Sales coaching has become an integral part of the sales process. By definition, sales coaching is defined as a process that helps sales reps improve their performance and achieve their potential.
It is very different from sales management.
Oftentimes the line can seem dubious, but it’s really not.
Sales Management is a monitored execution of a structured plan – basically playing out a manager’s field plan. It’s more one-way.
Sales Coaching, however, is more collaborative – It’s active participation on the part of both. It’s aimed at the evolution of the sales rep, improving individual performances, closing better & helping them reach their respective potential. Enabling your Salesforce helps them achieve their goals faster.
There are many different coaching styles and methods that sales coaches can use to help their salespeople. However, not all coaching methods are created equal. Some coaching methods are more effective than others.
Here are 10 tips to help you redefine your sales coaching process and garner sales results from your sales team.
- Setting their own growth goals
This is a bit obvious but will sound a bit counterintuitive to the manager in you.
Letting your sales reps choose their own goals can help them be more committed. All a sales coach can do is lead them to growth, but never define it for them.
Have an open-hearted talk with them trying to understand the areas they want to focus on in the long term and the short term. Let them set a clear metric and a timeline of their own.
Give them a hand whenever they fall short and keep them accountable.
- Focusing on Specific Sales Skills
Sales is a blend of a lot of moving parts. You cannot expect someone to focus on only persuasion or psychology or maybe only dispute resolution. The sales reps need to be great at few, and better than good at many.
And instead of winging it, focusing on specific sales skills in a planned manner can really bring out results.
Here are a few specific sales skills that you can help your sales reps with:
- Negotiation Skills
- Active listening
- Social Selling
- Reading Buyer Signals
- Objection Handling
- Territory Management
- A solid action plan
Get a solid action plan in place for each of the sales reps. Sales before everything is about numbers. And what better way to show progress than in improved numbers?
That’s why a detailed documented action plan personalized for each rep is where you should begin.
It should include a crystal clear goal, distinctly defined steps to reach that goal, and a timeline to achieve it.
Documenting such a plan will put things in perspective for each sales rep as far as their growth is concerned and even help you as a coach to understand if any progress is made.
- Sales Coaching should involve Call Review
Have a periodic round of collaborative sales call reviewing with each of your sales reps. Instead of monitoring a bunch of rep calls in solitude only to tick the box – sit on live calls, and provide instant feedback ensuring that they implement right away. This will benefit them largely without risking the dilution of substance as with asynchronous feedback.
- Build a deeper relationship with them
If the sales rep doesn’t trust you the effect of coaching would probably be minimal to non-existing. Coaching is very different from managing as it adds a personal layer to the process. Helping a sales rep grow on a Holistic level requires you to build a healthy relationship with them that goes deeper than just the surface level.
Stories can be a great tool to stimulate conversations leading to such relationships. Tell them about your own sales journey, talk to them about your failures, the things that stuck, the wins that you cherished. Try to find some common ground to grow your relationship on, later.
The better the relationship, the more impact the coaching will have.
- Facilitate Self Evaluation
Self Evaluation is a part of the coaching meant to inculcate accountability. As a coach, you need to facilitate the self-evaluation process using open-ended questions like
- What was your biggest win last quarter?
- Where do you think you could do better?
- If there’s one thing about your sales process you could improve what it would be?
- Inculcate a Productivity Culture
Not to be a boss that hounds the rep micromanaging their every task but priority on productivity weeding out tasks that are redundant or could be done more efficiently can improve performance
Sales have a lot of moving parts. And if things go a bit wild, out of hand, there can be a lot of time wasted without results.
Initiate a productivity culture where the ‘selling’ hours are treated and talked about as money. Understand the loopholes and help the sales reps cut them for overall efficient output.
- Encourage them to practice their pitch
In addition, to live feedback, you should also encourage and help them to practice their pitch. This can be done by role-playing, recording sales calls, or having reps give their pitch to other members of the sales team. Practising their pitch will help reps feel more confident and deliver a more polished presentation.
- Encourage your sales reps to be proactive
The best sales reps are always looking for new opportunities and ways to improve their performance. Encourage your sales reps to be proactive and take initiative in their work. They should be constantly looking for new leads, trying new sales strategies, and improving their product knowledge.
- Keep a tab on Rep’s Mental Well Being
It’s very hard to sell something when you are not doing good on a mental level. Selling or persuasion requires a lot of energy, patience, and a balanced mindset to work.
According to a recent salesforce survey on sales success, one out of three salesmen has declined mental health in the last few years.
Without mental well-being, the sales rep would have poor performance reflecting on the overall company results.
Keeping a tab on the rep’s mental wellbeing with a periodic check-in and setting clear boundaries & work hours for them are the best place to begin.
Last words of advice
The above sales coaching tips are very effective in helping salespeople improve their performance. By following these tips you can help your sales team improve their skills, increase their knowledge, and grow holistically. And by extension improve their sales career and the ROI output for the company.