What if you could help businesses supercharge their sales, earn massive profits, and make it big across the industry? Sounds excellent, right? The best part is you can.
Sales coaching, sometimes called sales management coaching, makes this dream possible. A case study for a telecom firm shows a 500% boost in prospect meetings and exponential growth (14 times) in just one client account after working with a coach. Sales coaching also implies a better use of resources and higher win rates.
And skyrocketing rewards mean talented professionals promulgate change behind the numbers. Good sales coaches are maestros in bringing the best out of employees and propelling improvements. And businesses invest in a sales coach’s services to reap successful results — and statistics prove it.
Here’s everything you need to know about how sales coaching techniques can help increase businesses’ income and employees’ satisfaction levels.
So what is sales coaching?
Sales coaching is a mentoring process involving a sales coach and the client (most likely a company or brand). These coaches work directly with representatives, helping them improve sales performance and achieve company-preset milestones, such as 50% growth in customer revenue, a 60% increase in engagement, and more.
To create a sound route forward, sales coaches help organizations discover opportunity areas in their current sales strategies. They work with managers and decision-makers to set goals before motivating sales reps to reach these objectives. Employees may need additional tools and skills (such as business acumen, organization, and creativity) to make the desired change, and coaches provide these resources and follow various techniques to help these people.
But what are sales coaching techniques? These are actions coaches take to support sales representatives. Sales coaches actively listen to employees, pinpoint realistic action items, and share honest feedback. They help representatives identify improvement areas and discover intrinsic motivation to change.
Sales coaching versus sales training
Coaching and training may be synonymous in many contexts, but not when referring to sales.
Sales representatives need training to understand how to perform their job. But effective coaching helps reps go above and beyond, turning all team members into top performers. Think of training as a requirement and coaching as an enhancement.
Here are a few more key differentiators:
- Delivery: Sales training typically happens once, likely during a new employee’s onboarding process. Coaching, however, is an ongoing process where a mentor observes reps, provides tools and skills, and gives feedback.
- Content: As an onboarding process, sales training covers the basics a rep needs to get started. Training addresses product or service knowledge, sales and customer service skills, and platforms and other technology the company uses. Whereas coaching implies individualized action plans and specific know-how reps need to achieve goals.
- Focus: In sales coaching, mentors work with representatives to change behaviors. But training focuses on more practical aspects, such as sales development plans and customer acquisition initiatives, providing the essential information reps need to perform their roles.
4 effective sales coaching techniques
A business seeking to advance its sales needs a plan, and that’s where a sales coach steps in. Sales coaches work to increase employees’ effectiveness, evaluate progress, and provide feedback — even during difficult moments like tight deadlines.
Here’s how you, the mentor, can run a successful sales coaching program:
- List goals: First things first –– employees must understand the organization’s desired results and their steps toward achieving these goals. Sales coaches help reps identify objectives and chart action items. This also provides the baseline for tracking progress. Metrics allow coaches to rechart as needed.
- Identify potential issues: Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, which are potential opportunities, and you must determine these before coaching clients. A sales rep may need better training or tools to perform better, and a coach helps them identify these shortcomings. For example, you can meet with management and express employees’ need for a better customer relationship management (CRM) system. You can also help recognize soft skills that may better suit an employee to handle tasks they’re not currently assigned.
- Role-play: We’ve heard practice makes perfect, and it’s certainly true. While it may take several attempts to master something, you can get there. Since customer service representatives have complex conversations with their clients, practicing these talks beforehand can lessen nerves, provide the correct phrasing, and offer reps tactics to turn challenging situations into positive results. Lead role-playing sessions to build confidence and implement strategies for closing deals on sales calls. This is possible with groups to remind members they’re all in the same boat, encouraging team members to support one another and the organization’s goals.
- Share observations and feedback: Coaches typically note sales reps in action and provide feedback on their work. Since everyone has different areas of opportunity, you can understand individual reps’ personalized goals and ticks. And in case you notice a slump, you can intervene promptly. Sometimes, exponentially boosting rep performance is just a matter of having frequent check-ins to understand employees’ roadblocks and provide tools or training to get around them.
3 sales coaching tips to follow
Great sales coaches guide employees toward change, and the mentorship process runs more smoothly when coaches implement tried and tested tips. Here are a few sales coaching best practices to leverage:
- Set SMART goals: Goal-setting is definitely essential, but if you help clients determine SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals, the whole process becomes easy to manage and track. The term is also an industry reference for an excellent goal-setting technique. SMART goals give employees clear objectives within reach. These support sales targets within the company, putting metrics and a time limit on milestones and encouraging timely issue detection.
- Celebrate success: While reaching company and professional goals motivates sales representatives, a bit of celebration can go a long way. For instance, a bonus program brings out employees’ best work, and an end-of-month catered lunch improves team dynamics and gives everyone something to look forward to. Basically, recognition is essential at any level as it acknowledges salespeople’s efforts, motivating them to do more in the future.
- Provide constructive criticism: While destructive feedback demoralizes employees, constructive criticism empowers them. Share constructive feedback providing context and solutions, and remind the recipient that they have the tools and skills to improve. Also, offer one-on-one input to team members, focusing on the issue at hand without scolding the person or making them feel guilty. Finally, check in and follow up during coaching, and don’t leverage damaging tactics to bring your clients’ morale down. You may just improve employee retention in the process!
Keep learning with Practice
Practice provides a wealth of educational resources for coaches and small businesses. Balancing the administrative aspects of entrepreneurship while providing a quality service for clients is challenging work, and The Practice Blog can guide you.
But that’s not all. We know you’ll make an excellent sales coach and cater to multiple clients, which can make managing administrative tasks tiresome. That’s why we created our CRM system to help you keep things organized.
Our Client Management Software, designed with coaches and small business owners in mind, is an all-in-one solution. It allows you to receive payments, send contracts, store client data, and more. Try it today.