May 6, 2019
Updated: January 7, 2020

What is Sales Coaching? Sales Enablement Defined

What are your sales representatives’ goals? Some include closing deals, hitting quotas, and generating revenue, which seems straightforward enough, but the path to reaching those goals isn’t as clear. A combination of content, training, and ongoing sales coaching is needed to drive reps’ success.

As a crucial part of sales enablement, coaching must be done the right way in order to have the greatest impact. In continuation of our Sales Enablement Defined series, we dive into what sales coaching is, and how to do it properly for the benefit of your sales organization.

What is sales coaching?

Sales coaching is a formal process that involves ongoing, individualized teaching on the part of sales managers to improve rep performance. Rather than a manager telling their team what to do, sales coaching includes:

  • Guiding sellers to discover how to achieve their objectives
  • Correcting behaviors that don’t have an impact
  • Reinforcing behaviors that lead to success
  • Developing the skills of your sales team, not just boosting numbers

Sales women talking at an office desk

Sales coaching techniques

Sales coaching may take different shapes and forms depending on the structure of your team. Sales techniques include:

  • Established trust between the sales coach and sales representative. If sellers don’t believe their managers have their best interests at heart, reps are unlikely to follow their guidance and advice.
  • Regular one-on-one meetings between the sales coach and representative. Aligning the coach and rep allows for discussion about areas for improvement, goals, and expectations. By asking questions, a coach helps sellers spot problematic areas and what can be done to overcome them. This “teach rather than tell” approach empowers reps to take control of their own advancement.
  • Knowledge sharing across the sales team. Talk with your most successful sellers about what actions are delivering results, and share them with other sales representatives. This could be the way in which they describe a certain product, nuances in presentation style, or email cadence; regardless, if it’s working, don’t keep it a secret from others. 
  • Data-driven coaching to maintain accountability. Using data to inform your strategy helps identify what selling activities have the most value and provides insight into how each sales representative is measuring up. Your CRM shows various group and individual metrics like the number of deals created, demos given, and deals closed-all of which can be compared in order to see which reps are getting ahead and which are falling behind. Top-, mid-, and bottom-level performers will require different sales coaching methods. Additionally, showing data over time from before your coaching program began to today, which should show a trend upward, can bring legitimacy to your coaching approach to upper management.

Sales coaching best practices

For sales coaching to have the biggest impact on seller development, follow these tips:

  1. Train managers on sales methodologies and proper coaching techniques. Coaches cannot provide effective coaching to a sales representative if they don’t first have the experience and knowledge themselves; provide learning opportunities to make sure managers are prepared.
  2. Develop a formal coaching structure and cadence. Not only does a formal program encourage buy-in from leadership, it also holds both managers and reps accountable to attend one-on-one meetings and fulfill responsibilities.
  3. Tailor coaching for every individual seller. Your sellers are diverse in both their personalities and selling styles, so how and what you communicate must be personalized to resonate with each person.
  4. Ask questions. Let reps lead the discussion, asking questions to guide them along the way. Ask questions like:
    • Where do you think you’ve succeeded?
    • Where do you have room to improve?
    • What do you need from me to achieve your goals?
  5. Reinforce coaching discussions with ongoing training materials. Regular touch bases are great, but old habits can return during the period of time in between-equip sellers with the training guides, videos, quizzes, and other materials that will keep them moving in the right direction.
  6. Track impact of coaching on sales representative performance and quota attainment. As mentioned above, the goal of coaching is development over increasing numbers, but using data you collect about each seller’s activities will help inform what to focus on in future one-on-one meetings.

Coaching is a component of your sales enablement program that can have great effect on the growth of each salesperson, and therefore the growth of the team and overall organization. Using technology to support your sales coaching strategy can take it one step further. Showpad Coach is our solution for streamlining the coaching process for sales managers. Discover why mobile learning is vital for your salesforce and how the Showpad Coach framework supports this learning in our guide, “Mobile Learning and Coaching for Your Team.

Mobile Learning and Coaching for Your Team

Mobile Learning and Coaching for Your Team