Sales Coaching

Sales Coaching – Why it’s more important than ever

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1. Sales Coaching – Why Invest in Coaching?

At Klozers we love sales coaching.  Watching people or a company who had previously struggled, suddenly find their feet and take off is one of the main benefits of our job. 

However, as with anything in business, sales coaching must provide real value and a financial benefit to the business.  Unfortunately, many companies still do not invest in professional coaching for their salespeople and the most common reason for this is the cost. 

One could argue that if you can’t afford sales coaching then there is a greater need for it.  Perhaps it’s easier for people to blame the cost than for the coaching profession to admit they could do more to help justify the costs.

We were in that position ourselves until we changed the format of our own coaching in order that it’s easier for our clients to measure the increases in their pipeline and the subsequent sales revenue that comes from this.  If you would like to learn more about this and how you can change your own coaching process then you can jump to the end here.

Additional resources on Sales Coaching

Sales Coaching Online
GROW Sales Coaching
Executive Sales Coaching
Remote Sales Coaching and Training

Coaching for Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups
High Performance Sales Coaching
Delivering Effective Sales Coaching
Sales Coaching Course

2. Sales Training vs Sales Coaching – what’s the difference?

Many people get confused between what is sales training and what is sales coaching.  Not only is training and coaching different, they also have different outputs which are really important.

Whereby sales training is about the transfer of knowledge, Sales Coaching is about the practical implementation of that knowledge in the field. 

The easiest way to think of this is if your company has technical people like engineers or software developers.  The training is what a developer would go through to learn how to write the code. 

The coaching is what the developer would need to turn the code into a meaningful application for your business. This means that coaching is the part that drives productivity in the sales team.

One of the main benefits of coaching is that it reinforces the new skills and techniques learnt during the training.  Without coaching studies show that up to 98% of knowledge is lost within 30 days

In other words, one off event-based training sessions have a very limited impact on sales productivity.  

3. When to coach and when not to coach

A recent study by Sales Coaching is one of the most productive activities for any sales team, however, not every sales rep is coachable.  Some salespeople have a “superiority complex” and don’t believe they can either learn or improve. 

This can be falsely reinforced by hitting sales targets that are too low or by being the top sales performer in a group.  Other people will not responding to coaching as improving sales invariably means changing sales behaviours and every human being struggles to change their behaviours.

The last reason some salespeople do not respond to coaching is because they are simply stuck in their own comfort zone and without any really powerful reason to change then they simply carry on as before.

The irony is of course that in the majority of cases these people are in the most need of training and coaching.  With that said, unless there are exceptional circumstances you should not invest time or money in coaching people who have no desire to improve. 

You must either accept them as they are and the potential negative impact they will have on the wider group, or you must have one of those ”management” conversations with them.

4. Sales Coaching Models

There are many sales coaching models and frameworks that you can choose from.  The one we use both internally and externally is the GROW model which we find provides the simplicity and flexibility we require.  

It’s worth noting that coaching in sales can be very different to other forms of coaching.  For example, in Exec coach training coaches are encouraged not to provide the answers and to focus on the questions. 

This forces the coachee to come up with the answer and the though process is that because its their idea they are more likely to believe it and then act on it. 

In sales when there are potentially millions of dollars in terms of deal values up for grabs and time is of the essence, the best sales coaches will switch from a consultative coaching process to directive coaching whereby they are training, coaching and advising the coachee what they need to do.

Grow Sales Coaching Model
Grow Sales Coaching Model

Opportunities for Coaching

There are many areas within sales that lend themselves to sales coaching.  The most common areas Managers should be focussing on for coaching we have found are around:

Sales Activity
Accountability
Lead Generation
Pipeline Coaching
Qualifying/disqualifying

Deal Coaching
Field Coaching
Pre-call planning
Post-call debriefing
Storytelling

5. Growing Sales Revenue

The more adept your employees become at selling, the more revenue they will generate for your business. We use the word employees because sales has changed and the most productive companies have people in every department that can sell to one degree or another. 

For example, many companies who have now aligned their sales and marketing now acknowledge that great salespeople can do marketing and great marketers can sell. 

Best in class companies have expanded this to their operations team who are now positioned as thought leaders and subject matter experts.  This helps build brand authority and helps to differentiate companies in the marketplace.

By investing in training based on the very latest strategies, techniques and market activity, you can gain a real edge over your competitors.

6. Virtual or Remote Sales Coaching

During the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 many salespeople were forced to work from home. Homeworking was easier for some than others, however, many studies showed that people felt less connected and even unsettled when working from home. 

Many Field Salespeople who had spent their lives on out on the road where suddenly confined to their home and confronted with a completely new way of selling. These are exactly the sort of scenarios where coaching can help people adjust to new circumstances and maintain performance.

In many cases sales reps had to retrain on how to sell remotely using tools like MS Teams and Zoom.  Sales training and coaching can bring your remote team together and make it more than the sum of its parts.

The best sales trainers don’t just focus on boosting individual performance but foster a sense of teamwork and unity between your staff. To close big deals in the modern sales world takes a Team and not just one individual.  

If everyone is using a common sales language and are working together at the best of their abilities, you’re more likely to close bigger and better deals than ever before.

Behavioural Sales Coaching
Behavioural Sales Coaching

7. Increase Sales Productivity


Productivity can be difficult to measure in many roles, however, in sales there is a tangible figure every month that can be used as a good indicator. 

That’s not to say that your MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) is the only indicator of productivity, but it’s always the ultimate figure that sales reps are judged by. 

Whereby sales training is about the transfer of knowledge, Sales Coaching is about the practical implementation of that knowledge in the field.  This means that coaching is the part that drives productivity in the sales team. 

