What makes sales coaching so special in 2024? Why is it getting all the attention and even a dedicated blog post?
Well, facts are straightforward and visible.
The novel virus was an unexpected tremor for the sales industry and shook the sales fraternity badly. (can’t deny what it did to other business functions).
What would we discuss today?
1. How did 2023 change the sales community and coaching relevance?
2. What is Sales Coaching in 2024?
3. How To Approach Sales Coaching in 2024?
- Mastering Virtual Selling
- Transform the average performers
- Focus on 1:1 sessions
- Make sales measurable
- Empathy Selling
- Listen more and talk less
- Ask questions, don’t spoon feed
- Try sales playbook
- Enhance coaching with technology
- Consistency is Key
4. Successful Sales Coaching Techniques to Follow in 2024
How did 2023 change the sales community and coaching relevance?
Statistica Research Department says-
“With visitor numbers to retail locations and sales dropping dramatically for the non-essential category, big brands in the industry had to shut down many physical stores.
As of mid-August 2020, Inditex, a fast-fashion company based in Spain, announced it would close around 1,000 stores worldwide. Zara, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Mango, and Bershka are some of the brands owned by Inditex.”
Sales had no idea what had struck them, and preparation was poor.
Therefore, sales teams were bound to switch to online sales meetings. According to the Rain Group, “We noticed a 163% increase, from pre-pandemic levels to now, in the volume of more than half of sales activities conducted virtually.”
Now, that's a big change in a short time.
Consumer patterns and consumption changed, affecting sales across multiple verticals. And one change caused another- the drought period grew stronger, exacerbating the sales slump.
Considering the unpreparedness during the pandemic, there were dramatic changes in the sales processes. One such unspoken but significant change was in the sales coaching approach and technique.
Let’s dig a little deeper to understand how sales coaching shifted gears in the new normal.
What is Sales Coaching in 2024?
Sales coaching is a sales enablement approach that focuses on developing and guiding a salesperson. The coach can be a manager or colleague, or a grizzled veteran.
Essentially, sales coaching is a guiding star to improve performance, indirectly achieving the organization’s sales targets.
Coaching aims to improve a seller's skillset and maximize their potential.
As per Sales Hacker-
Shocked to see the surging outcomes of sales coaching?
Well, that’s not been the same case post-pandemic. However, sales coaching hasn’t lost its original essence and maintained its charisma.
In 2023, sales managers slightly swayed away from the traditional form of coaching. They adopted a more flexible and resilient approach that invited a more strategic approach to deal with the pandemic consequences.
And not just thepandemic, let’s also consider the evolution in sales- more strategic and proactive selling.
So, considering all the factors visible in 2023, here are a few best practices you can follow today and in the coming years.
How to approach sales coaching in 2024?
1. Mastering Virtual Selling
According to firms like Bain and McKinsey, virtual sales will continue to be the new norm even when face-to-face interactions are possible.
Many organizations have seen and lived through the advantages- Saved tons of money and enjoyed the convenience of staying home and selling efficiently.
Sales leaders could cut down on travel budget and utilize the travel time more efficiently in learning and development work.
Even the clients are in the same boat. They find more value and time efficiency in virtual calls and tighter meetings.
However, virtual selling is a comparatively new concept, and the current skill set is not enough to deal with clients irrespective of the size of the client.
Sales coaching must add virtual selling as an additional subject to be discussed in length.
2. Transform the average performers
Plenty of sales leaders emphasize coaching their teams’ top and bottom performers. But look closely at your sales team. You’ll notice three buckets.
- Those who achieve will nail sales quota every quarter.
- The second type will reflect average sales performance.
- And the third category barely performs but increases acquisition cost.
The potential of coaching lies in the middle bucket.
Quick Note: Low performers demand attention, too, but the excessive investment is not advisable. You should, however, attend to the third bucket if you have the bandwidth and the technology to do so.
3. Focus on 1:1 sessions
Irrespective of the current situation, experts recommend 1:1 sales coaching sessions.
Successful companies invest in 1:1 sessions to ensure attention and no leniency in coaching experience. The one-on-one coaching sessions are more productive as they press on the improvement of sales coaching quality, and sellers are more receptive and responsive.
Now, you know the reason sales leaders prefer one-on-one sessions.
4. Make sales measurable
Strategic and proactive selling can never be a success without sales analytics.
You must measure your sales coaching quality. Now, how do you do that?
