How Effective Sales Coaching Can Boost Team Performance

Selling more stuff isn’t just about having a good plan or being good at selling. It’s also about getting better all the time. That’s where teaching your sales team comes in. Think about if everyone selling for you had the help, advice, and tools they needed to do their best. You’d probably see more money coming in, better sales, and a team that’s excited about selling.

Studies show that teaching sales teams really helps them do better. The Brooks Group found that teams who do really well and sell a lot often say that teaching their salespeople helped a lot.

Actually, 58% of teams that do really well use teaching as a big part of their plan to train and help their salespeople get better. But only 44% of teams that aren’t doing so great do this.

What Makes Sales Coaching a Big Deal?

In a webinar called “Sales Coaching 101: Strategies for Highly Effective Coaching Conversations,” experts from The Brooks Group talked about why teaching salespeople is so important and how to have really good talks with them.

“Teaching is a skill you can get better at. It’s important to work on this skill so that we’re not just talking with our salespeople, but really helping them sell better,” says Dan Markin from The Brooks Group.

Michelle Richardson and Dan Markin talked about three kinds of talks you can have with salespeople: checking on their sales pipeline, helping with specific sales opportunities, and helping them get better at selling and their job. They think it’s really important to focus on helping salespeople think about the future and how they can get better over time.

“We often look at what’s already happened when trying to sell. But if we want to really lead and change things in this tough market, we need to think about what we can do to sell better in the future,” said Markin.

He also said, “How much time do you spend thinking about what you sold last month compared to what you could do to sell more next month or the month after?”

To have good teaching sessions, Markin says it’s better to ask questions and listen than to just tell people what to do. He gave five tips for doing this well.

Five Tips for Effective Sales Coaching

1. Sales leaders often want to just tell their team what to do. Instead, they should ask more questions and really listen to the answers.

2. It’s important for sales leaders to know how they talk and act, as well as how their salespeople do. They can use tests to learn more about themselves and how to work with different kinds of people.

3. Sales leaders can help their team by making things easier for them, but the salespeople still have to do the work. They should be involved in making their own plans for getting better and tell you what help they need from you.

4. After talking with salespeople about how to get better, sales leaders need to make sure everyone knows what’s expected and what to do next. Having clear goals helps everyone know what they’re supposed to do.

5. Sales leaders shouldn’t surprise their team with tricky questions. They should let their salespeople show what they can do. It’s important to find the right balance between being ready and seeing how they really work.

“There are many different ways to get good results. You want to be open to different ideas and focus on what works. Have a talk about the good and bad points of different ways to do things,” said Markin.

Challenges in Sales Coaching

Teaching your sales team well is really important for them to do well in the long run. But it’s not always easy. Markin and Richardson also talked about things that can make it hard to have good teaching talks.

Spending time on looking at the sales pipeline is good, but it’s not the same as real teaching. You need to balance looking at deals with helping your team get better.

Sticking to old ways or thinking you know everything can stop you from understanding problems or fixing them. Look for things that aren’t working well and be open to new ways of teaching.

Being good at making sales doesn’t mean you’re good at teaching others. You need to work on your teaching skills with training for sales leaders.

Not wanting to disagree can make an environment where people aren’t as honest as they should be. You need to be okay with talks that might make you feel uncomfortable before you can really help with the problem.

Improving Sales Coaching Conversations

Here are five things sales leaders can do to make their teaching talks better:

1. Focus more on helping your team think about the future and how to get better in the long run, instead of just looking at the sales pipeline or deals.

2. Find and fix things that stop good teaching, like focusing too much on the sales pipeline, being afraid of disagreeing, or not knowing how to teach well.

3. Instead of just telling your team what to do, ask them good questions and really listen to what they say. Talk to them in a way that they like and work with them to find solutions. This makes them more involved and responsible for their goals.

4. Following up is really important to make sure teaching helps and to see how things are going. Have clear steps and write down what’s going well, what behaviors are good, and what needs to get better. Be clear, change your follow-up to fit each person, and give information in a way that helps them succeed.

5. Teaching doesn’t just have to be the boss’s job. Letting other team members teach each other is a great idea. Have your best salespeople show their skills and what they do best in small groups or with everyone. This shows you value them, helps the team, starts conversations, and lets people talk to each other.

By doing these things, sales leaders can create a team that’s always getting better and ready to do well for a long time.

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