Sales coaching is an essential element of any sales enablement program. A sales team can have all the right tools, but if they’re not properly coached, it’s unlikely they’ll use those tools optimally. That means you need to get your coaching culture on the right track.
What Is Sales Coaching?
Sales coaching is a method to help each salesperson reach their full potential. It’s a process for evaluating each salesperson to find their strengths and weaknesses, eliminating the weaknesses, and using their strengths to help other salespersons. Sales coaching involves both one-on-one training and group sessions where peers can help each other.
Sales coaching isn’t a onetime training session. It’s an ongoing process that stimulates continuous improvement for each salesperson. Just like you don’t train at a health club once per month or quarter, you don’t train a salesperson once a quarter. Sales coaching develops each salesperson’s sales muscles by continuously exercising those muscles.
How Sales Coaching Can Help Your Sales Team
Sales coaching can help your sales team by bringing to their attention some mind-blowing information. For example, did you know that 91% of customers say they would refer clients to a salesperson, but only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals? That’s a startling statistic. Salespeople aren’t tapping this vast pool of new customers for failing to do one simple thing: ask for referrals.
Are your salespeople asking for referrals? You need to know and you need to work this into stories used in the coaching process. Why not just tell the sales team about this important statistic? Because 63% of people remember stories while only 5% remember statistics.
You need to coach such important information into your sales team. Drill important messages, like asking for referrals, into your sales team through simulations.
A good sales coaching process can help you keep your salespeople. It costs $10,000 to $15,000 to hire a new salesperson when a salesperson leaves. Then, it takes about ten months for a new hire to be fully productive. You lose a lot when you lose a salesperson.
5 Goals of a Successful Sales Coaching Program
How do you optimize your sales team with sales coaching? As one of the greatest football coaches of all time, Nick Saban would say, it’s a process.
Any type of coaching involves a process that must be methodically, persistently, and continuously followed. Sales coaching is no exception to this rule.
Use Metrics To Spot the Strengths and Weaknesses
Your best salesperson probably has some weaknesses they can improve. Why worry about the weaknesses of a great salesperson? Because removing the weakness will increase sales. A weaker salesperson may have some strengths that the rest of your team could learn from them. Use that person’s strengths to lift the whole team.
Your sales ops team must provide the metrics you need. Without the right metrics, how can you assess each salesperson or the sales team? Running any part of a business without metrics is like driving a car without a speedometer or fuel gauge.
Design Coaching Situations To Strengthen the Weaknesses of Your Sales Team
You need hard metrics to spot the strengths and weaknesses of a particular salesperson. Consider a measure like conversion rates. Do you have a salesperson that’s weak in closing the deal? Coach them one-on-one with different closing scenarios. Observe their closing techniques and give immediate feedback.
Maybe you have one salesperson that has a much higher average deal size than the sales team. Set up role-playing exercises in a class setting where that salesperson helps the rest of the sales team learn how they do it. That’s coaching.
Do Not Get Your Sales Team Off-Track by Coaching Too Much Too Soon
Everyone has heard the old saying, “the only certainty in life is death and taxes.” But, the saying isn’t true. Technology or spirituality may overcome death. Some people get away with not paying taxes. In reality, the only certainty in life is change. Change is everywhere. You’re not even alive if you’re not changing on the cellular level. Yet, many people resist change.
Salespeople will resist adding sales coaching to their routines. They’ll think of it as another sales meeting that wastes time they could use to make new sales. How do you get around this? First, start small. Second, make sure the coaching is relevant so the salespeople can see it’s increasing their sales, not wasting their time.
Early implementation of your sales coaching program could focus on something as small as the best voicemails to ensure a return call. Use role-playing with feedback to get your points across. Such as exercise might be an excellent choice for salespeople who have a lower than average success rate on having their calls returned. This matters since 92% of customer interactions happen over the phone.
Use Group Coaching in Addition to One-on-One Coaching
Sales coaching isn’t just about one-on-one coaching. Classes are good too. Role-playing in front of the sales team allows feedback from the other salespersons. This type of practice strengthens weaker salespersons by observing and practicing the strengths of their peers. The peer review of the weaker salesperson’s pitch makes that salesperson into a better salesperson.
Seek Ideas on Coaching From Within Your Team and From Outside Resources
Listen to your sales team. Metrics can only tell you so much. Metrics may identify the right questions, but communication with the sales team connects the dots that metrics can’t. The first step to effective communication is to listen.
Ask the salespersons if there’s anything they need to improve their performance. Get their input. You need to know what type of coaching they think would be most helpful.
Use knowledge from outside the company to improve your sales team. Sales enablement professionals are a great resource to exploit. Sometimes, it takes these professionals to see through your blind spots.
If you aren’t using sales coaching, your team is missing a lot of sales. As with anything, there’s a cost in time and money for sales coaching. But, did you know that 55% of people making their living in sales don’t have the skills to be successful?
It’s a proven fact that sales coaching can bring an astronomical return on investment. It’s time your sales team implements or improves its sales coaching program. The quicker you implement or upgrade your program, the sooner you’ll see those returns.