Assign specific metrics that need improvement in the calls. For example: call quality metrics like talk ratio, longest monologue time, etc., give the sales managers a fair idea of their reps’ performance.
You can find the commonly used metrics here- Sales metrics to Track in 2022
Additionally, reps should be given specific metrics to track between sessions. Make sure those metrics are tied directly to the activities and behaviors you are trying to drive.
5. Empathy Selling
What is empathy?- Walking a mile in the shoes of another person and understanding what they are going through.
Well, that’s precisely what empathy selling is all about. Sellers understand and share the buyer’s emotional experience and build solutions to solve the problem.
“Our research reveals that salespeople who sell with noble purpose, who genuinely understand how they can make a difference to customers, outsell salespeople focused on internal targets and quotas.”- Lisa McLeod, author of Selling with Noble Purpose.
The concept of empathy selling is not new. In the new normal, empathy has emerged as a powerful sales tactic.
The customer needs shifted and reduced drastically(the essential sector is an exception). Numerous customers closed their businesses and laid off employees, not to mention the salespeople.
In such circumstances, sales coaches relied on sales performance management solutions to plan and evaluate what’s working and what’s not. Coaches identified whether reps are focusing on money or extending support.
Sales coaching has turned into teaching empathy without losing sight of the sales goals after learning the outcomes from the sales tool.
6. Listen more and talk less
As the thumb rule goes, sales managers must invest 80% of the time listening and only 20% talking.
As a manager, help the rep self-reflect and review their performance. Help the reps identify improvement areas and introspect their sales meetings.
7. Ask questions, don’t spoon feed
All sales leaders can resonate with a critical point mentioned by the popular self-help book Atomic Habits by James Clear-
“ Reflection and review ensure that you spend your time on the right things and make course corrections whenever necessary.”
However, in sales coaching, reflection and review should be performed by introspection instead of spoon-feeding.
Unless you ask the reps questions and refine their skills, they’ll never realize and learn about their mistakes.
Are you asking questions to your rep? Or just teaching the proven methodologies and industry best practices?
8. Try sales playbook
They say God made mother because he couldn’t be everywhere. We’ll tweak it and say “some intelligent guy” made sales playbooks because coaches couldn’t be everywhere.
The concept of owning a sales playbook is to refer to a guide or proven content that can win sales numbers.
A sales playbook is a documented and stored guide for Sales teams that offers critical sales information and best practices.
More or less, this book will help deal with most sales scenarios at different levels of the sales funnel.
9. Enhance coaching with technology
In 2024, technology is no longer a choice.
We’re sure there doesn’t exist a company today that doesn’t use sales technology one way or another, if not heavily.
But adding technology to sales coaching improves the quality of coaching to a large extent. Secondly, coaching becomes a more accessible and flexible event for most sellers working remotely in different time zones.
One such sales enablement solution is conversation intelligence software, which serves in various ways to improve the coaching process. Sales managers not only review calls but evaluate and record coaching sessions for future reference.
Another significant difference that playbooks create is instead of making notes during the conversation, reps can simply bank upon the automatic notes and transcripts of the conversation. Want to get a quick sneak peek now?- Try for Free!
10. Consistency is Key
Rob Jeppsen mentions one key aspect about sales coaching which the majority of managers overlook. He says- “ Consistency and Focus are key.”
The success of any program is determined by the frequency and consistency of the program.
Sales managers must resolute to figure out a suitable time each week and schedule calls frequently. However, the sessions should be repeated regularly, so your representatives know what to expect.
What’s the final and essential aspect of sales coaching?
Well, there are two essential aspects of sales coaching that sales managers usually overlook.
However, 2023 is not a year to forget and move ahead.
So, here’s our two cents:
- Sales coaching is incomplete without following up. You created a plan and helped your rep understand the improvement areas. Now what? Have they executed your plan? Are they seeing considerable progress?
You must figure out if your reps are in sync with your plan and facing any bottlenecks in their path.
- You evaluated your reps. But how about reps evaluating your sales coaching performance? Well, it’s as necessary as any sales feedback process. Reflect and revise! Let your reps score your sales coaching approach and allow you to improve your methods.
That’s all for today.
We’re sure you know many of these areas, yet revalidating your concepts must feel nice. Isn’t it?
Now, get started and help turn your reps’ scoreboard to green. Where would you like to start?-Try here.
Results first, payment later.