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Sales Coaching 101

4 min readDecember 3, 2017

It seems that every day, more and more research appears that touts the benefits of sales coaching. One recent study even found that firms with well-implemented sales coaching strategies grew revenue nearly 17 percent faster than those without.

So, by now we all know we need to start coaching. But, do you know how to properly implement sales coaching within your organization? We’ve broken proper coaching down to its basic elements so you know how to establish a successful strategy.  

Use the Right Data

If you are building a foundation for sales coaching, then data is the concrete that forms it. Tools to collect and disseminate data are crucial to evaluating your team’s performance and your effectiveness as a sales coach. You need insights into call metrics, meeting effectiveness, and conversion rates to understand how reps perform and what needs to be improved.

Think about the Golden State Warriors. Just like they know getting Stephen Curry open in the right place guarantees 3 points, you’ll know that your team has to hit the phones to drive more revenue.

Create Visibility Between Actions, Goals, and Outcomes

Sales Team CoachingSales coaching requires visibility, ownership, and understanding. You should clearly define goals and the path to achieve them. If you ask a rep to set three meetings per day, you must also provide them with guidelines around who to call and what to say to give them the best possible chance of making it happen. Hold reps accountable by making your data visible so they (and others) can easily see where they stand. You can foster some healthy competition among your reps with gamification like contests or leaderboards.

Furthermore, create visibility between individual, team, department, and company goals so each rep can understand how their personal actions contribute to overall success. Just like each position on a football team follows a particular path, show your players the plays you need to run to win.

Coach the Individuals

Individual sessions are a cornerstone of sales coaching. These meetings allow you to work directly with each rep on a personal level. During these sessions, be open, conversational, and consultative. Spend time talking about deals they are working on, their next steps, and if they need anything from you.

Also, use your data and discussion to identify each reps strengths and weaknesses. Consider non-traditional metrics like the time it takes to make a follow up call, or the outbound calls by time of day, which can be easily improved by adjusting a rep’s behavior.

Develop methods to employ their strengths and training to improve their performance. One-on-one meetings also give you a complete understanding of your team on both micro and macro levels.

Educate, but don’t Disrupt

Now that you’ve identified what must be improved, find a method of educating your reps. The training should be quick, effective, and easily digestible, but it cannot occupy time that your reps should be selling. When you decide on training topics, focus only on the one or two most pressing, like researching prospects or maintaining relationships. Then, once performance has improved, move to the next. Just like a coach makes adjustments to his team between games, this will prevent you from overloading your reps with too much information and gives them time to apply what they have learned.

Align Motivation and Goals

The rewards in many organizations consist of basic sales commissions, but it’s important to incentivize the actions that lead to a desired result. If setting meetings is a key contributor to success, you can reward exceeding goal with something that provides value to reps. Remember, prizes don’t always have to be monetary. You can give days off, the opportunity to work from home, or a dinner. Decide what your play of the game looks like.

Provide Ongoing Feedback

Like education, your feedback and input into the team should be an ongoing process. Don’t wait until something goes wrong to weigh in. You should constantly monitor ongoing deals and provide guidance and input. Use call monitoring and recording, real-time analytics, and in-person sessions to track progress and discuss the positives as well as the negatives. A coach doesn’t give his team the plan and leave the field when the game starts, he’s there every step of the way to make adjustments and provide praise.

Celebrate the Wins

One of the most important aspects of sales coaching is to be positive. Celebrate the wins with your team, reward them for doing well, be optimistic and upbeat. As a coach you are there to uplift, encourage, and empower your team. This increases workplace happiness and leads to better employee engagement and retention.