Does your organization have an effective Sales coaching program?
Sales Hacker’s recent webinar “No B.S. Sales Coaching,” presented by Showpad, brought together Justin Welsh, former SVP of PatientPop, and Artie Davis, Senior Manager of Brand Marketing at PebblePost, to share their experiences in developing a comprehensive enablement program with formal, strategic coaching.
Here are some key takeaways from the roundtable discussion and audience Q&A:
The Distinction Between Sales Training & Coaching
Many organizations see Sales training and coaching as one in the same. However, both serve very specific－and separate－purposes.
Training is a strategic initiative that supports Sales reps at a higher level. Your training should start with initial employee onboarding, then continue with ongoing learning materials to keep sellers informed on buyers’ business, industry, challenges, and competition.
Sales coaching, on the other hand, is a day-to-day initiative aimed at the advancement of fundamental skills. Where typical Sales teams incorporate coaching on an adhoc and situational basis, it’s becoming more personalized and individualized for every single rep on the team. Continuous guidance supports and emphasizes training and improves rep performance in the long-term, heightening their success as well as the success of your company.
While different, both training and coaching are imperative for a healthy sales organization!
Challenges for Sales Leaders
The contrast between training and coaching described above may seem clear, but the coaching aspect quickly becomes difficult for busy Sales managers in the current environment. Today’s coaches have to deal with managing large teams and keeping up with technology designed to streamline the Sales process.
Because of this, many managers focus more on inputs than outcomes, running from one rep to the next offering advice to solve a specific problem. It’s far easier to use band-aid coaching tactics when an issue comes up that needs to be fixed, but this only serves as a short-term solution that doesn’t do much, if anything, to help overall rep performance. Coaching should instead be geared toward developing reps to achieve goals over the next six months, 12 months, and beyond.
To achieve this, Justin and Artie agreed that coaching must be an everyday effort for managers. Similar to the coach of a sports team, Sales leaders need to be hands on with every individual salesperson for consistent skill building. Working with the Sales enablement can also take some work off managers’ plates. The whole purpose of enablement is to provide the training, collateral, and resources Sales teams need; working together with this department means every rep has the tools and guidance to do their jobs well.
No matter how good a coach may be, not every seller is willing to listen or apply their learning. This is another area Sales enablement can help; bite-size learning materials can supplement longer training meetings and highlight the major points you want to stick. Additionally, even small incentives like a $10 coffee gift card can go a long way in prompting some internal competition and encouraging reps to perform at their best.
Hyper-Tactical Tips for Sales Leaders
To wrap up the webinar, Justin and Artie each shared three main takeaways to help Sales leaders boost their coaching skills:
- Establish a repeatable framework for how you define your overarching coaching strategy, including cadence and process.
- Focus on one skill per rep at a time; pile too much on and they’ll likely feel overwhelmed and fail to improve upon anything.
- Agree across departments and teams on what behaviors and activities to measure and determine success.
- Lead by example; if you don’t show willingness to learn as a manager, you can’t expect your reps to do so.
- Incentivize training and learning with prizes for certifications, lesson completion, etc.
- Develop a strong partnership between Sales and Sales enablement－when the two are aligned, great things can happen!
**Justin and Artie both shared real-world examples of coaching, training, and enablement in their own organizations, answering participant questions regarding best practices for effective coaching and how reps can be more coachable to get the most out of their managers.