-4 people and challenge each member to create a sales pitch for an office supply on their desk—in five minutes. This is a quick game that challenges creativity and requires everyone to think on their feet, deliver with confidence, and hone their sales skills.

Performing these rapid-fire pitches can help to get everyone comfortable with presenting while providing opportunity for feedback and improvement.

To Improve Teamwork…

Underlining all of these skills is a fundamental sense of team camaraderie. Respect, understanding, and appreciation of teammates helps everyone work toward common goals. In a sales team, reps will have individual quotas, but they also need to be aware of overall team goals. Building teamwork can help to foster a sense of accountability while providing opportunities for higher performing reps to train others.

Working together on a project for a good cause is a great way to remind team members that they are part of something bigger than themselves, driving home the necessity of everyone’s individual contribution.

Activity: Get Involved in your Community

To build general teamwork and goodwill, consider scheduling quarterly team volunteer outings. These can involve anything from building a home to working in a community garden or volunteering at a homeless shelter. These sorts of experiences highlight what’s possible when a whole team comes together, and they can be a great way to build friendship and respect outside of the work setting.

The Short of It?

In the end, the activities that improve team morale can also improve the skills needed for successful sales. If your employees can master these fundamentals, that success will translate to your bottom line. Improving your teamwork can result in wins for your salespeople, your clients, your workplace culture, and your organization at large.

Train Your Sales Reps for Success

Is your sales team falling behind performance expectations? HireDNA offer sales performance evaluations to uncover skills gaps in your team, and we deliver advanced training through a customizable cloud-based learning platform to improve performance.

Get in touch to learn more about our sales recruiting, evaluation, and training services. Let us help you build an exceptional sales team!

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