What does good sales coaching look like?- 5 Proven ways to get you started.

Abhishikha Chatterjee
November 24, 2021
 mins read

Last modified on

Table of Content:

Sales managers can attest to the fact: 

“Improving your sales team’s performance with a quality sales coaching program is quicker than not coaching them, leading to faster sales results.”

In fact, that’s the case in all walks of life. 

LinkedIn reports, 94% of employees plan to continue at an organization longer if the organization invests in their career. If companies strive to foster the growth of their employees, it's a win-win situation. It boosts employee engagement, as well as productivity.

Now, there you have it. 

Sales coaching is a win-win situation for the company and the sellers. Both parties have mutual interests, and hence both are driven to invest time and effort. 

But interest and drive don’t solve the problem. 

Serious sales coaching needs a sales coach, sales coaching technique, and so many other prerequisites. Without a formalized coaching approach, most programs hit the wall. 

So, today we’re here to discuss: 

  1. Why is sales coaching important for today’s organizations? We’ll understand the need to invest in sales coaching. 
  1. What does good sales coaching look like?- We’ll discuss the 5 proven ways to get you started with Sales Coaching.

Why is sales coaching important for today’s organizations?

“A coach helps you to figure it out on your own.” - states Jacco Van Der Kooij, Founder & CEO at Winning by design. According to him, if you want to build smart and competent salespeople, then coaching is the key.

Earlier, coaching was optional and often disregarded by most organizations.  

With the evolution of strategic sales plans, several companies realize the importance of investing in sales coaching to create a proactive and prepared sales team.

Let’s hear another seasoned sales professional and his views about sales coaching-

Sebastian Van Heyningen, President - Revenue Operations Consultant, says-

“ I started my career as an SDR in an early-stage start-up where training and coaching experience was unconventional. 

My cumulative sales training is less than 3-weeks long after 8-years in sales, but my cumulative sales coaching is uncountable. 

Hence, I value coaching, the individual personal sales coaching approach- a bit more than sales training.” 

Testimonials like the above are heard in every corner of the world. 

Yet, the adoption and acceptance of sales coaching are comparatively less. 

Let’s take you on a quick ride about the business benefits of sales coaching your reps: 

  • A successful method to increase employee motivation and personal career growth.
  • Encourage customer-first attitude by pushing on persona-research and addressing pain points.
  • As many as 60% of sales reps say they are more likely to leave their jobs if their managers are poor coaches. This means you can reduce the churn rate by hiring or developing a good sales coach.
  • Regular coaching and conversations identify potential risks or threats(including compliance issues) causing customer disengagement and legal matters.
  • With the help of coaching, it’s easy to sort high performers from low performers. And improve the productivity of average performers.
  • Dynamic sales coaching leads to 28% higher win rates.
  • Sales coaching can successfully build and reiterate sales benchmarks as well as goals with the help of reps’ feedback. 

Sales coaching has given outcomes, and several organizations are witnesses. The only concern area is every organization has a tailored version of a coaching program that fails to address the critical areas of coaching. 

To make your sales coaching approach more effective you can follow a few standard ways to get started.

5 proven ways to get you started with Sales Coaching

1. Use self-diagnosis techniques

As one in-depth study in the Harvard Business Review pointed out, many sales leaders think they’re coaching when they’re actually just telling employees what to do.

Would you like to maintain the same rapport with your reps?

No, you wouldn't. 

Reflection and review performed with the self-diagnosis method give faster results. 

Coaches are usually aware of the reps’ performance gaps, but highlighting them directly doesn’t impact introspection. 

When guiding a rep through self-diagnosis, ask targeted questions, such as:

  • Where do you face problems in the sales process?
  • Are you facing any challenges during your sales meetings?
  • What could be done differently?
  • What tools do you use?
  • How can the company and I help you?

Ask the reps these questions on a 1:1 basis, take the time to learn about their day, and help them identify the performance gap.

2. Use sales analytics to transform

90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years, and businesses are spending more than $180 billion a year on big data analysis.

Is your company losing opportunities and failing to close deals without any apparent reason? Does your sales team lack visibility into what went wrong?

Without implementing analytics, it’s pretty impossible to track if sales coaching is transforming reps’ performance. Simple hygiene metrics such as lead response time, talk ratio, conversion/win rate, etc., need monthly tracking to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. 

