Optimising Your Sales Coaching Approach

Sales coaching is critical to any sales team’s success, but it can be difficult to get right. Here’s some things to consider to ensure your organisation hits the mark.

1. HIGH PERFORMANCE DOES NOT EQUATE TO MANAGEMENT MATERIAL

In some organisations, the highest sales performers often climb the ranks into management positions. There’s a sense of rewarding team members for their performance. Unfortunately, top performing salespeople are not necessarily good managers.

This is because it takes a certain mindset to become a top sales performer. A top sales mindset is driven and motivated by personal success, with a hunger to keep earning more money. Top salespeople are usually super competitive and love to be superstars. This doesn’t equate to being a good manager or coach.

A good manager also needs to have coaching skills, understand data, and be able to manage people up and down the chain. They also require the desire to continuously learn.  High performers love the prestige of being promoted, but once they’re in the more senior role it quickly loses its lustre. The promotion often means they earn less money, lose the customer interaction and are no longer the superstar.

A good coach is a team player with a passion for the overall success of the team, not someone who needs to stand out as an individual. They need to focus on building others up to become superstars, rather than being the superstar themselves. A good sales coach needs to accept that some of their team members will earn more than they do.  

Therefore, when looking for a sales manager or coach, it makes more sense to look for the person with the best coaching traits and desire to learn than the best sales figures.

2. FOCUSING ON THE WRONG TRAINING 

Most organisations provide some form of management training. But in sales, management training is seldom what leaders need.  

Sales managers need to understand the who, when, and what to coach. They also need to know how to interpret data and understand the indicators, activities and behaviours that drive wins and losses. Left to their own devices, the wrong candidate for a sales manager role is unlikely to learn these important skills on their own.

3. PRIORITISING COACHING

As a sales manager it’s imperative that you prioritise coaching. Not having enough time is not an excuse – coaching is a priority in sales and must be part of a regular cadence.

4. CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

Sales coaching is often based on the sales manager’s perception of how a salesperson is performing – their bottom-line figures and units sold.  

A good sales manager will use a proactive approach to sale coaching. And what better way to receive insight into a salesperson’s performance than through seeking feedback from customers. Customer feedback provides valuable information that can help managers focus on the right things during coaching.

5. FOLLOW UP

A good coach understands human nature and never assumes anything when it comes to coaching outcomes. Just because something has been discussed during coaching doesn’t mean the salesperson will follow through – unless they are made accountable.

Checking in and following up on coaching sessions is crucial to coaching success. Set your coaches up for success by giving them the training to do it effectively and providing them with the insights to track what needs to be followed up.