Did you know that with the right coaching, your sales team can improve their performance by 19%? And according to the Human Capital Institute, 51% of companies that have a solid sales coaching program in place report higher revenues? Those are pretty impressive numbers. But first, what is sales coaching and why is it important?
What is sales coaching?
Research group, CSO Insights defines sales coaching as "a leadership skill that develops each salesperson’s full potential. Sales managers use their domain expertise along with social, communication, and questioning skills to facilitate conversations with their team members that allow them to discover areas for improvement and possibilities to break through to new levels of success.”
In a nutshell, sales coaching is a method in which managers guide and support sales reps in reaching their own target goals, and the team's quota as well.
Keep in mind that for sales coaching to be effective, it has to tailor-fit to each individual, and it's a dynamic process that's always changing. Coaching focuses on behavior rather than targets so the content and learning focuses on strategies, skills and techniques.
How can you coach your sales team?
Coaching is a long-term plan that is sure to yield good results and boost the confidence of your sales team. Here are some tips to remember when planning your sales coaching program.
1. Check in regularly.
Consistency is key to seeing improvements. You don't need a daily check-in but make sure to meet your reps at regular intervals. This could be weekly or every two weeks. Use this time to ask about challenges, and to review his or her progress on improvement.
2. Customize it.
It might be tedious to do this, but it will yield better results in the long run. Remember, each person is different, and their strengths and weaknesses will of course vary.. Take note of these and apply which style works for each.. Use data to identify which methods yield the most progress.
3. Tackle one improvement at a time.
To make sure that sales coaching is effective, focus first on just one point of improvement. Having too many things to take on is overwhelming and may be counterproductive in the long run. Taking it one step at a time ensures focused efforts, therefore more tangible results.
4. Provide tools and learning materials.
Your coaching sessions are not meant to take up hours. Provide additional resources so they take responsibility for their success such as webinars, articles, books, or podcasts.
5. Factor in mental well-being.
Implement boundaries and include reminders to work smart and keep the work within work hours. During coaching sessions, check in and ask questions such as "How did your meetings go?" or "What were your discussions and negotiations like?" Or “On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest, how do you think you did in that presentation and why?” Use open-ended questions to encourage specific and detailed answers.
6. Be open.
During coaching sessions, share your own stories - both of success and failure. This builds trust and strengthens the safe space. When they know that you've also been in a place where they are, you're more relatable as well. Provide concrete examples of how to overcome problems while on the job.
7. Give incentives for hitting major milestones.
Salespeople are naturally fueled by the rewards for their achievements. Recognize performance improvements, on top of the agreed upon incentives for set targets. These don’t have to be big, but small things like digital GCs that can cover a meal, still goes a long way.
In summary, sales coaching can bring out the best in all of your reps. Investing in coaching will lead to more fulfilled employees, and a healthier bottom line.