If your sales team is falling behind, how can you make sure that they get back on track? One of the best methods available is sales coaching. As a business owner, you need to empower your sales reps to do what’s right for your bottom line without having to micromanage their day-to-day operations. That’s where sales coaching can come in handy.
Although coaching can improve your bottom line, you have to approach it the right way. With top-performing sales coaching tactics, almost all (94 percent) of your reps can hit their targets. Otherwise, it can be a mixed bag with varied results.
Whether you’ve heard of sales coaching before or are interested in trying it out for the first time, here is what you need to know.
What is Sales Coaching?
At its core, sales coaching is about enabling each salesperson to reach his or her goals more effectively. Because selling is such an intuitive and flexible industry, everyone has individual strengths and weaknesses. The right coaching can help mitigate those weaknesses by allowing reps to leverage more of their strengths.
One of the critical components of sales coaching is that it must be individualized. If you try a one-size-fits-all approach, you will have scattered success and likely discourage your reps from adapting to unique challenges.
For sales coaching to be effective, it has to include these elements:
- Skills Training.
On top of that, it is best to focus on tactics and results, rather than cold, hard numbers. We’ll dive more into effective sales coaching techniques later on, but these should stay in your mind when developing a strategy for each rep.
Benefits of Sales Coaching
On the surface, the primary benefit of sales coaching is increased profits. However, coaching can go much further than that, delivering secondary advantages that can make your sales team even more useful. Other benefits include:
As a rule, workers tend to stay in positions where they feel respected and accommodated. By focusing your coaching tactics to fit individual needs, reps will be far more likely to continue their work. Since turnover is such a big problem in this industry, retaining top-performing salespeople is valuable.
You must understand that sales coaching is not the same as training. While training is focused on maintaining consistency across the company, coaching focuses on an individual rep’s capabilities. Rather than throwing money at the problem with ineffective strategies, coaching delivers far better results.
One of the objectives of sales coaching is to encourage repeat success with each rep. Once one salesperson discovers a method that works, it can be applied across the team to promote better results. With the right coaching strategy in place, you can improve all of your reps’ success, all without having to work through trial and error.
Examples of Sales Coaching
Knowing the benefits of coaching is one thing – now, let’s look at some specific methods you can use to empower your sales team. Examples include:
- Weekly Check-Ins – These meetings are not designed to push numbers but see how well each rep is doing. During the check-in, the salesperson can highlight successes and failures so that the coach can determine the best path forward.
- Shadowing – If a coach doesn’t know what a rep is doing specifically, it’s hard to know what to change. By listening in on a sales call or shadowing an in-person visit, the coach can tailor any adjustments accordingly.
- Insight – Most sales coaches have plenty of experience on the job, so they can offer insider tips on how to close more deals.
- Review Sessions – The coach can look at past interactions with clients to see which sales tactics got the most traction. From there, the coach can develop a customized action plan.
Sales Coaching Models: Pros and Cons
If you look online, you can find hundreds of different models that discuss how to coach a sales team. While some of them might have beneficial elements, the fact is that using a model for each rep is often a mistake. Here are some pros and cons of using models:
- Gather insight into different coaching techniques.
- Get inspiration for your team.
- Learn new methods that you may not know about previously.
- Most models are not very flexible.
- Some models may be too vague to be helpful.
- There are no standards for sales coaching models, so the quality varies greatly.
Overall, you will have to use your intuition and experience to determine which, if any, sales coaching models are useful. From there, you can customize a coaching strategy to fit each rep.
Effective Sales Coaching Techniques
Because there are so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to figure out which pieces to incorporate into your strategy. Here are some proven techniques that can help you get results from your sales team.
Leverage Top Sellers
While selling can be more of an art than a science, your highest-performing salespeople likely know a few more tricks of the trade. By using these insights, you can help everyone on the team improve their success rate.
Focus on Data, Not Intuition
Typically, the marketing team relies on data to make decisions, but most sales reps trust their gut. While this might work in some cases, intuition is far too unreliable to be a foundational principle.
When developing a sales coaching strategy, let your numbers be your guide. Look at data from each salesperson to determine where they need assistance the most. From there, it’s easier to gain traction on the individual level.
Get Input From Your Team
Salespeople are often self-starters, which means that they don’t like being told what to do all the time. If you come in with a new system, you will likely get pushback from some reps. Instead, discuss your plans and get feedback on various elements. Not only can this discussion help get your representatives on board, but it can enable you to figure out the best strategies for each person.
Mix it Up
As we mentioned, sales coaching is never a “one-size-fits-all” approach. This is also true for individual strategies. Some tactics might work best for one-on-one sales calls, and other techniques can be better for in-person interactions. Be sure to customize each plan to fit individual reps’ needs, rather than trying to repeat the same blueprint for the whole team.
Sales Coaching Tips
Because sales coaching is such a fundamental component for long-term success, it’s imperative that you get it right. Here are some suggestions to ensure that your coaching plan runs smoothly.
- Share Your Vision – If the goal is simply to “make money,” it’s hard to inspire your team to sell more. Instead, focus on your company’s mission statement. If your reps are in the dark about why you’re making these changes, they are more likely to resist them.
- Learn Individual Motivations – Some sales reps are motivated by a larger paycheck, while others like to help customers. Learning what drives your sales team to succeed makes it much easier to develop a strategy around it.
- Focus on the Middle – While it’s tempting to coach your top performers because it’s easy, they are not the ones who need assistance. Many sales managers also focus their attention on the bottom 20 percent because they need the most help. Instead, focus on those reps in the middle. By moving the needle forward there, you can see much more results in less time.
- Develop Individual Rewards – Because your coaching techniques will vary from person to person, you can’t rely on team-based rewards. Instead, incentivize your reps based on their coaching. For example, if one salesperson needs to start calling more, you can tie a prize to that goal.
Professional Sales Coaching Tools – Selling Revolution
Building a sales coaching strategy is easier said than done, particularly if you’re trying to do it yourself. Fortunately, you don’t have to be alone in your quest. Instead, rely on Selling Revolution to help you reach your goals that much faster. We have the tools necessary to get your team on track, and we can develop customized techniques that get results. Call us today to find out more.