We hear a lot about sales coaching these days, but what are sales coaching basics and what is it really all about?
In recent years, there has been a significant rise in the demand for sales coaches. In an organizational setting, coaching has traditionally been part of the supervisory role played by sales managers who show less experienced sales reps how to carry out a task, or set of tasks, competently.
This is by default part of the cyclical process of developing a sales rep’s skills, evaluating their performance and appraising their progress carried out by the sales manager. If the sales manager does not carry out the coaching personally, they will assign an experienced employee, usually within the same team as the person being coached or arrange for an external sales coach, to deliver the coaching.
A sales coach is essentially a person who has been trained in effective sales techniques, has a broad range of experience and expertise, has knowledge and understanding of current sales trends, as well as an understanding of how a sales person’s career and professional development should be tailored in order to assist that person in being successful in achieving their development objectives.
Now that we have some idea of how sales coaching fits into an organization, let’s dive right into the basics of sales coaching.
Sales Coaching Basics: What You Need to Know
Sales coaching is an incredibly effective way to increase the performance of an organization’s sales team. It boosts sales effectiveness by improving the sales team’s abilities on an individual basis.
Like any other type of coaching, sales coaching uses a one-on-one approach to each sales rep and not a “one size fits all” approach. A sales coach has no control over the sales results but he or she will manage the behaviors or the steps that the sales reps take to get to those results.
When working with sales reps, a sales coach must be able to know each individual rep’s strengths, weaknesses and key performance metrics (KPI).
Sales is a science, and sales managers must manage their team by analyzing metrics and KPIs or they will not be able to meet sales targets. Just like any coach, a sales coach draws from his or her experience, but the truly successful sales coaches are data-driven and analytical. They measure hard data against subsequent improvement and progress after each coaching session.
Sales Coaching = New Sales Management
Sales coaching does not only help promote a sales rep’s development, improves job performance and reduces unnecessary learning time, but also helps retain top performers.
Unlike sales managers who focus on telling sales reps what to do, sales coaches help reps who are already high performers become even more effective and successful.
Keith Rosen in his book Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions stated:
“Management is dead. Sales managers can’t just become sales coaches by changing their title without changing their skill set. Coaching uses a process of inquiry so that people can access their own energy or inner strength to reach their own level of awareness. Tapping into a person’s previously unused strengths and talents advances personal growth and learning, which challenges people to discover their personal best. Coaching is collaborative as well as interactive.”
In order to be a successful sales coach, you must have a good grasp of sales coaching basics and understand the culture of the company you are coaching.
One of the sales coaching basic strategies you need to know is that sales coaching is not a separate process but can work in parallel with other activities such as hiring, training, education, and feedback. For example, sales managers can actually be coached on how to hire the right salespeople.
By connecting sales coaching with other programs in a company, a sales coach can actually enhance a company’s effectiveness and provide a mechanism for application and feedback.
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community