The ultimate goal for any sales-focused business is to have a motivated team constantly knocking out goals and surpassing projections. That's the dream! It goes beyond doing the bare minimum to keep things afloat. It's about flying past sales forecasts, boosting the bottom line, and pushing your organization farther than ever.
Your sales reps are your frontline support, and while they likely do a fine job now, there's always room for improvement. That's where good sales coaching comes in. The best sales coaches can transform average-performing reps into the sales dream team!
This blog will provide you with several need-to-know sales coaching tips. These tips can take your coaching efforts to a new level, giving you the tools to develop a top-performing sales team.
Before Coaching Begins
Effective sales coaching starts before you do a single training session. Coaching is more than providing in-the-moment support or doing monotonous classroom busy work. It's about setting goals, giving your team something to work towards, and creating a conducive learning system that caters to everyone's needs.
There's a bit of prep work before you put on your coaching hat. But these few tips can lay the groundwork moving forward, setting your reps up for great success.
1. Formulate Clear Goals for Reps (and for Coaches)
One of the best things you can do to start coaching off on the right foot is to set goals. Having clear objectives gives your salespeople an attainable "finish line." While improvements should be never-ending, well-defined goals make it far easier to track progress. Plus, it provides that sense of accomplishment reps need to keep going after hitting a milestone.
Create measurable goals. Arbitrary ideas of improvement won't do your reps any favors. Those objectives need to be something they can track.
Consider doing some assessments before you start coaching. The most effective way to set goals is to see how people perform and identify problem areas that need improvement. Don't stop at creating plans for your sales reps. Coaches should have clear targets, too. That way, everyone has accountability and objectives to smash.
2. Define North Star Metrics for Reps (and for Coaches)
It's not enough to set individual objectives. It would be best if you also established a more significant goal by defining your North Star metric. Like the Polaris star, you can think of this metric as your guide to growth. It helps direct your coaching efforts and encourages your team to focus on long-term growth instead of short-lived spikes in performance.
Both your reps and your coaches should have a North Star metric they aim to improve at all times.
For reps, the metric should reflect the value they provide to customers. It should also be measurable in some way and lead to more revenue. While it's easy to think of overall revenue as a North Star metric, it's not the best choice. Instead, focus on essential metrics for your business! For example, it could be customer lifetime value, the number of individual clients who purchase products per month, etc.
For coaches, the North Star metric should revolve around your reps. It's about continually improving training efforts and seeing a measurable change in your sales team.
3. Establish a Formal Schedule and Structure
Whether you let your reps self-manage their training efforts or require new hires to undergo specific coaching days before they hit the sales floor, having structure is a must. Here's where many coaches do things wrong. When you have an ill-defined training routine, it becomes more challenging to stay consistent.
Some of your reps won't show up to coaching sessions because they think it's optional. Others might find it hard to fit training programs into their busy schedule. Either way, you can't develop a successful sales team if people aren't there to learn.
Make your coaching official and develop a formal schedule everyone can follow.
4. Track and Maintain Sales Performance Data
Here's where having access to a platform like Flockjay comes in handy. As your team learns, their sales performance will change. Coaching is an ever-evolving practice, and the best thing you can do is go with the flow and adjust to every representative's needs.
But how can you identify those weak points and training opportunities if you don't have any data to fall back on? Maintain sales performance data and review it often. See how your team's capabilities develop over time and adjust your coaching tactics to push for improvements well into the future.
During the Coaching Session
After you lay the groundwork and take steps to formalize your coaching plans, you can take an active role in how your team improves their skills. Training is an ongoing process, and you must continually adapt to the changing market. But coaching can help an average rep turn into a top performer.
It's about developing hard and soft skills while learning how to sell for your company. During the coaching sessions, there's a lot you can do to support your team while creating an environment that helps them flourish.
5. Focus on the Holistic Wellbeing of Sales Reps
Let's talk about one side of sales that many people don't like to bring up: Stress. Sales can be high-stress, and there's no shortage of tense sales floors in the business world. Several decades ago, many companies adopted training techniques centering around this "dog-eat-dog" mentality. While sales can certainly feel cutthroat, it doesn't have to be that way in the real world.
