Investing in your people is the fastest path to profitability.
The reason is simple: If you can get each rep to be more successful, they’re going to make more money for your business.
In fact, according to a study by the ValueSelling Associates & Training Industry, 60% of high-revenue growth companies use sales coaching as part of their training program.
Unfortunately, many sales managers struggle with the skills and confidence to coach effectively.
Read on for our tips to improve your sales coaching effectiveness and build a team of self-motivated, growing reps.
Why is Effective Sales Coaching Important?
Effective sales coaching is a two-fold process: organizing your team so everyone is working in alignment, and improving the individual performance of each rep.
Both are essential. Underperformance on the individual level means you’ll always fall short. But misalignment is also dangerous, as it keeps you from applying all maximum effort toward your core objectives.
But if you want a faster path to profitability, starting by improving individual rep performance is the best option. Once you get your reps firing on all four cylinders, then you can work on realignment.
For some tactical resources to help make your sales coaching more effective, click here to download our FREE Sales Coaching Success Kit.
Tips to Improve Your Sales Coaching Effectiveness
Now that we’ve walked through the importance of sales coaching, here are six tips you can apply to your own coaching practice.
1. Intentionally build rapport with the rep.
Sales coaching is a two-way street. If you actually want to see meaningful change beyond the surface level, this requires mutual trust.
Not only do they need to trust that your advice is helpful, but they need to trust that they can come to you with their struggles without being yelled at. When you build that level of trust, they’re going to be more comfortable diagnosing their challenges, which is the first step to improving them.
One way to build rapport is to share stories of how you’ve overcome similar challenges to the ones they’re currently facing. This not only shows the reps that you’re human, but that they can overcome those challenges (and potentially become a sales leader one day).
2. Use a coaching intelligence tool to record and review sales calls.
Many coaching teams now work remotely. But even if you have a literal sales floor, it’s impossible for you to be everywhere at once. That’s where coaching intelligence software comes in.
This kind of software allows you to record and review conversations, surfacing insights that allow you to identify coachable moments. For instance, if a rep struggles with gathering information from the prospect, you could see if the problem is in their talk-listen ratio, or their inability to ask probing questions.
3. Get to the root issue.
Like we mentioned earlier, you need to be diagnostic in your approach to rep challenges. “They aren’t booking meetings” isn’t a root issue: you need to look at if their problem is the fact that they’re not making enough calls, or whether their conversation skills suck.
A great analogy here is the drill sergeant vs. the mechanic.
A drill sergeant just barks orders until the rep does what they’re told. While this can be helpful in emergencies, it ends up being ineffective because you don’t know why the rep is falling short.
The mechanic, on the other hand, will get under the hood and investigate. They won’t stop until they know why the rep is behaving a certain way, and what steps are necessary to improve.
To learn more about the science of sales coaching and performance improvement, click here.
4. Encourage reps to “own” their performance & growth.
The only person who can change a rep’s behavior is the rep themselves. So the fastest way to improve your coaching effectiveness is to get them to “own” their own growth.
Each coaching session should end in a commitment to specific behaviors and actions that will close a skill gap. If they truly understand the value and own their own growth, then you shouldn’t have a problem when the next coaching session comes along.
5. Focus on one improvement at a time.
If you want to tangibly improve a rep’s performance, you can’t try and fix everything at once. Instead, focus on one key skill gap — like discovery questions — and work on improving that skill. Once they master it, move on to the next one, and so forth.
6. Create an accountability plan for the rep.
Although reps should own their performance, you also need to build accountability. The best way to avoid misfires and missed expectations is to write out an accountability plan, detailing exactly what the rep is responsible for during a certain time period.
For instance, you could task reps with researching 20-25 prospects and calling 20-25 more per day for a week. Then you can review the data from your CRM and coaching intelligence tool to figure out a) if they completed the plan, and b) how effective they were at those tasks.
Final Thoughts on Sales Coaching Effectiveness
This brings us to one final point. If you want to be effective at sales coaching, you need to invest in your reps. According to a study by LinkedIn, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career.
By prioritizing sales coaching effectiveness, you’re demonstrating to reps that you’re committed to helping them develop their careers. Plus, this makes them more profitable, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
Our FREE Sales Coaching Success Kit can help you upskill your team and drive more revenue. Click here to download it.