Coaching is a hot topic in the sales world but we normally only hear about it in relation to personal development. Articles covering topics such as “how to be the best coach” or “coaching tips for sales managers” are great to assist in developing your own coaching techniques, but when it comes down to it, coaching isn’t about you. Coaching is about your team and your coaching methodology should be as well.
To get the most value from any professional development program, sales training, or sophisticated tech stack, effective coaching is critical to success. Focus on your team members to get the most out of your coaching sessions and propel your team towards success.
Establishing a Sales Performance Coaching Methodology
How often do you coach your team? Companies with a formal coaching process see 91.2% of overall quota attainment, as compared to 84.7% quota attainment for companies with an informal coaching process. Coaching encompasses many topics, and needs to be a methodology and system to address the topics. A system or methodology will consist of:
- Schedule – Cadence and frequency
- Ownership of actions and accountability
- Tracking of progress
- Templates, guidelines
TIP: Using a Performance Management System such as LevelEleven can help you create regular sales coaching cadences and personalized coaching notes to ensure your reps are getting the time and attention they need.
Good vs Bad Coaching
“Coaching” means different things to different people. First, let’s clarify that being a good coach is different than being a good manager. “Manage” is a word indicating a focus on making sure work gets done. “Coach” is a word that means focusing on making the person better able to do the work well. Check out the infographic below to see the difference between the two roles managers must play…
TIP: Try creating standardized questions for your reps to answer before your coaching session. This pushes them to reflect on their performance, challenges, and wins beforehand, resulting in increased productivity during the meeting. Bonus points if you do the same – preparation is key when developing a coaching methodology!
Complementary Coaching Activities
Besides one-on-one sales performance coaching sessions with your reps, there are other activities your team can do to improve their performance. Although coaching is important, utilizing complementary activities is a fantastic way to solidify knowledge and new skills.
- Role playing – This is simple but effective. Focus on a behavior or common question that prospects ask that your reps are struggling with. Then have your reps get together and take turns role-playing the prospect and sales rep. This allows them to work through prospect pushbacks with less pressure to close a deal. It also gives your team a chance to debrief and talk about what worked so they can take these tactics back onto the sales floor.
- Critiquing prospecting emails/calls – Although listening to call recordings alone isn’t the best way for a manager to spend their time, the recordings can still be useful to your team. During your sales meetings, have reps take turns playing calls they either thought went well or struggled with. Then have your team break down each call, discussing what worked and what didn’t.
- Peer coaching/mentoring sessions – As a manager, you’re very busy and probably feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day to give your team the attention they deserve. Peer mentoring or coaching sessions not only help new reps, but also helps your more seasoned reps learn how to coach. This prepares the more experienced crowd to eventually become managers themselves.
TIP: Try multiple complimentary coaching activities until you find something that fits your team’s needs and processes. Mix them up every now and then to keep your reps on their toes.