August 27, 2022
#1 in a list of 22.
That’s how highly companies rate sales coaching. When 750 corporations were asked to rate the top factors for driving business results, sales coaching came out right on top.
And for good reason.
As per the CSO Insights 2019 Sales Enablement Report, sales coaching has had the greatest impact on win rates and quota attainment for five years in a row. The same report found that dynamic coaching showed a
when compared to unstructured coaching (where coaching is left to managers).
Companies that provide optimal coaching realize 16.7% greater revenue growth annually.
"I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities." Bob Nardelli
And in a field as challenging as sales, people need all the help they can get to reach their potential. Seller performance can improve by up to 19% with high-quality coaching (Source: Challenger Performance Optimization)
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to leverage sales coaching to improve business outcomes. But first things first.
What is sales coaching and what are its objectives?
Difference between sales coaching and training
The objectives of sales coaching
Sales coaching for small businesses: 5 benefits and areas of application
Challenges startups and SMEs face in implementing sales coaching
A 3-step coaching plan for small businesses
Pro tips to supplement sales coaching
How Meet Record’s Sales Coaching Feature can help small businesses
Simply put, sales coaching is a process that provides ongoing, individualized, and contextual support to sales professionals to improve their performance, help them reach their potential, and as a result, hit their quotas.
Sales coaching can be broadly categorized into,
Some of these skills include empathetic communication, storytelling, active listening, consultative questioning, time management, etc.
(Source: Aberdeen Group)
Most companies are content with just onboarding their sales employees and training them, but training is not the same as coaching.
Here are a few characteristics of sales coaching that make it different from training:
Besides the obvious impact on revenues, at its core, sales coaching is a commitment to ongoing improvement to
It’s a common misconception that the above objectives apply only to large enterprises, or mature sales teams. Whether it is small businesses, SMEs, or early-stage companies, no growth-seeking business can afford to ignore sales coaching.
It’s too early for us to think about sales coaching.
Unfortunately, this is a very shortsighted view of the problem.
When you’re a small and up-and-coming organization, you’re running on a shorter runway. You need to hit revenue goals faster, retain and nurture talent, and understand the key levers to scale. Sales coaching done effectively then, is like taking a step back to jump further.
Salespersons who regularly underwent sales coaching improved their sales competencies such as communication and presentation skills, product know-how, prospect engagement, and more. This early growth of the sales team has a lot to do with their morale.
By using coaching, you can track and catch issues with the sales team or the sales approach before it’s too late, so you don’t have to knock on the same door twice.
5 formalized sales coaching opportunities for small and early-stage businesses
Though there are multiple opportunities for companies of all sizes to implement sales coaching, it’s not without challenges. Here are the most common challenges small businesses face when it comes to sales coaching:
This is where data and insights can help. For instance, a conversation intelligence tool like MeetRecord can help analyze and identify patterns in a sales rep’s approach, that can be hard to establish without data.
Without a starting point, employers simply don’t know how to define and measure improvement and success. Sales coaching, supported by the correct data and tools can help understand an individual rep’s or a team’s strengths and weaknesses. Coaching needs to start with analytics that identifies and measures each rep’s strengths and weaknesses.
That’s a solid start to base performance and improvement goals on before you proceed to other KPIs like prospecting success, win rate, productivity, etc.
Sales is often believed to be ‘instinct’ or ‘intuition’ driven. When you think about it, intuition, for one, draws on objective and subjective information and could be – to some extent – data-driven
A data-driven coaching program can help identify, validate, or challenge beliefs – all worthy outcomes – by helping sales reps identify patterns in their behavior, and bolstering their instinct and intuition with supporting data.
The bottom line: Data is key to overcoming the challenges associated with a sales coaching program – thanks to its capacity to provide structure, validation, and direction to the process.
Step 1: Identify objectives
Different stages of a company’s journey pose different coaching requirements. Whatever they are, identify exactly what you want sales coaching to accomplish for you.
Here are a few guiding thoughts:
Conducting effective sales meetings (focusing on communication, listening, and time management)
If your sales team comprises first-timers, you’d likely want to focus on foundational behaviors and practices like:
Designing consistent and templatized meetings for different sales objectives
You can coach sales reps on the ideal flow of meetings for different sales conversations. For example, you can create a coaching + scoring template for discovery calls, another one for demos, etc.
Identifying best practices (positioning, addressing customer objections, and competitor mentions)
If you have a bank of sales conversations to go on, you can identify behaviors that lead to better meeting outcomes.
Step 2: Prioritize whom to focus on
While it can be tempting to have sales coaching for all your sales reps, it’s not often practical, or even advisable.
Vadim Zorin, director of SalesMore, also notes how a 5% improvement in the middle 60% of sales performers can deliver over 91% greater sales than the same shift in the top 20%.
It makes sense to focus on your middle performers given that they
Step 3: Plan your coaching
Change doesn’t happen by chance, it needs intention and execution. Effective planning can help you with both.
For sales coaching to be effective, you need to – most importantly – formalize the process. Look at the data below. Dynamic coaching – that is formalized and tailored to individual or deal-specific needs – showed over 13% improvement in win rates, when compared to random or unstructured coaching.
This element of formalization means that you need to
Sales is not for the easily discouraged, but even the most committed sales reps need motivation and encouragement.
Weave elements of motivation-building into your sales coaching plan, say by using gamification or a leaderboard to recognize and applaud achievements – and even incentivize improvements through prizes.
(MeetRecord’s leaderboard for sales coaching)
In small organizations, it can be tempting to promote high-performing reps straight to coaches.
But what makes a good sales rep often differs from what makes a good sales coach. Where possible, invest in training and ongoing development for new sales coaches – say through external consultants or certifications.
Implementing a sales coaching program might appear daunting – especially if you’re an early-stage or small business.
Here’s where picking the right tools can help. For instance, a meeting intelligence tool like MeetRecord offers robust sales coaching features for your team to benefit from.
Whether it is coaching individuals or teams, tracking their performance and improvement, or launching custom coaching initiatives or courses, MeetRecord helps you build a solid coaching program – whichever stage of your journey you’re at.
Identify behaviors, strengths, and areas of opportunity; Standardize calls and build consistency
Besides identifying key strengths and areas of opportunity for individuals., you can set custom focus areas for sales reps to focus on, and rate every call on them. Sales receive curated feedback from multiple users or coaches.
You can set standard practices for your team (say, how to conduct a discovery call) and track adherence to them.
Create custom initiatives and courses for individuals and teams
Take your first step to sales coaching
We understand – when you’re a young startup or small business, you don’t have the resources, budget, or time to invest in a thorough sales coaching strategy.
MeetRecord’s basic sales coaching framework is designed to help. Whether you’re a team of 3 or a fast-growing team of 20, you can use it to
Sounds like too much? Just start with better sales meetings.
Try MeetRecord’s meeting intelligence to record and analyze meetings, and capture actionable insights from sales conversations – one call at a time.
Get started for FREE today.
Manager-led sales coaching
Pipeline and deal management
Voice of customer & market intelligence
Sales process improvement
Rep self-coaching & peer learning
Onboarding new hires faster