Sales coaching is like training any muscle group. In order to keep growing, you have to switch up the exercises.
That’s why you need to change your sales coaching strategy every once in awhile. Don’t get me wrong, you should still have weekly or bi-monthly one-on-one sessions. But that’s not the only exercise that can help reps sharpen their skills. Here are three new types of sales coaching exercises to try.
3 ideas to spice up your sales coaching
1. Peer mentoring
Partner your reps up, but be strategic about it. Pair the rep who struggles to make cold calls with the one who’s knocking them out by the hour. Put reps who stumble through your messaging in the same group as the ones who can recite it in their sleep.
Here are two exercises to try for mentoring:
- Rapid-fire response: Reps quickly quiz each other on messaging, objection handling or storytelling.
- Role-playing: Reps role-play as buyer and seller, addressing common pain points and how your company solves them.
Take 30 minutes out of each week for peer mentoring exercises. Do 10 minutes of rapid-fire response, 10 minutes of role-play, then 10 more minutes of whichever of the two exercises the reps prefer. Every rep has something to learn from their peers, and the point of this exercise is to help them share best practices.
2. Group coaching
This can have a similar effect as peer mentoring, except group coaching involves the sales leader. Not only will reps learn from each other, but they’ll learn from you, their sales leader, as you participate in the exercises.
These are two types of group coaching sessions we recommend:
- Targeted call sessions: Everyone brings 5-10 contacts they want to cold call during the session. When it’s their turn, each person explains who the contact is, what they do, what messaging will be used and the goal of the conversation. They then make the cold call and either speak with the prospect or leave a voicemail.
- Win / loss analysis of closed deals: Have everyone come to the meeting with the last few deals they won and a few they lost. With the won deals, ask questions like: “Why did you look into this lead?” or “How did you know this was a good deal to pursue?” For the lost deals, ask questions like: “At what stage did the deal go south?” or “What would you have done differently?” (You can find a full list of questions to ask in this win/loss analysis checklist).
Do exercises like these once a month for about 60 minutes each. Keep in mind that reps might be timid about performing in front of their peers and manager. Reassure your team that no individual is being put on the spot. These exercises take place in a safe environment and are purely for educational purposes.
3. Professional development
According to research, autonomy, purpose and mastery are incredibly powerful motivators for performance – the last of which we’ll focus on for the following exercises. Here’s how career analyst Daniel Pink defines mastery: The urge to get better and better at something that matters.
Your sales reps want to be successful. The more business they close, the better they can support themselves and their families. As a sales leader, it’s your job to help them personally achieve mastery.
These two exercises can help:
- Sales certifications: These are similar to exams, but for selling techniques like contract negotiation, personalized outreach, storytelling and value propositions. Coach reps around those specific skills, provide them with study materials and then test them. This allows reps to be recognized for their hard work and also demonstrates who might be a good candidate for promotion in the future.
- Career development: Understand where your reps want to go with their career, and then set some medium- to long-term goals around it. For the sales rep who wants to become a manager, start equipping them with leadership skills and training. What about the sales rep who wants to move into sales operations or enablement? Send them to a conference or educational webinar to introduce them to the field. Even if a rep doesn’t have a specific goal in mind, come up with some short-term goals (other than sales goals) that they can work toward to achieve mastery.
You know that sales coaching is effective, so don’t drop any of your current coaching strategies. These exercises are just a way to supplement the process and spice things up for your team.