5 Practical Techniques to Coach Your Sales Team Day After Day
Do you help your sales reps improve their performance? How do you do it? How regular?
Thanks to effective coaching, every sales manager knows what a great result his team can achieve. Even more, 60% of reps prefer to quit if their managers are poor coaches. So yes, salary is not the main reason anymore.
Despite the apparent benefits of sales coaching, more than 47% of managers spend less than 30 minutes a week coaching their sales team. Research has also shown three main barriers to improving the learning system. This is a lack of time, knowledge, and such a duty on the part of managers.
What can you do as a sales manager to change the situation?
Go to your CEO and talk about the importance of coaching for your team, with a request to add it to your duties. Discuss the time you need for this and what knowledge and skills you lack.
If you are stopped only by the question, “How to help my team develop effectively and efficiently?” then there is no need to go anywhere. Just read our article with practical recommendations from the best sales coaches on implementing or improving the existing coaching system. And then – start using techniques according to your situation and needs. But first…
Some essential tips for sales managers
Before considering the techniques, let’s deal with the general principles of becoming an effective sales coach.
Why does this matter?
You probably know the specifics of working with your subordinates as a manager. These are pretty independent, inspired, and goal-oriented people who do not like many “musts” and “shoulds” but can show incredible results without whips. Is it about your reps?
If not, well, be ready for their transformation due to the improvement of the coaching program. Keep the focus on these characteristics to implement the coaching techniques most effectively.
Take care of the well-being of your employees
This is a reasonably general recommendation but is the most important for sellers. After all, this is one of the most stressful jobs that can quickly lead to professional burnout, mental exhaustion, and even physical illnesses.
As a boss, you can help your reps achieve a work-life balance that allows them to regain resources and be satisfied. Establish clear boundaries and separate work hours from rest.
Next, apply an individual approach. Hold monthly meetings with each subordinate to hear about their needs, challenges, and successes in an open dialogue. Ask questions, listen actively and note what you can do to help or how to reward the person.
Build trusting relationships
An open conversation will not work if you are perceived as a controller or not respected. Instead, take care to become an authority and make it clear through actual actions that you are interested in the development of each of them.
Shift the focus from metrics and goals to the people essential for achieving them. Have dinner or drink coffee in their company, share your experiences of failures and successes, ask about their hobbies and interests, and tell about yours. The common brings people together, gives a reason for conversation, and strengthens the ties between people.
Let your employees set their own professional goals
There are two extremes – to have no goals or to have only those set by management. In both cases, the result will be unsatisfactory.
Therefore, it is worth loosening the control a bit. Yes, there are mandatory metrics and plans for everyone. But there should also be personalization. So what are Patrick’s growth points? And Anna’s? What courses should Jessica be sent to, and how to motivate John?
This is the kind of question you should ask yourself when you are unsatisfied with the numbers. Analyze them, talk face-to-face with everyone, and suggest which goals could be added to the main ones for the next month or quarter.
Focus on one improvement at a time
Salespeople have a lot of current affairs, so it is unnecessary to make coaching and training for them some hard labor. Help them prioritize to determine what is most needed and use the resource as efficiently as possible.
Follow the 3Cs of coaching
Curiosity is the first one. Without it, there will be no desire to understand something, question a person, or try to find ways of development. Are you interested in your team? Are you motivated to work with them?
Compassion, or empathy. People can be afraid, insecure, anxious, have a negative experience, and lose interest. All of it can lead to more failures, and the coach needs to see this and help with compassion. Have you chosen to judge others and dismiss them rather than have an understanding of who they are?
Courage is about being able to tell the uncomfortable truth, keep the conversation going when emotions boil over, and believe in people and their success, even when they don’t believe it themselves. What do you lack the courage for today?
It is a gross mistake to think that only weak reps or sales leaders should be given attention. Research shows that coaching is the most effective for the middle 60% of reps. But we advise everyone to be coached with equal enthusiasm.
Everyone has the potential to get better constantly. Maybe your top sellers are achieving their goals, but they can do even more if you show them career opportunities or other improvements. The weak ones may lack experience, and the middle ones lack the motivation to make it to the top.
And you can cover all these needs with the help of high-quality coaching methods. Let’s move on to them.
5 techniques to improve your coaching plan
The main benefit of these techniques is that they will help you provide coaching daily. In addition, you’ll have a flexible system of actions that will allow you to conduct systematic coaching and see its actual result.
Technique #1 – Use data to find weak points in sales performance
How to create effective sales coaching programs? First, you should know exactly what problem needs to be solved. And numbers are the most objective source that can be relied on when establishing weak points.
