Sales Coaching : The Ultimate Guide to Accelerate Revenue

Krishnan Kaushik V
July 13, 2024

Sales coaching is becoming more important than ever. You might wonder, why? Aren't my sales reps already great?

It's not about questioning their capabilities but rather addressing the changing times we live in.

Today, buyers have far more touchpoints than before and can access information in the blink of an eye. The amount of information they possess before even making a discovery call can turn prospecting into a challenge. When they arrive with their team before purchasing software, your team might face unexpected questions one after another, potentially derailing your deal.

Given these challenges, growing organizations have started investing in sales training, but unfortunately, 87% of the information is forgotten within weeks. This is happening because sales is not a static field; no fixed formula will work for long, especially with the complexity of ever-changing market dynamics.

The answer to all these challenges is sales coaching.

Sales coaching can boost sales productivity by a whopping 88%, yet more than 70% of sales managers spend less than 5% of their time on it.

That's why in this guide, we will delve deep into sales coaching and discuss all the key points to establish a high-functioning sales team that can close deals with ease.

What is sales coaching?

Sales coaching is a dynamic and continuous process of mentoring and guiding sales professionals to enhance their performance, achieve quotas, and drive consistent sales success. This tailored approach, led by experienced sales leaders and managers, focuses on individual needs and contextual challenges faced by sales reps.

Sales coaching is that special sauce sandwiched between the sales onboarding and the "let's get sales training. It's where sales folks graduate from being mere information parrots to becoming savvy trusted advisors.

Often time sales coaching is confused with sales training, this perception would have rewarded 20 years back but today both these term have different meaning, we will discuss more about it as we go deep in subsequent sections.

Sales coaching  isn't your usual training room lecture. Think of sales coaching more like a coffee chat where the coach does less of the gabbing and more of the nodding, guiding reps to find answers to their sales miseries on their own. 

It’s about turning those "Oh no, not this objection again!" moments into "Aha, I’ve got this!" victories.

Now, why should we even bother with sales coaching? 

Here are some reason to invest in sales coaching - 

  • Sales reps with coaching of 30 mins or less/week can witness 43% boost in win rates
  • A well designed coaching program can lead to a 28% higher win rate and increase 88% productivity.
  • 91.2% of the quota can be achieved with the help of formal coaching program

Automate Sales performance

Why is sales coaching important?

Sales coaching is crucial because while organizational playbooks and frameworks provide a standard set of rules for sales reps to follow, they often aren't enough. Each sales rep is unique, and their approach to conversations can diverge based on their personality, understanding, knowledge, and experience.

Structured processes serve as guardrails that help prevent mistakes but don't necessarily promote growth. This is where sales coaching comes into play. It offers a personalized approach, allowing sales reps to discuss their challenges openly and without filters. In a coaching setting, there are no team dynamics to navigate; it's just the coach and the rep in direct conversation. This environment enables reps to reveal and address challenges they might not feel comfortable discussing in group sessions. Moreover, coaching can significantly accelerate the ramp-up time for new reps by focusing on targeted development.

Key Importance of Sales Coaching:

  • Personalized Development: Tailors guidance to the individual needs of each rep, enhancing their unique strengths and addressing specific weaknesses.
  • Safe Space for Growth: Provides a confidential setting for reps to openly discuss challenges and receive constructive feedback without the pressure of peer judgment.
  • Faster Onboarding: Accelerates the integration and productivity of new reps by focusing on the most relevant skills and knowledge from the start.
  • Enhanced Problem-Solving: Helps reps learn to navigate complex sales scenarios beyond the playbook, fostering critical thinking and adaptive strategies.
  • Boosted Performance and Morale: Regular, focused coaching increases job satisfaction and motivation, leading to better performance and reduced turnover.

Challenges of Sales Coaching

Sales coaching often gets sidelined in the bustling world of sales management, where hitting targets and filling pipelines dominate most conversations. But let's pause the sales jargon for a minute and understand why coaching deserves more than just a spot on the agenda.

Why aren't sales managers coaching more?

Busy doesn't even start to cover what sales managers are up against daily. They often view sales coaching as a nice-to-have rather than a must-have, thanks to the hefty time investment it seems to require. Research suggests that managers should ideally spend about 4-5 hours per month coaching each rep.

Are your coaching methods more old-school intuition than new-school data?

Relying on anecdotal evidence to guide coaching is as effective as navigating without a map. 

Today, data-driven coaching is the GPS for sales success. Without leveraging sales performance metrics and A/B testing, managers are merely guessing who needs what, turning potentially powerful coaching sessions into missed opportunities.