With sales analytics as part of the sales coaching approach, you can improve:

  1. Sales coaching program
  2. Conversation Quality
  3. Sales opportunities(often overlooked)
  4. Threat and compliance identification
  5. Proactive Selling 
  6. Sales content

3. Use an A-grade Sales Playbook

Best sales coaching plans are incomplete without a structured sales playbook. 

Sales playbook ensures a sales resource hub for the team. The playbook captures sales content specific to a vertical, an organization, and a business objective. 

Apart from the conventional features, the playbook stores previous coaching conversations, creating a self-training kit for newcomers.

 Sales coaching coupled with a playbook is a wise and practical choice.

 But adding anything and everything won’t make coaching a success. It must capture;

1. Foundational details of the organization

2. Sales processes

3. Team details

4. Enablement material

5. Targets and goals

6. Best Practices

7. Compensation plan

8. Compliance summary

9. Customer contact list

 Don’t forget to sprinkle your company’s secret sauce throughout the playbook.

4. Use a Conversation Intelligence tool

Conversation intelligence tool is making teams more equipped to coach and achieve sales quotas faster. 

In comparison to other sales enablement software, conversation intelligence software performs sales coaching efficiently because it thrives on Artificial Intelligence to offer meaningful people, market, and deal insights to the reps and the sales management team. 

You’d be happy to learn that implementing a conversation intelligence platform can make sales coaching a repeatable, reliable, and remarkable process. And that’s not all.

“According to a study, an AE tenures 2.7 years on the same job but uses around 4.7 months to ramp up.” The four months of training need to be further reduced to make the most of the 2.7 years.

Incorporate conversation intelligence software into sales, and your sales team can save up to 60% ramp-up time. And the coaching period can be maximized. 

Using the CI tool, expect a significant decrease in ramp-up, as well as an increase in productivity.

5. Encourage Empathy and Creativity

A strange misconception is that sellers shouldn’t be too friendly or witty with their customers. 

While you would say it’s debatable and depends on the industry and stakeholders, let’s keep it simple.

Let’s start here- you’re not the only vendor your buyer evaluates. 

Hundreds of business players are vying for the attention of buyers.

If you wish to stand out in the crowd, you have to; you must be creative in your sales approach. Regardless of how or what you do, you need to be creative. As long as it’s making an impact and leading to a higher conversion rate, that’s fine.

Be as funny as possible and use analogies, everyday examples, witty sales scripts, and personal experiences.

So, where do you start?

Sales coaching must encourage sellers to think outside the box and explore new possibilities. While there are proven methodologies, sales coaching should press on innovative selling techniques. (Templates are great, but customization is better.)

As per research conducted by the Aston Business School in Europe, “Sales professionals with more creativity generated more sales than those without.”

Sales coaching has to grow out of the traditional ways of selling. So, how would you help your team educate and replicate ways to stand out from the crowd? 

Below are a few tricks you can encourage your sales teams to use:

  • Pinch of humor
    Customers dislike sales conversations that are long and monotonous. They aim to have an educational experience laced with a bit of humor.

    Make the exact sales messages more humorous by changing the content.

  • Problem-solving techniques
    Rather than thinking of yourself as a salesperson, consider yourself an investigator. 

    To find a solution, you need to understand the problem statement and determine how your product fits into it. 

    You become a problem-solver salesperson once you start thinking about the client's issue from various angles.

    Note: Sometimes, your product may not solve the problem, and you insist on purchasing your product in any case. Those relationships don’t go a long way. Instead, showing honest direction to the client builds trust and makes the client want to come back to you in the future.
  • Empathetic selling
    When the pandemic broke out, people rushed for help. Businesses also sought assistance. 
    Sales were down for many companies during the slump.

    Sales coaching needs to step up and help sellers learn the difficult part of selling- No selling, only building rapport. 

    The importance of empathizing with your customers is way more significant than you know. Customers’ needs are determined by putting yourself in their shoes. Doing so strengthens client relationships and makes it easier to sell in the future. 
  • Celebrate your clients
    Your client recently started her business in the space of DIY furniture. She’s achieved the milestone after years of struggle and hard work. 

    So, how did you show your excitement? Have you congratulated her yet?

    Without going overboard, celebrating a client's achievements shows them that you care just as much about your relationship with them as they care about yours.

Sales coaching is marked as a critical role that managers play, according to 74% of growing companies.

Coaching addressed as an essential role is not at all astonishing. Frontline managers are well-prepared to take up the challenge and educate reps in the process. But the proper method and use of correct technology aids are necessary. 

Sales coaching is fruitful and sweeter if coaches follow specific proven yet innovative techniques. 

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