Do you have standard metrics by which you evaluate the effectiveness of the team and each salesperson? Look at them carefully and find the factors that negatively affect them—lack of experience, misunderstanding or incorrect use of scripts, insufficiently developed communication skills, etc.
Where to get data for analysis?
Use CRM – data on each sales funnel stage will help you see weak points. Also, pay attention to the statistics in the specific applications that your team uses.
For example, Ring.io has a Live Call Monitoring feature in which you can see daily call statistics and each operator’s performance. And the RingInsights feature will provide more in-depth information for a more extended period, such as a month or a quarter.
Technique #2 – Have individual coaching conversations with every sales rep
The first thing to understand is that a coaching conversation is fundamentally different from sales training or a lecture on what to do and what not to do. The primary purpose of such a conversation is to help a person find the correct answers on his own, analyze a current situation and establish appropriate goals and actions for the future.
To do this, follow the three key principles of successful sales coaching:
1. Listen carefully
Set a topic, ask the person in an open forum, and then prepare your ears and try to understand what the person is saying. Yes, you will realize verbal language without problems, but behind what a person says are his values, experiences, desires, and fears. Practice recognizing them and helping the person realize them as well.
2. Ask powerful questions
Remember that a person must find the answers; you only guide his thoughts with the right questions. For example, instead of saying, “Do this and that,” ask, “What do you think should be done in this situation?”.
Make sure that your reaction to the answers is not negatively colored. Connect empathy, and understand the person’s point of view. If you don’t understand the logic, keep asking until you find the truth together. To make it easier for coaches to ask the right questions, create a company wiki. This wiki can serve as a single source of truth for your company, allowing coaches to teach based on accurate information. It also helps students to find their own answers to questions.
3. Avoid expressing your opinion
Focus entirely on the person, his thoughts, and his judgments. You can be 100% right, but if you start saying what a person should do, it stops being a coaching conversation and turns into teaching.
Yes, you will quickly solve a critical situation. It will give a person a solution here and now, but it will not lead to qualitative change and growth. If you continue only to give read instructions, the person will expect this from you in every problem situation. He will stop thinking and acting independently.
Technique #3 – Hold team coaching meetings
Have your team meetings turned into a discussion about who is doing well and who should improve their results? We advise you to transfer conversations about that to an individual format – envy and shame are not the feelings you would like to cause in your subordinates, right?
Use such meetings with maximum benefit and to solve issues that affect everyone.
For example, the team does not achieve the desired indicators month after month. Yes, it is essential to coaching individually, but there may be specific general points that can be corrected. To optimize the sales funnel, finalize scripts, etc.
The search for solutions can be carried out in a group meeting, where you will act as a facilitator.
- Set the topic and guide the discussion process.
- Inform the meeting participants of the general communication rules and remind them if necessary.
- Make sure everyone has their say.
- Provide an atmosphere of acceptance and mutual respect. This is especially important at a time when a conflict situation is brewing.
Technique #4 – Use recording calls
This instrument can complement and enhance the effectiveness of your coaching sessions, whether individual or group. Moreover, it is very convenient and easy to use with Ring.io.
First, understand the urgent problem, to solve which you will need recordings of dialogues with customers. Next, use special filters in the application to find the materials you need.
Here are some examples of how you can customize and use recordings.
If we are talking about the work of salespeople, then select “Outbound calls” in the search. The system also records incoming calls, so you can listen to them if necessary. This can be useful for understanding the main requests that customers contact you with, which you can close by adding the required information to your scripts for the future.
To understand why the deal failed, you can analyze all dialogues with a specific client, finding them by the “Phone Number” filter. This will provide valuable information for discussion in group meetings and ideas for improving the overall approach or correcting specific errors in a given case.
Can the team not reach the set connect rate? Re-listen to those phone conversations that lasted less than 1 minute to look for specific trends or commonalities that could be corrected.
To do this, use the “Duration” filter and choose the appropriate call duration. Next, you will have a rather lengthy analysis of the records, but it is worth it because you will be able to highlight growth points and share your insights with the team.
But call recordings can also be used to highlight successful practices and experiences. The “Disposition” filter will help you with this. For example, you can find all the calls that ended in the desired event (for example, the sale of the demo version of the app), listen to them yourself or with the team, and find effective techniques and life hacks. This can help less successful sellers improve their practices.
Technique #5 – Share customer success stories
Cases are an effective coaching tool. They allow you to look at a completed project or a closed deal.
How to use them for coaching?
Discuss with the team or individually, acting as a facilitator as always, guiding the discussion in the right direction. Allow everyone to express their opinion, point out weak or strong points, and suggest improvements for the future.
What sales coaching tips and techniques have you already used? What else will you use to make your reps members of one of the most successful sales teams?