Challenges with Sales Coaching:

  • Time Crunch: Managers often believe they don't have the time for coaching. But consider this: isn't spending time on coaching better than wasting time on ineffective practices?

  • Old Habits Die Hard: Many coaching models are outdated and not specific to sales, which can make coaching feel disconnected from daily sales activities.

  • Guesswork Over Data: When intuition trumps data in coaching decisions, it’s like choosing a path in the dark. Sales coaching needs to be driven by data, not gut feelings.

  • Engagement Woes: Let's face it, sales training can be as exciting as watching paint dry. How do you make it engaging? By making it relevant, interactive, and, dare we say, fun?

  • Scheduling Nightmares: Finding time for coaching is a puzzle. With the rise of hybrid work environments, why not use technology to offer flexible, on-demand coaching options?

  • One-Size Fits All? I Think Not: The diversity in skill levels across a sales team means that a one-size-fits-all approach just doesn't cut it. Personalized coaching paths are necessary to cater to everyone from newbies to seasoned pros.

Top sales coaching techniques to improve performance

Here are some of the techniques a good sales coaching program needs.

1. Observe and provide feedback

This coaching strategy entails observing sales representatives in action and providing constructive feedback on their performance. For it to be effective, feedback must be specific, actionable, and timely. In cases where it is not possible for sales managers to observe reps in action, a conversation intelligence tool can help record customer conversations and capture performance insights. 

‍2. Use role-plays

Role-playing is a coaching method that involves simulating real-world situations to practice and improve specific skills. In the world of sales coaching, it gives sales reps a low-risk environment to work on their their communication, objection-handling, and closing skills. 

Despite being a low-risk, high-returns investment, only 20% of sales teams actually use role playing effectively.

3. Use gamification

According to a study by Salesforce,  71% of companies saw a 11-50% increase in sales performance after they implemented gamification.

Use game-like elements to ensure engagement and improve the effectiveness of sales coaching. Elements of gamification can include leaderboards, timed challenges, and rewards. You can apply gamification to a variety of coaching activities, including role-playing, simulations, and online learning. 

4. Leverage technology and data at every step

While one-on-one support and personalized feedback lie at the heart of every sales coaching program worth its name, implementing such a program without technology is sure to be an uphill task that can weigh down managers. 

Even the most carefully planned sales coaching programs can come crashing down without the right software and tools to anchor them. 

Use the right tools to capture insights, foster collaboration, capture and analyze data to build a scalable and efficient sales coaching program. 

Additional Reading: Top 9 coaching techniques to improve sales performance

‍Best practices for sales coaching

1. Use peer coaching and leverage your top performers 

According to a study, today’s employees prefer learning from their colleagues – over other channels such as training courses, YouTube, and Google. This makes peer learning an extremely important approach.

With peer learning, sales reps learn from their colleagues who work in similar conditions and constraints. This shared background and context is key to making this learning far more useful, relatable, and motivating.

2. Use data and sales reps’ inputs to find focus areas

Besides using data to identify areas of improvement, mix things up a little to also learn what your sales reps would like to focus on. Thus gives them a sense of ownership and belonging over their growth.

3. Identify the sales reps who need special attention

Depending on the stage of your business and your team’s unique needs, identify which sales person would benefit most from sales coaching.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, focusing on the middle is highly recommended because a) they have the most to gain b) Give the best return on coaching investment.

Experts state that even a 5% performance improvement of the middle performers can deliver over 91% greater sales than the same improvement in the top 20%.

That being said, you also need to focus on sales reps in the bottom, to ensure that they get the support they need to move to the middle.

Also read: How do you coach an underperforming sales rep?

4. Finalize how much time you need to dedicate to sales coaching

While there isn’t an industry standard for this, a simple rule of thumb would be to spend over an hour each week on sales coaching. Of companies with effective coaching programs, 61.4% dedicate over an hour per rep each week to coaching.

If you’re not sure how much time to invest in sales coaching, here’s a handy 3-minute read: How much time should a sales manager spend on coaching?

5. Invest in your sales coaches and managers

Not every high-performing sales rep can go straight to coaching. These are two different skill sets. Invest time and training in developing sales managers and coaching – be it through external training, certifications, or consultations.

How to measure sales coaching effectiveness

  • Program Scores: Assess sales reps regularly through quizzes or assessments focused on product or service knowledge to ensure they understand the details and benefits of what they're selling.

  • New Release Update Scores: Evaluate how well reps grasp new products or updates through scored assessments, ensuring they can effectively communicate these changes to customers.

