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7 transformative sales coaching tips that will improve your reps’ skills

January 30, 2018
Chris Orlob

Chris Orlob

Sales Management

Learning a few sales coaching tips might be the most important thing a sales manager can do today to improve their team’s performance.

Seem like a bold claim? The numbers don’t lie. The better the sales coaching program, the better a team performs. Sales teams with the best sales coaching programs:

Have better close rates:

“Companies with dynamic coaching programs achieve 28 percent higher win rates.”

(CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Study)

Generate more revenue:

“Firms that provide an optimal amount of coaching realize 16.7 percent greater annual revenue growth.”

(Sales Management Association)

They’ve even been shown to have better retention rates!

Unfortunately, sales coaching is easy to lose focus on when reps and managers alike are scrambling and always busy.

If sales coaching hasn’t been a priority for you, take some comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. According to the CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Study, Over 47 percent of sales managers spend less than 30 min a week coaching reps on skills and behaviors.

But there’s no better time than now to make sales coaching a priority again. Here are 7 fresh sales coaching tips you can put into practice today.

7 Actionable Sales Coaching Tips

1) Use data to figure out where reps need help

Figuring out where to start is often the biggest coaching challenge, especially if you haven’t been conducting coaching sessions on a regular cadence.

Fortunately, with all the sales coaching tools teams are using these days, every action is tracked, recorded, and catalogued.

All that data tells a clear story of how a rep is performing.

Before your next coaching session, pull a few key stats for your rep and compare them to the team average. Is your SDR making enough calls and setting enough demos?

Is your AE converting enough leads and closing enough opportunities?

Your CRM has all the answers and can help you pinpoint exactly where your coaching can do the most good.

Those using conversation intelligence technology can go a step further by diagnosing where each rep is struggling during their sales conversations.

2) Use visuals to illustrate performance

More and more studies are finding that visual learning leads to higher rates of comprehension and retention.

And that makes sense right?

It’s usually easier to understand something we can see than something we’re forced to imagine or conceptualize.

It’s strange then that so few sales coaches make use of visuals in coaching sessions.

If a rep is at the bottom of a team leaderboard, actually showing them where they stand will have a far greater impact in motivating them to get to the top.

If a rep has lower conversion rates, show them where in the sales cycle they’re losing their opportunities. Visualizing leads to understanding, and understanding leads to action and improvement.

3) Review call recordings

Call recordings have evolved into an indispensable sales tool that serves a number of important functions, but its roots lie in sales coaching itself.

Call recordings are a goldmine of insight into performance improvements and optimization for your sales reps. It’s your job to make sure they’re taking advantage of it.

Take the time to review a rep’s recorded call before your next coaching session.

If you’re using a conversation intelligence platform like Gong, you can make notes and call out specific topics and conversational attributes you’d like to discuss.

You can even review these calls on the go if your platform has a mobile app.

Reviewing these points with your reps will help them realize the value of their own call recordings and allow them to review and monitor their own behavior in the future.

4) Don’t be afraid to call for backup

If you feel like you’re taking on all the sales coaching responsibilities for your team on your own, you’re doing it wrong! There are tons of resources and people for you to tap into when coaching your team.

Your sales enablement team is a great resource for building out larger learning programs based on what you’ve been coaching the team on.

Tapping into the expertise of your product team, your marketing team, and your customer service team for knowledge sharing is both an easy way to share the load and a crucial step toward giving your team the knowledge they need to succeed.

Start connecting your reps with the valuable coaching resources all around them.

5) Watch how much you’re talking

An essential piece of sales coaching is buy-in from both parties.

Reps need to own their path forward and play an active role in crafting that path with you. And just like a sales call, getting buy-in comes from listening more than you speak.

Sales managers should always lead a coaching session, to be sure, but you should lead with questions and really listen to the answers.

Many times, reps will stumble onto answers and insights on their own as they talk through their problem.

Playing an active role in the coaching session will also help them to feel more involved in the process, and therefore more motivated to follow through with it.

6) Learn what motivates your team

If quota and compensation were enough to keep a modern sales team motivated, there would be no need for sales coaching.

But that’s just not the way it works.

People are dynamic and motivated by all number of factors in addition to money. The best sales coaches learn about their reps and coach based on what drives each individual.

Understanding what motivates your team doesn’t require you to be Sherlock Holmes.

Just ask your reps a few simple questions in your next coaching session. “What was the high point of your work week?” “What was the best call you had?” “Where do you want to be in your career a year from now?” You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about what motivates your reps and makes them tick.

7) Have a plan

No matter which sales coaching tips work best for you, the important thing is to codify them into a concrete coaching plan with a consistent schedule. According to CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Study, 75 percent of sales organizations waste resources due to random and informal coaching approaches.

Don’t let yourself fall into that trap. Staying consistent with a formalized process helps set expectations with your team, develop buy-in, and can save a lot of time and resources along the way.

What are your favorite sales coaching tips? Let us know!

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