20 Sales Coaching Tips From A Successful Entrepreneur

Jim Eberlin really knows salespeople.

And it makes sense. Jim has more than two decades of scaling software companies from the ground up

sales coaching tipsHe founded two Silicon Valley market leaders (Gainsight and Host Analytics) and currently serves as the founder and CEO of TopOPPS. And he joined us in the most recent broadcast of our Modern Sales Leader Hangout.

Check out the 20 best tips he shared on sales coaching:

20 Sales Coaching Tips

  1. “You definitely need coaching on technique and coaching on sales process, but you also need to track whether you’re executing on this coaching, as well as if it’s working.”
  1. “In coaching, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all.”
  1. “It’s really important to have a clear understanding of your sales process. You have to know what happens, where — and really measure those types of things so you can coach from that.”
  1. “[In the companies I’ve helped grow], the VP of Sales has always been out in the field with the reps doing ride alongs or sitting on the calls. They are right there experiencing what the sales reps are experiencing. And that’s a big thing.”
  1. “Sometimes [reps are] afraid to give bad news, so I think creating a culture of awareness is so important so you don’t get the emotional aspect of it…having an environment where you’re not trying to catch sales reps doing something wrong. You’re all on an even playing field.”
  1. “I think it’s so important for management to be very clear on next steps [in the sales process]. That’s why it’s so important for the coach to be in the field with the reps: because they help [them] and work with them.”
  1. “You’ve got to have empathy. You’ve got to have communication.”
  1. “Catch yourself before you start zapping your reps or dressing them down. I get accountability. That’s super important…as long as a rep does what you want them to do or tell them to do (based on their experience level), they’re doing their job.”
  1. “I don’t think you just put [reps] out there and say, ‘I really need you to hit your number. Go get them.’ ”
  1. “One-on-ones are so important. That’s why separating them out from the weekly forecast call is so important.”
  1. “You have to evaluate the win rate you’re having, and where deals get stuck, and where deals start falling off to determine if the coaching advice you’re giving isn’t working.”
  1. “At least on a monthly basis, you have to start reviewing [coaching] metrics to see if you’re getting better or worse.”
  1. “The important metrics I think should be reviewed on a monthly basis are the average time it takes for a sales rep to ‘closed lost’ a deal, how many ‘no decisions’ they’re getting and how many multi-pushes.”
  1. “I’ll do ride alongs…I’ll jump in when I need to, but it can’t be me doing it. It’s got to be my rep.”
  1. “It’s so important to understand the health of your pipeline, and that is definitely related to whether or not you’re executing on what you’re teaching your reps.”
  1. “Our natural tendency is to turn our one-on-ones into another pipeline review. And I think that needs to be separate. It’s your opportunity to work with the individual.”
  1. “The culture of our company is what we apply to our sales organization, which is respect — we’re always very respectful of everyone — and high performance.”
  1. “I think the culture has to be one of awareness, of real-time information. Another saying we have is, ‘Bad news early is not bad news.’ “
  1. “If the reps are doing what’s expected of them, it’s not their fault. And so we all have to deal with it. We all know there are deals we thought we were going to win that fell out.”

And his number one tip for new sales leaders?

  1. “I would understand your sales process and what has to occur in each part of it to coach properly. “

Want to find out what else Jim had to say? Check out the whole broadcast:

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