With studies showing that 83% of employees want to learn new skills sales training and coaching can make your team more productive and efficient. Quality sales coaching sessions can inspire your team and help them get out of a rut.

You may find that some of your employees feel that they know all there is to know about driving sales. However, the market is always changing, and what works one year isn’t always as effective 12 months later.

Some of your employees may have more sales potential than they think, and training and coaching can help them unlock this.

8. Closing Bigger and Better Deals

Many times human beings create their own glass ceilings and get stuck.  Salespeople are susceptible to this and often suffer from self limiting beliefs around deal sizes, sales behaviours and the whole sales process. 

Sales training can give your staff the skills they need to secure bigger, more lucrative deals, however without coaching they will quickly lose the new skills and revert back to type.

Coaching helps embed the new skills and strategies your sales reps learn in training and helps hold them accountable to using the new skills. As your team become more knowledgeable and confident, they’re more likely to close more deals and bigger ones. 

By using highly experienced sales coaches who live and breathe sales you are in effect fast tracking your team past all the typical problems they will encounter that slow down company growth.

Your team will learn about the latest best practices that they can follow whilst attempting to close deals. The more successful your sales reps become, the more their confidence will grow. Success breeds success.

9. Win More new Clients

Often the most difficult activity in sales is generating new business.  Sales prospecting, lead generation, whatever you call it in your business filling the top of your sales funnel is always a challenge in B2B sales.

The problem with prospecting is that nobody wants to do it, but it still needs to be done.  Many of the problems associated with sales prospecting are connected to the mindset of the sales reps. 

It’s easy to churn out 70 calls a day, and even when you achieve some success it’s difficult to get motivated to come back in day after day and make more calls. 

The job of the modern sales coach isn’t just to help improve your telephone skills or the number of dials you make every day. Great coaches will take a more strategic approach and work with you to design new sales campaigns that dramatically increase your return.

This in turn helps to motivate and inspire your staff, and get them thinking more strategically about the sales process.   

Sales Coaching ROI
Sales Coaching ROI

10. Coaching your Sales Team in a Structured Way

It’s common for companies to know exactly what kind of training their teams need. However, many companies are unclear about how the training should be structured.

Structure is important because it ensures that the training sticks and is embedded in the organisation. Without any form of structure you will find participants forget up to 98% of what they learn in training.

Experienced sales training providers and coaches can help you examine your current sales culture and build a training programme that’s specifically tailored to your organisations needs.

A sales training provider can carry out research such as a training needs analysis before training and coaching takes place. Any sales training and coaching should also be aligned with the companies sales strategy. 

For example, if there is a need from the business to reduce customer churn the training and coaching on this topic might be a priority. 

Training can also be built around new product launches and sales campaigns and wherever possible should be built around your current sales challenges.

11. Boost Workplace Morale

Great sales coaching can also boost confidence and improve morale amongst your staff. Research by LinkedIn shows that 91% of people agree that teams that learn new skills together are more successful.

Furthermore 90% of people surveyed believe that team learning helps foster a sense of belonging to the organisation.

Whilst not everyone will, the majority of your team members are likely to appreciate the effort you’ve put into training them, and helping them improve their knowledge and skills.

Investing in training shows your staff that you care about their career development and want them to achieve more. If staff feel valued, they are more likely to meet their goals and stay with the organisation longer.

Employee satisfaction can be worth its weight is key when it achieving customer satisfaction and meeting business targets. Training can also refresh their knowledge so they can follow and new best practices and anything they may have forgotten or become unclear about.

High Performance Sales Coaching
High Performance Sales Coaching

12. Increase Decision Making

Many companies struggle to grow because there are bottlenecks in their internal decision-making process.  These bottlenecks occur when people do not have the confidence or knowledge to make any form of decision. 

This makes companies less agile and slow to react to changes in the market.  Many companies are investing in sales training and coaching in order to improve the decision-making skills of their sales leadership team.

Training and coaching can help your team recognise and capitalise on opportunities to drive not only your business forward, but their development too.

Sales trainers act as a sounding board and can listen to your Teams ideas and help them fine-tune them to make them more effective in real-world situations.

Sales coaching and training can also make your team more creative and foster an environment where they feel more comfortable discussing new ideas.

13. Product and Service Training

Buyers have very little time to spend with sales reps and when they do they want to talk to salespeople who understand their industry, their business and their own products and services. 

For new sales reps this can be a huge challenge as they get up to speed on products and services. 

Buyers expect salespeople to know their products inside out including all their features and benefits. While training supports features and benefits, coaching provides the all important bridge between them and what relevance and value they provide to the customer.   

Sales coaches can help reps gain a deeper, richer understanding of the context and relevance of the  products that they’re selling.  This in turn allows them to emphasise their value when discussing them with customers.

A quality sales trainer will encourage your reps to talk about the most important features of your solutions so your prospects can clearly see how beneficial they are.

14. In Conclusion

If you’re interested in providing structured sales coaching that’s specifically based on your needs, we would love to talk with you. Sales coaching can reverse any negative sales trends, make your team more adept at selling, improve your sales processes and increase morale within your workforce.

By getting your sales manager on board and involved in the training and coaching process, you can increase the chances of the training being successful.

Sales coaching can also unite your team, help you close bigger, better and more lucrative deals, enhance your revenue, help you win new clients and appease existing ones. Few companies regret their decision to invest in sales coaching.
 
Klozers has different coaching programs available for salespeople, sales managers and business leaders.  We have built our business on our ability to train and coach salespeople across various industries and love what we do.

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Iain Swanston Klozers

Author Bio

Iain Swanston has spent over 30 years in B2B sales selling, training and leading teams both domestically and internationally.  In addition he serves as an Associate at Strathclyde University Business School where he has delivered the sales content for the Masters in Entrepreneurship since 2015.

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