Companies looking for better results from their sales organization can benefit from a sales coaching program. Sales coaching gets results.
Sales coaching helps representatives achieve their sales quotas. Teams of high-impact salespeople are getting ahead of their competitors using sales coaching methods.
Even in remote work environments, effective sales coaching is working to increase sales.
Your organization can institute a sales coaching plan to stay competitive, keep your sales reps motivated, and promote the bottom line.
What are Sales Coaches?
Sales coaches help salespeople by providing them with a comprehensive training program, motivation, and feedback. As with any coach, sales coaches help boost morale, increase expectations, and celebrate successes.
Sales coaches develop a training program for their sales teams by bringing in the right resources at the right time. They often use a sales coaching program that they can use to lead training and help onboard new staff.
Working with a team over a more extended amount of time, sales leaders can hold their team accountable to their sales quotas and help them learn new ways to sell more than ever.
A great sales coach can turn your team into a winning sales organization, improving all aspects of your business.
Sales coaching is highly effective. Here are eight tips you can use to be a successful sales coach.
Who Can Be a Sales Coach?
Who can be a sales coach at your company? A sales coach needs high-level sales skills and knowledge about the industry. They also need excellent interpersonal skills to help them create trust and respect with the sales reps.
Besides sales experience, a sales coach benefits from having a broad customer service background.
Anyone with these qualifications could be a sales coach.
Internal Sales Coaches
Sales managers know their team and are in an excellent position to be effective sales coaches.
Managers can use their sales expertise to facilitate conversations with their team members. Essentially, sales coaching involves having conversations that allow people to discover areas for self-improvement.
When sales reps get the right sales coaching from their sales manager, they learn new sales strategies and want to achieve better results.
External Sales Coaches
Hire a sales coaching consultant if you don’t have the right sales manager to help you implement a comprehensive sales training program.
It’s also worth considering hiring a consultant to assist your sales leadership with developing a sales coaching culture. When you hire a consultant, you can help your sales managers become better coaches, which adds value to your company.
Tip #1: Make Your Training Challenging and Demanding
One of Tony Robbins’ habits of highly effective coaches is to make training more challenging and demanding than the competition. Use this strategy in sales training.
You don’t have to imagine training against the company with the highest sales because you are already competing with them and training against them.
Develop a sales training program that challenges your sales teams enough to be able to beat your competition’s performance.
Good Coaches are Demanding
Even in youth sports, good coaches are demanding. You can be demanding and have high expectations without demeaning your sales reps.
There is a fine line between demanding and demeaning. A good coach will always ask for more but will still be encouraging by pointing out successes.
Good Coaches Have Expectations
Knowing how to motivate people is a fine art that utilizes science and interpersonal skills. A good coach knows how to set expectations without discouraging the team.
You can motivate people by asking them questions. Sales coaching means getting your team to think about their goals and setting expectations. Ask them questions to see where they feel they need to improve.
Good Coaches Build Trust
A good coach builds trust with their team. When they say they are going to do something, they do it.
Building trust takes time. Effective sales coaching will help sales managers build that trust by ensuring they follow up on their team’s goals.
Tip #2: Teach Hard & Soft Sales Skills
Sales coaching programs that don’t teach both hard and soft skills are missing the mark. Sales managers must ensure that their team has the right knowledge base and is practicing the skills to help them make more sales.
The Difference Between Hard & Soft Skills
Generally speaking, hard skills are the things people need to know to do their job. Hard skills are core competencies people need to have to operate in their position. Hard skills are often learned on the job through experience.
Employees can transfer their soft skills to any job in any industry. Soft skills usually come naturally to people and are often developed rather than taught.
A rep must have hard and soft skills to be an effective salesperson.
Hard Sales Skills for Your Coaching Program
Hard sales skills are technical competencies that people learn, and they are often industry-specific. Knowledge about products and how to use sales software are examples of hard skills in sales.
Hard skills will be specific to your organization, but professional development opportunities for your team should include a series of hard skills sales training.
Make sure that all of your employees are thoroughly familiar with the products they are selling, the history of the company, and the systems they are using.
