3 Sales Coaching Best Practices to Hit the Ground Running

sales coaching best practices a stick figure coach is encouraging his team with a bull horn to climb up the arrow

Sales Coaching Best Practices
If you want to improve sales results for you and your sales team, follow sales coaching best practices and make frequent, consistent, and targeted sales coaching an integral part of your your solution selling training process.  Even if your sales team is performing pretty well, you may be missing the chance for them to perform at their peak. Training your sales managers on sales coaching best practices can make a significant improvement in your sales team’s performance.

How significant? Our recent study showed a 4-to-1 difference between the performance of sales reps who received coaching from their sales manager and those who did not. Pretty impressive!

3 Sales Coaching Best Practices to Hit the Ground Running
So if you’re convinced sales coaching best practices could make the difference you’re looking for, read on for field-tested tips to set up a successful and sustainable sales coaching program.

1.  Plan a Structured Sales Coaching Approach
Even though we advocate the effectiveness of sales coaching on-the-spot, you actually need a consistent schedule to make sure that each salesperson is regularly coached. Set aside time at least weekly to agree upon and review specific goals and objectives for learning, practice, and performance improvement. This way the sales coaching program becomes embedded in your sales culture.

You will know you are on the right track when ride-alongs and feedback increase without people complaining about being micromanaged. Salespeople report that they want the support and encouragement to grow relevant solution selling skills to meet their targets. They do not want an increased workload that will not directly help them to succeed.

2.  Train Your Sales Coaches
Sales coaching requires more than just giving feedback and cheering from the sidelines. At a minimum, sales coaches need to have:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • An intimate knowledge of what it takes to succeed in their particular company and marketplace
  • Empathy for the challenge of learning and practicing new solution selling skills

Give sales coaches plenty of experience in role playing different scenarios like working with a substandard performer, average performers, and high performers.  Every sales coach needs to understand what drives each individual that they coach so they know what buttons to push for extra effort and motivation. When it comes to sales motivation and performance, one size does not fit all.

3.  Provide Sales Tools that Enhance Independent Learning
Performance discussions are the mainstay of good sales coaching. But why not add other sales learning tools? Some sales reps respond well to team learning game elements; some are better at working with visual cues; others respond to healthy competition.

Good sales coaches are adept at sensing which learning method works most effectively for each individual and try to transfer to the learner the responsibility for developing proficiency in targeted areas.

The Bottom Line
While the value of sales coaching is almost universally acknowledged, too many miss ensuring that the sales coaching is effective in terms of behavior and performance change in the key areas that matter most. Sales coaching can transform your sales team from just OK to consistently high performing if you set it up correctly and follow through.

To learn more about sales coaching best practices, download 5 Top Sales Coaching Best Practices from the Highest Performing Sales Reps

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