Where should I focus my coaching?
How am I supposed to make time to do more coaching?
Is it even working??
Most sales managers don’t get the full ROI from their coaching.
But top sales managers drive maximum impact by focusing their coaching on high-leverage areas.
Coaching opportunities are everywhere, you just need to know where to look.
Here’s how to cut bad coaching habits and deliver the high-impact coaching your team are craving.
The kind of coaching that puts a dent in revenue charts.
Sales Coaching Opportunity #1: Tactical Coaching (i.e. Coaching 101)
Coaching 101. Tactical coaching.
Whatever you call it, it’s important — the foundation of any sales coaching.
And more often than not, this tactical, hands-on coaching happens during one-on-one meetings.
Yet, most sales managers don’t take advantage of the numerous coaching opportunities that present themselves during one-on-ones. Instead, we dive right into the pipeline conversations.
Cue the all-too-familiar game of catch-up:
Next steps? DM involvement? Compelling event?
Before you know it, you’re updating your CRM.
To each other.
Meanwhile, can’t-miss coaching opportunities are, well, missed.
Here’s where to look to find these tactical coaching opportunities (and turn your reps into unstoppable closing machines):
- Sales call recordings: Have your reps come prepared with one call (just one). Spend time analyzing what went well as well as ways to improve.
- Role play: Is new behavior not being adopted? More often than not, it’s because reps don’t feel comfortable – use your script as a starting point and have them formulate it in their words. Now your coaching actually stands a chance of sticking.
- Self-discovery: Beyond shaking off a bad call, use your 1:1s to guide reps to find their own answers: What about the call didn’t go as planned? Why do you think that is? If you could go back and do it again, what would you do differently? How are you going to ensure you do that next time? See how quickly you can move from playing catch-up to coaching?
Sales coaching foundation set. Part 1, done.
But that’s only the first part of your plan.
Sales Coaching Opportunity #2: Strategic Coaching (i.e., Deal Coaching)
Don’t just coach calls, coach deals.
Focusing on a single call or just one stage in the sales funnel is highly tactical.
And sure, tactics are necessary, but strategy separates the so-so reps from the top deal closers.
When you switch from coaching calls (single track, tactical) to coaching deals (holistic, strategic), the larger risks that affect the whole deal begin to bubble to the surface.
And that’s where you’re most valuable as a leader.
What this type of coaching does is turn your reps into pipeline owners, territory managers, book of business CEOs.
They know the risks they’re up against and are proactively getting ahead of them.
They build a contingency plan for every possible situation:
Contact going dark? Boom. Multi-threading.
Deal slipping? Bang. Back-up pipeline.
Deal stalling? Kapow. Compelling event.
Here’s how to coach on deals:
- Identify common deal risks in your pipeline: Train your reps to spot them in their deals.
- Think strategically: It’s about poking holes in deals AND coming up with solutions for each one.
- Elevate pipeline management: Don’t be a crutch. Great coaches are there to sound ideas, not be in every deal whispering guidance into their reps’ ears.
Bottom line: Deal warnings are coachable moments.
When they come up, you (the sales manager) can tag your rep and start the coaching session immediately.
This leads us to the third sales coaching opportunity. This one is about self-improvement.
Sales Coaching Opportunity #3: Self-Coaching
Managers love this one.
Not just because it saves them time but also because it makes reps more coachable across the board.
And it starts with game tape.
Athletes beat their personal best by studying past performance.
What would happen if your reps did too?
Here’s what happened for me:
First, I found my own areas of improvement. (When I first started using Gong, I immediately saw ways to make my discovery questions better. 82% talk time – ouch)
Second, I tracked my progress week over week. My talk-time dropped immediately because I had a hard stat I could see.
And third, maybe I gleaned a little inspiration from other top performers on my team. I won’t tell if you don’t.
Yes, sales coaching software helps.
But anyone can do this on their own.
The only limit is your imagination (and motivation).
Pssssst… Need more inspiration? Download this sales coaching template. It’ll show you how to move from “random acts of coaching” to high-impact coaching – the kind that motivates your team AND shows up in dashboards.
Your coaching engine is firing on all cylinders.
System 1: Call Coaching – aka coaching 101.
System 2: Deal Coaching – i.e. getting your reps to de-risk their pipeline (so you don’t have to be in every deal).
And System 3: Self-Coaching.
Now the glue that holds it all together: data.
Data is how elite sales managers get their coaching to pay dividends.
- Data doesn’t lie. Reps can’t shrug off coaching recommendations based on data.
- Data saves you time. It highlights where reps need to improve so you can skip right to coaching.
- Data knows what works. Bringing up pricing early? Showing features vs talking benefits? The answer is in the data.
Without data, you’re stuck with stab-in-the-dark coaching.
And, to me, that just doesn’t feel very you.
I mean, how else are you going to find out that your reps are losing deals to the same objection? Listen to every call?