Soft Sales Skills That Your Sales Team Needs
One of the reasons that sales coaching works so well is because it helps sales reps learn the soft skills that salespeople have to know. Even when these skills come naturally to people, using sales coaching to improve these soft skills will help boost their performance.
Here are the top soft skills that sales coaching can help with:
An effective sales coaching program will teach communication skills. There are many communication methods, and knowing when and how to use the right one is essential for sales reps.
We all know people who are better at persuading than others, and this is an excellent sales skill to have.
A great sales coaching program will help salespeople develop persuasion skills and make them less likely to sound like used car salesmen.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes, making this a great soft skill to train sales employees. Empathy training can help people engage on a deeper level with people and can be one of the most important soft skills to use in sales.
Train your team to have more empathy by encouraging reflection on their interactions and using sensitivity training.
Active Listening Skills
It’s extremely obvious when people aren’t listening to you, and it can be a huge turnoff for people. A lot of salespeople are excellent talkers, and they sometimes forget to listen.
Your sales reps should practice active listening skills during regular coaching sessions. When you focus on being an active listener, you get better at it.
Tip #3: Have Team Meetings Consistently
Sales coaching techniques have many benefits, but meetings often have more benefits than other sales coaching techniques, particularly when they are led effectively.
For sales managers to get their team to rely on and help each other, they must bring them together to feel like part of a team.
Think of your meetings like sports practices. Structure them in a way that makes it easy for your team to benefit from them.
Meetings Help Teams Solve Problems and Make Better Decisions.
Brainstorming is easier with a group of people. When you have a team, you can bounce ideas off each other and find new solutions to problems.
Team members make better decisions when they feel accountable to a team.
Meetings Promote Alignment
Even if your sales reps all have individual clients, meetings can help your company stay aligned. You will be more likely to communicate a cohesive message to all of your customers if you are aligned.
It’s even more important to be aligned when multiple salespeople work as a team on a sales project.
Meetings Make People Feel Like Part of a Team
Regular, inclusive meetings will make everyone feel like a team. It can be a great way to help onboard new sales reps and create a sense of camaraderie for your sales team.
Tip #4: Have Regular One-on-One Meetings With Your Sales Representatives
A one-on-one meeting with the coach makes a sales representative feel important, but it accomplishes more than simply making people feel good. Here are some other benefits of having one-on-ones with your team:
Individual Meetings Create a Relationship
Having a one-on-one meeting with your sales rep each week creates an opportunity for you to have a deeper relationship with them. Relationships are the avenues to building trust.
When people have a relationship with their coach, they perform better.
Use One-on-Ones for Weekly Reporting
You don’t have to waste time tracking down all of your sales reps for a weekly sales report when you have a regularly scheduled meeting with them.
Use your one-on-ones for weekly reporting and have them bring that information to you. You can then use that to create more accountability for sales quotas.
Regular One-on-Ones for Providing Timely Feedback
When you are regularly meeting with your staff, you can provide timely feedback. You should give feedback promptly, whether it is positive or negative.
When feedback isn’t timely, it’s practically useless. When feedback is given to people immediately, they can act on it and make improvements sooner.
If sales managers wait too long to give feedback, it can make their reps feel like they are keeping a scorecard, degrading any trust you build.
Provide timely feedback and let your sales team members create a goal for themselves to make improvements. Weekly one on ones also create opportunities for you to celebrate successes.
A Note of Caution About Meetings
Don’t waste your sales team members’ time with too many meetings. Keep meetings focused, be punctual, and respect their time commitment.
Tip #5: Be There When Your Team Practices
In sports, if a coach isn’t there when their team practices, they won’t know how their players will perform in a game. It’s the same with sales and sales coaching.
Many managers make the mistake of getting too involved in their duties and responsibilities while ignoring the people they should be managing.
As a sales manager, you might need to schedule time into your calendar to spend on the sales floor with your team. Watch them in action. Only then can you redirect their efforts and encourage them to keep achieving.
Tip #6: Set SMART Goals for Your Sales Team
SMART goals have long been recognized as a way to make goal-setting more productive. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
What are SMART goals?
SMART goals work very well for sales reps, who are often highly competitive and strive to achieve goals and expectations.
