According to Checkli, companies with a formal training process reach 91.2% of their sales quota. In another article, we discussed the importance of setting sales quotas. If you do not have a sales quota, you will fail to consistently increase your sales over time.
Without sales coaching, your sales team will have a problem hitting their monthly, quarterly, or yearly sales quotas, which means your sales will suffer. Sales coaching is one of the most effective (if not the most effective) productivity investments in sales.
So, what should you know about sales coaching? Let’s find out.
Sales coaching is the process of evaluating and mentoring your sales reps to optimize their sales performance and increase sales consistently. With an effective sales coaching program, you can identify each rep’s sticking points and deficiencies and show them how to take ownership of their sales performance…ultimately improving their performance and making a positive impact on the organization.
Here are a few examples of sales coaching:
However, sales coaching is NOT giving a step-by-step process and the same advice to each sales rep without accounting for their strengths, weaknesses and motivations.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, sales coaching helps you improve your sales team’s performance. Here are a few other benefits you may not have thought about:
Okay, this one is obvious.
For one thing, sales coaching helps diagnose deficiencies and increase overall efficiency. This translates to the consistently excellent performance by your sales team. So, sales coaching keeps everyone on their toes, thus boosting your sales and revenue.
Besides this, sales coaching helps your sales team close bigger deals than they are probably used to closing at this point. As you help them take care of their weaknesses and give each sales rep specific feedback, they will feel more confident in closing deals they’ve never done thus far.
Think about it - if your sales reps do not fully understand your products and services, how are they going to convince anyone else to sign up for them? Sales coaching allows you to fully explain each product and service to sales reps - highlighting the features, use cases, merits, and demerits of each product and service and how they fare against those of your competitors.
Giving your sales rep a crystal clear picture like this will help them identify what the customer needs and close them accordingly.
The primary challenge that sales reps face is uncertainty. Many of them are uncertain about their skills as sales reps and are not sure that they can improve. With sales coaching on your side, you can instill hope in your sales team and get them to perform beyond their expectations.
If you have strategies you know are proven to work, why not share them with your team to boost your sales performance? Sales coaching allows you to do this. This way, you can ensure consistency amongst your sales team, while still giving them custom advice based on their strengths and weaknesses.
Sales coaching gives your employees clear steps and directions. This reduces potential confusion and burnout. Sales coaching is designed to help improve their sales performance and productivity, hence increasing employee satisfaction.
If your sales reps do their jobs well and feel a sense of accomplishment after having done them, they are more likely to stay in your company despite being tempted by offers from other companies.
If you give your sellers effective training, they will do their job with confidence and efficiency, which means that your clients are likely to be satisfied. Increased satisfaction translates to more referrals and a higher retention rate.
While different companies have different goals and objectives, here are a few that most companies have in common:
Now that we have a few sales coaching goals in place, here are a few outcomes you need to see as a result of your sales coaching:
Here are a few sales coaching techniques you can incorporate:
Sure, coaching each sales rep one-on-one can be helpful. However, you will save a lot of time and effort if you can get at least one successful sales rep to help the rest of the team. Encourage them to share their best practices, strategies, techniques, and the mistakes they made that they should have avoided.
Remember how we talked about employee satisfaction? The last thing a sales rep wants is to be ordered around and micromanaged every step of the way. Instead, give them a basic framework and set of rules and allow them to manage their work independently.
Besides this, you want to involve them as you try to optimize your process. Ask them for feedback on how to improve, which metrics to track, what you should stop doing, etc.
If you do not have data on your side, you will have no idea how to focus your sales coaching efforts. After all, how do you improve when you do not know where you are lacking?
Using sales software (like Outplay) can help you leverage your data, track conversion metrics, and identify the overall areas of improvement. Another thing you can do is track and compare each sales rep’s performance.
Since you need your sales reps to excel at various skills, it makes sense to mix up your sales coaching style every now and then. Alternate between strategic (big picture) sales coaching, tactical, and specific skill coaching.
Tactical coaching refers to sales knowledge and skills - qualifying your prospect, sales calls, etc. Specific skills are, well…specific. This could refer to communication, soft skills, etc.
So you know a few sales coaching techniques you can use immediately. But, how do you measure their effectiveness? There are five primary metrics to track to measure your sales coaching’s effectiveness.
Productivity is the primary metric to track while measuring your sales coaching’s effectiveness because it gives you an overview of your entire sales process. Two metrics that help you track this are conversions and sales cycle length.
Retention is another critical metric to track. When we say retention, we are referring to both - customer and employee retention. So, you know your sales coaching techniques are working if you are able to increase the customer Lifetime Value (LTV) and retain more customers and employees.
Assessments are particularly useful when you are tracking your employees’ behavior. If you want an employee to improve their behavior and communication with their prospects and team members, making quantifiable assessments and tracking them can help you identify their progress.
You can also track absentees to check how well your sales coaching strategies are working. If you notice that your sales reps are feeling pressurized and not turning up, you can alter your techniques accordingly.
Here are some of the best sales coaching practices you can use to ensure productivity and optimal sales performance:
The best way to give specific feedback is to evaluate each sales rep’s sales calls. Be sure to record each sales rep’s sales calls and review them one-on-one to give them custom coaching. This way, you will be able to identify their areas of improvement and make them aware of the same.
We mentioned not giving the same advice to every sales rep. While sales reps differ in skillsets, their motivations also vary. Sure, they all want to make money.
But, how much? And why? If you want to engage your sales reps in the best possible way and maximize their potential, you will need to find out what makes them tick. That will tell you how motivated they are, how long they might work with you, and so on. You can use this information to tweak your sales coaching strategy.
This should go without saying but incentives are vital. If you want your sales reps to improve on a certain metric and find that they aren’t making enough progress, consider giving them an incentive - like a flat amount or percentage from the sales they make if they hit a target you set.
Again, you will need to know each sales rep’s motivation to give them the right incentive.
We aren’t saying you should sugarcoat anything. However, you may want to consider giving them positive reinforcement as you give them specific feedback. This is vital because it keeps them in high spirits and they become aware of whatever they are doing correctly.
As your sales team grows, it can become difficult to keep track of each sales rep’s strengths, weaknesses, and progress. Make sure you conduct quick meetings regularly so that everyone in the team is clear about where they stand and can work in the most efficient way possible.
Earlier, we discussed employee satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment. In other words, your employees want to contribute to a shared vision. So, before you get them started, we recommend you share your vision and mission as clearly as possible.
You also want to remind them of your vision, which means that you ought to share it at every team and one-on-one meeting. Furthermore, you should shine a light on those sales reps who have been working towards that vision.
When your sales reps are just starting or if they have a sticking point they are not able to get past, try role-playing with them to help them practice. Conducting role-plays to help them overcome uncomfortable situations can help them learn quickly without bearing the pressure of not messing it up with a client.
Ultimately, the sales coaching itself has to be amazing. If you have ineffective sales coaching and strategies, the lack of progress and performance from the sales department is on you. So, ensure your sales coaching brings actual results upon implementation. Make sure you are constantly testing and revamping your strategy and empower your sales team by directing them to important resources like ebooks, websites, and other content.
There you have it - a quick guide to sales coaching to help you get started. To recap, sales coaching is one of the best investments you can make to improve your team’s sales performance and overall ROI. It helps your sales team consistently meet the fixed monthly, quarterly, and yearly sales quotas. Check out our blog to quickly get a grip on the fundamentals of sales.
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