Sales coaching is a critical part of any sales enablement program. Most sales managers and leaders understand this, yet it can be difficult for them to commit the needed time and attention to coaching when there is so much competition for resources.
Though coaching might not be a direct revenue-creating action, it certainly factors into success at a more intrinsic level. Developing skilled and knowledgeable sales reps will help you build a team of high performers that are enabled in every way to effectively sell, nurture relationships and drive dealmaking.
In some organizations, sales coaching may be treated more informally — when in fact sales coaching needs structure and technology to support efficient operations. To help your organization master the sales coaching process, let’s look at the various stages and responsibilities of coaching. Every business and its workforce is different, thus the sales coaching process may not be the same across every company.
At a high level, however, the following represent the most important steps to sales coaching:
1. Observation and data collection
Before your managers deliver any lessons or advice to reps, first they must understand the strengths and weaknesses of each individual rep and the team as a whole. That means collecting empirical data that can be used to inform coaching activities and interactions.
Without hard data to guide the sales coaching process, your efforts may be well-intentioned, but completely miss the mark on what your reps actually need to grow and become better salespeople.
This is where a sales enablement platform like Showpad can provide key value and utility. With Showpad’s coaching software, you can seamlessly track metrics at both the individual and team level. Managers can operate from a central hub that allows them to easily visualize performance, readiness, skills progression, assignments, training module completion and other KPIs.
Sales coaching makes it easier to grasp a rep’s unique strengths and weaknesses. This data, combined with first-hand observations (like sitting in on a sales call), can provide managers with the 360-view they need to make coaching fit.
2. Standardize best practices
In observing your team, you’ll likely be able to identify patterns of top performers in different aspects of the sales cycle. Transparency into this data will allow you to standardize best practices that directly contribute to success and revenue creation.
A comprehensive sales enablement platform is crucial here. There’s no good way to complete this step with manual processes, which are error-prone and inefficient. With Showpad’s powerful tracking and insight capabilities, managers can much more easily share repeatable best practices, as well as build them into the sales coaching process.
3. Develop and personalize the approach
With all that data in hand, you can orient coaching activities to more closely align with what each individual rep needs.
For example, you may have one team member who is excellent with negotiating deals, but isn’t the best with presentation pitches. You may also have a rep who is the opposite, one who excels at pitching clients but struggles to clinch deals.
Deploying a blanket coaching approach won’t solve the problems that exist, and may in fact make them worse by neglecting the true needs of the sales team. However, by using the data you’ve collected, you can target the sales coaching process. Just as personalization is valuable in the sales cycle, so too is it fundamental to a successful coaching program.
For example, users can leverage Showpad’s Pitch IQ to assess reps’ pitching ability in a peer-to-peer context. The results can help you identify which salespeople could most benefit from increased coaching on pitching and top practices, which in turn allows you to focus on other areas of improvement for reps who already excel at pitching.
4. Meaningful interaction
Once the coaching plan has been developed, it’s time to deploy your program. At this stage, meaningful interaction is most important. The activities must resonate with reps, otherwise efforts may be for nothing.
Personalization helps here. If you’re following this sales coaching process so far, you should be on the right track. Personalized coaching interactions show the rep that you understand their needs.
Also, take time to learn more about their wants. Talking about ambitions, drivers and goals can help you craft an even more personalized coaching program for long-term personal and professional growth and skills development.
5. Continuous follow-up
The best coaching plans can be wrecked with a lack of followup. Tracking coaching efforts results will help ensure learning comprehension and retention of knowledge. Showpad’s coaching software makes this simple by allowing you to effortlessly conduct practice sessions with test reps which can be scored for sharing and further self-improvement.
Leverage Showpad throughout the sales coaching process
At its core, Showpad is a highly collaborative and intuitive solution that is designed to align sales operations across all its functions. Managers can use it to keep close tabs on reps and nurture a coaching relationship through communication and other interactions.
To master the sales coaching process, your team needs a powerful platform that gives you tools across every stage and touchpoint. Showpad can be that solution, empowering and enabling your entire sales operation.
To learn more, contact us today or request a product demo.