- Specific– goals are defined and easy to understand
- Measurable– goals that can be benchmarked so that you can tell when they have been reached
- Attainable– goals that are realistic and can be achieved
- Relevant– goals that matter and help you achieve long-term goals
- Time-bound– goals that have an end date and a clear time frame
When sales managers use SMART goals, they are more attainable and easier to track. They are more focused, and they help inspire your sales reps.
SMART Goals Create Clear Expectations
A great sports coach lets their team know what they need to do to win the game. Likewise, good sales coaching means letting your team know what they have to do to be winners.
When you use SMART goals, everyone will be able to see your sales team’s performance improvement.
Examples of SMART Sales Goals
Here are a couple of examples of how to use SMART goals in your sales coaching process.
If your sales reps want to generate more leads, a SMART goal would be “Get ten sales leads each week for the next year.” There is a specific time, and the number of leads is achievable and realistic.
Revenue goals are essential for your company. Create a revenue goal for your sales representative that is achievable in a specific time frame, such as “Bring in $10,000 in revenue in May.”
Offer Incentives for Goal Achievement
When you use incentives as motivation for achieving goals, people work harder for them. Incentives work well in sales coaching and are often used as sales bonuses.
Let Your Team Make Stretch Goals
A stretch goal is a goal that goes beyond an achievable and realistic goal. Imagine your sales rep’s excitement when they exceed their regular sales goals and hit their stretch goal.
Tailor this technique to your team. Making a stretch goal can be fun for high-performing sales representatives, but it probably won’t work for a salesperson who is having difficulty meeting their quotas.
Remember from Tip #1 that an effective program needs to be demanding. Be sure to make goals for your team that inspire and motivate them to bring in more revenue and increase sales.
Tip #7: Give Your Team Sales Enablement Tools
The best sales coaches give their teams the tools they need and provide sales training on how to use them.
You can use these tools in your sales coaching activities to assist with the learning process. Using the tools in training will also show you how much your employees already know and where they need more sales training.
Sales enablement tools are more than software. Sales tools include virtual selling programs that make it easy to create a video and send it to a customer.
Another example is customer relationship management (CRM) software that your organization can use across the company.
Sales tools also include the correct type of phone system. The best phone systems for sales teams have automatic dialers, easy call transferring protocols, and cloud-based capabilities that integrate with your CRM and mobile phones.
Tip #8: Celebrate Your Team’s Successes
Celebrating successes is important, especially when your team works hard for it.
When you create your sales coaching plan, make sure you include celebrations in it. Celebrating successes is a highly motivating technique to use.
A great sales leader knows why their team strives to achieve their goals and incorporates this sales vision into the coaching plan.
Create Job Satisfaction With Recognition for Successes
According to a Glassdoor survey, most employees don’t feel recognized at work. It can be a contributing factor to leaving a job.
Over 2/3 of employees say they don’t feel like their managers recognize their work. An effective sales coaching plan includes recognition for a job well done.
Your Sales Teams Will Have Big Wins
Through effective sales coaching, your sales team will have big wins. Get creative with how you celebrate these successes. Make it fun!
Here are a few ideas that effective sales coaches use to celebrate their team’s successes.
- The Sales Gong– get a large sales gong for your office and let people ring it when they make a big sale.
- Use Titles– find ways to name your team members for their accomplishments.
- Create Awards– appreciation awards and plaques are a proven way to honor the accomplishments of sales representatives.
- Leaderboard– use a wall or bulletin board to announce achievements. Leaderboards can be virtual if your sales team works remotely.
- Automatic achievement recognition– many sales enablement systems have built-in achievement tools that you can use to recognize and reward employees.
- Meetings– use your team meetings to recognize achievements.
Successful Sales Coaching for Your Organization
Everyone in the organization will see the benefits of sales coaching. Every department, from production to marketing, can be positively affected.
Most managers want their teams to succeed, and sales coaching can significantly impact the team’s success. As your salespeople start hitting quotas, you can watch their behavior change for the better.
Sales coaching will also create buy-in. Even sales reps who aren’t core performers will feel like part of the team.
To increase sales and revenue, use sales coaching to motivate reps and create an unbeatable sales culture. Pit your winning team against your competitors and watch your company grow.