  • Certification Completions: Track the completion rates of any certifications required to sell the product or service. High completion rates indicate effective knowledge acquisition.

  • Conversation Intelligence Call Scores: Utilize AI tools to analyze call recordings, scoring reps on how well they listen to customer cues and respond appropriately.

  • Talk to Listen Ratio: Measure the percentage of time the rep talks versus listens during sales calls. A balanced ratio often correlates with better understanding and rapport with clients.

  • Conversion Rate: Monitor the conversion rate from calls to meetings booked as a direct metric of how effectively the rep uses listening skills to secure further engagement.

  • Email Volume: Count the number of emails sent by reps as an indicator of their proactivity in communication.

  • Sentiment Score: Analyze the sentiment of emails sent to prospects and customers to gauge the positivity and professionalism of written communications.

  • Email Response Rate: The ratio of responses to the number of emails sent can indicate the effectiveness of the email's content and tone in engaging recipients.

  • Video Role-Play Scores: Have reps record their sales presentations and score them based on criteria like clarity, engagement, persuasiveness, and use of visual aids.

  • Conversion by Deal Stage: Track how effectively presentations move prospects through different stages of the sales funnel, identifying areas where reps excel or need improvement.

  • Monologue length: Measure how long a rep speaks versus engages the client in dialogue during presentations. Shorter monologues and more interactive dialogue are often more effective.

  • Questions Asked: Count and evaluate the types of questions asked. More strategic questions from the rep can signify better preparation and understanding of potential objections.

  • Competitor Mentions: Track how often competitors are mentioned by prospects during calls and how effectively the rep counters these mentions with strengths of their product or service.

  • Sentiment on Calls: Analyze the tone and positivity during objection handling segments of sales calls. A positive and confident tone can indicate proficiency in managing objections.

Best Sales Coaching Tools

There are a plethora of sales coaching tools available that can accelerate the coaching process and improve the performance of your sales team in a short span of time. These tools can be categorized based on organizational goals, but modern trends suggest two main categories: real-time coaching platforms and guided learning platforms.

Real-time Feedback Coaching Platforms - MeetRecord

MeetRecord provides AI-powered coaching to sales reps, managers, and leaders by assessing all their conversations during a call. It evaluates talk/listen ratios, sentiment, intent, key moments, and crucial words, providing an overall score for any given conversation.

After this assessment, it highlights areas for improvement and explains what went positive and negative, giving a clear path for enhancement. The automated scoring from the AI helps sales reps get immediate feedback, saving sales managers from having to assess all calls manually. Instead, managers receive immediate insights into how their team is performing.

MeetRecord is a crucial tool in the sales tech stack, particularly beneficial for new sales reps who can shadow top-performing sales reps and improve rapidly.

Guided Learning Platforms - Brainshark

Brainshark is a guided learning platform that provides sales enablement solutions designed to improve sales readiness and performance. It offers content authoring tools to create engaging training materials and sales coaching programs. Sales reps can access role-playing scenarios, practice sessions, and certification pathways to enhance their skills and knowledge.

Brainshark helps sales teams by providing targeted learning paths that address specific skill gaps and training needs. Whether it's for onboarding new hires or upskilling experienced reps, Brainshark ensures that your sales force is always ready to perform at their best.

Getting Your Sales Coaching Right with MeetRecord

Achieving effective sales coaching is crucial for your team's performance. MeetRecord's AI-powered insights provide detailed analysis of sales conversations, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement. 

With immediate feedback, customized coaching plans, and the ability to facilitate peer learning, MeetRecord ensures that your sales reps receive the guidance they need to excel. 

Managers can track progress over time and streamline their workloads by focusing on high-impact coaching activities.

Ready to take your sales coaching to the next level? Start transforming your coaching process today and drive outstanding results with MeetRecord.

Krishnan Kaushik V

Krishnan Kaushik is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager and Content Crafter at MeetRecord, leveraging his deep understanding of revenue teams, digital transformation, and enterprise applications to drive meaningful business outcomes. With a background as an IIoT & Automation engineer, Krishnan expertly blends technical expertise with strategic insights to communicate about every changing tech landscape in simple terms. Outside of work, he enjoys exploring culinary arts, biking, and delving into the complexities of the human brain.

Recent Blogs

See MeetRecord live in action!

Get in-depth visibility into your sales conversations. Rated 4.8 on G2.

Enter your work email!
Thank you for your interest in MeetRecord!

When's a good time to set up demo call?

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Learn about accelerating deal flow with Revenue Intelligence

Book a Personalized Demo now!
Thank you for your interest in MeetRecord!

When's a good time to set up demo call?

There is some error!