How to create more sales coaching impact with fewer calories burned

By Steve Richard | February 13, 2023

Cited as the most important role that frontline managers play by 74% of leading companies, sales coaching is a critical part of every sales organization. But, it can be very time-consuming for managers juggling many other responsibilities. To help, we’ve outlined how sales managers can create more sales coaching impact with fewer calories burned. 

What can sales managers do to create more sales coaching impact?

1. Define what constitutes a “good” sales call. If your sales reps do not understand how to conduct a successful sales call, it will be difficult for them to hit their targets. It is critical to set proper expectations with your team. Doing so will save time (and conversations) down the line.

2. Focus on where you can make the most impact as a sales coach. Don’t try to call-coach reps with a low number of dials. Call quality isn’t the problem you need to solve when it comes to reps with low activity. First, get to the bottom of why their activity is low. Is it a lack of motivation? Low confidence? Are they having trouble finding their rhythm? As a manager, you should try to help them find their way. But, don’t spend too much time with reps who can’t (or won’t) change. More on that later!

3. Flip the coaching paradigm on its head. One sales manager can’t spend all their time coaching calls. Get your sellers involved in their personal development. Have every rep on your team listen to at least one of their call recordings per week and score it. Then, have them bring that call (and their score) to your weekly one-on-one to discuss it (bonus points for reps who show up to meetings with two calls — one call where they struggled and another they are proud of).

The call scores aren’t necessarily important, but the consistency is. When reps continuously compare their calls against the definition of good you outlined in tip #1, they will start to self-correct and see natural improvement.

4. Conduct a “sales call of the month” contest. Each month, issue a Call of the Month award where you recognize the rep who had the best conversations. This contest is about quality, not quantity. Don’t just give the prize to the highest-performing sales rep. Give everyone a fair and equal chance to win. That motivates your sales reps to have meaningful conversations with prospects and customers without the singular goal of booking more meetings. Have each seller send their best two conversations to their manager on the last day of the month. The manager then narrows down the pool to the top three calls to be played for the judge (this could be your Sales Director, VP — you name it). The judge will pick the best call, and the rep will win a prize of your choosing. Remember to keep winning conversations in a folder to be played for new hires! 

5. Hold the line of accountability. Hold your sales reps accountable for being involved in their own sales coaching. The seller is the only one who can decide to change their behavior, and they must own their development process to make it happen. 

Do you have a sales rep who does not want sales coaching? Read on for some tips to help them get involved. 

How to handle reps who reject coaching

As outlined in #5 above, holding reps accountable for their growth is crucial. So, if you are dealing with a seller who wants to avoid participating in sales coaching, consider the following tips.

One way to encourage sales reps to participate in active sales coaching is to tie in career development. If a sales rep consistently hits their quota each month and does not want to participate in sales coaching, that is their prerogative. But, set the expectation that any sales reps who elect not to participate in sales coaching are not eligible for a promotion down the line. 

Propose a choice to your sellers. Don’t make sales reps do anything. It is up to them to decide what to do based on their career goals. They should always be free to hit their goals and collect their commission so long as they are not a distraction to the entire team. However, if they want to progress in their career and earn a promotion, they must be willing participants in their own sales coaching and development.

If the promotion rule doesn’t entice the rep to participate in sales coaching, you could try pairing them with a different sales leader. Sometimes a different approach or leadership style is all it takes to inspire a rep to change their behavior. If that is not an option, try using a high-performing peer. 

Another way to handle reps that reject coaching is to get the seller involved in the process. It is critical for sales reps to buy into their personal development. People value what they conclude for themselves more than what they are told. 

Have sales reps set their own goals — avoid setting goals on their behalf. They may feel the goals they set for themselves are more attainable because they know what they can achieve.

Are you ready to strengthen your sales coaching program and improve rep performance? Download our 6 steps to sales coaching success checklist to get started today.

Steve Richard is the founder of ExecVision & Vorsight (sold in 2021).  Steve’s mission and life’s work is to help as many sales teams as possible become wildly successful.  He has been featured in numerous publications including The Harvard Business ReviewThe Washington Business Journal, and The Washington Post.  Outside of work, Steve enjoys scuba diving, skiing, running, and watching lots of football.  He lives in Arlington, VA with his wife Ellen and their four kids ages 6, 8, 10, and 12.

Follow Steve’s one minute sales tips of the day on LinkedIn.

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