Effective sales coaching is iterative, individualised, and inclusive. It’s designed to reinforce positive behaviour or correct negative behaviour. Typically part of each salesperson’s daily or weekly routine, sales coaching is focused on skills and techniques rather than numbers.
Sales is a very individual pursuit, and often those who are involved in sales don’t like to be told what to do. Bearing this in mind, it is worth considering how you can use this individual to help self-diagnose where the development areas could be. This will increase buy-in and ultimately take-up of any coaching regimen.
From my experience there are four things to bear in mind when trying to coach your high performers:
- Be specific with regards to opportunity management: It has now been well-publicised that the best managers/coaches are offering advice on specific opportunities to be led by the rep where the coach can be most effective. Ask your reps to consider which specific deals they require assistance with, or where you as the coach can be the most valuable. This is as opposed to a blanket approach to all deals, which is not scalable either!
- Use a variety of techniques: For your one-to-one meetings, or off-the-cuff discussions with your salespeople, try varying the frequency of them, the duration, and the topics you discuss (with a healthy dose of realism too). This last point is especially important when it comes to forecasting and pipeline health. Using inspection questions per deal can help the salesperson realise that their pipeline is not as robust as they might have thought, therefore coaching on qualification might be an idea.
- Cross-pollinate team strengths: It is likely that salespeople in your team are going to be stronger at certain skills than others. If you identify a salesperson who is particularly good with lead generation, one with rapport building, one with negotiation, etc. – turn them into mini-coaches and get them to coach others on what they do, upskilling everyone in the process.
- Create a coaching environment that is skills-based: A bad coach would tell you to simply do more, whereas a good coach will understand the skills required to do more and then drill those to make them second nature. For example, making more calls could be the goal but there are sessions connected with this to do with mindset, where to get leads, which leads to prioritise, which leads to score and how to score, etc.
There will always be hidden talents in your office and team, so look internally for the skills already in place and leverage your incumbent resources. You might be surprised!