Many salespeople suffer from mental health problems. You don't want to be the source of that and foster a habit of negative reinforcement. Not only is it pretty ethically questionable, but it doesn't do you any favors. Positive reinforcement is the way to go.
Sales reps perform best when they're feeling good and empowered. Don't let your coaching environment turn into something they dread. Instead, become as supportive as you can.
Open up those lines of communication. Sometimes, asking something as simple as "How did your day go?" is enough to let people get things off their chest. Lend a listening ear and prioritize the well-being of every salesperson.
6. Understand How and Why They Excel
It's not enough to track metrics and gather data. Having tons of performance data is excellent, but it's even better to have a platform that helps you make sense of it. Making sales is a holistic process. It's complex, and every person you work with has their way of doing things. Sure, you can teach universal tips and provide instructions on how to sell to your clients.
But your reps will have their distinct strengths and weaknesses. You need to know how and why they succeed to push them further. Analyze their performance and dig deep to figure out what they're doing right. Use the data to gain insight into what your top performers are doing differently.
This tip is helpful for a couple of reasons. First, it helps you cater your coaching to everyone's unique capabilities. Secondly, it can help you identify gold-star strategies that could benefit the entire team.
Sales teams work best when they collaborate and share their best practices. When you understand why people succeed, you can spread the word and strengthen the entire unit.
7. Enable and Facilitate Continued Excellence
Don't let the coaching stop once your team reaches its target goals. Use that North Star metric to create new ones!
Coaching is an ongoing process. Even the most seasoned sales rep has a lot to learn. The market changes fast, and there's always room for continued development. But, you have to create those opportunities.
Consider offering professional development opportunities. Give your team a chance to experience new challenges. Push them outside of their comfort zone and go above and beyond what they think they're capable of doing.
For example, you can encourage your team to reach new markets or try to close a deal with a significant client. Pave the way for continued success.
8. Incorporate a Self-Evaluation Process
You don't have to hold your team's hand as you coach them. Self-evaluation can make a considerable difference, helping people identify their weak points and spot room for improvement.
Think about incorporating opportunities for self-evaluation. You can create tests that they can do on their own time. Or, you can encourage self-evaluation during one-on-one discussions. Instead of jumping in to make corrections, give your reps a chance to provide feedback. Ask open-ended questions and let them talk.
Self-evaluation is key to self-awareness. Encouraging your reps to reflect on their performance can lead to better results and self-confidence.
9. Encourage Reps to Set Their Own Goals
It's always a good idea to work with team members and allow them to set personal goals. You can have your core objectives and monitor multiple KPIs. But consider letting your reps input on the goals they want to meet.
It all comes down to self-awareness and self-evaluation. Furthermore, having your team create personal goals encourages them to identify the issues they need to improve. If you come out with a long list of weaknesses, don't be surprised if people are hesitant to work on them.
Personal goals tend to have a greater impact because it forces people to identify their faults. It's OK to guide them in the right direction, but giving reps the freedom to see what needs improvement and create those personal goals goes a long way.
10. Strong Sales Teams Hold Each Other Accountable
Our final tip is to create some accountability and encourage your team to hold each other up to high standards. That doesn't mean you have to create an environment of negativity and conflict. Instead, it's about encouraging your team to meet their goals. Everyone should commit to improving. When they don't follow through, you shouldn't be afraid to talk about it.
Focus on providing support rather than pointing fingers. Inspire your team to lend a helping hand whenever their colleagues need it. Sales should be a collaborative effort. While there's nothing wrong with healthy competition, everyone's working towards a common goal.
Having a system of accountability and support goes a long way.
Improve Sales Coaching with the Flockjay Platform
Strategic coaching strategies like this can be game-changing. There's an art to professional development and job training. While leadership skills come into play, coaching is about providing support and investing in your team's success.
Ready to give these tips a shot and transform your sales team? Check out Flockjay! The Flockjay platform makes it easier to develop a successful onboarding, training, and coaching strategy for sales teams.