Sales is a profession that demands employees to be on their toes all the time. Can you believe that almost 65% of salesmen are focused on their next client even before they close the current one? There is a lack of mindfulness and intention when everyone is focused simply on making a sale.
With 2023 approaching, it’s time to reflect and assess our sales strategies and find success.
What’s working and what’s not?
Can a sales coach help you meet targets and emerge as a market leader?
Can it help your business overall and land you more conversions and leads?
With all these questions in place, here are five ways you can get started in the new year with sales coaching backing your team.
What is sales coaching and why does it matter?
Investing in a sales coach can make a world of difference for your team. Employees are more likely to stay in your business if you invest in their development and career growth. If your company is full of untrained or undertrained employees, you will notice a lack of competency while facing challenges.
“Before sales coaching, my team kept missing quotas, felt unprepared most of the times, and were unable to keep each other in the loop. Communication was an old memory and we were all working in silos despite sitting in the same room. Everyone was focused on closing their deals and meeting their targets. This led to a loss of vision and dedication on a business scale,” said a sales rep from a reputed agency in Chennai.
In such cases, coaching for salescan help evaluate your sales reps’ skills and knowledge. It will help the coach provide timely feedback and strategies to improve and generate better performance. Yes, it helps the individual on a personal level, but it ultimately benefits the company at large.
You could invite a sales coach in person to speak to your reps. Or it could be an online one-on-one session via video call or using virtual tools. The coach would place the rep in some scenarios and request a response through videos or audio. Such activities will help managers evaluate their employees, and also help the employees analyze their skills by themselves. This will lead to self-improvement, doubled by precise feedback.
Overall, it gives sales reps a chance to
- Process feedback
- Analyze themselves
- Practice improvement
- Make changes through repetition
- Improve their overall performance
Now let’s get into the five main ways you can get started without making your sales rep feel overwhelmed or incompetent.
1. Change is the only constant
This is the mantra for any sales leader trying to motivate their team and align them with the company’s goals. But jumping into coaching for sales suddenly might make your team insecure. They might think they have been performing poorly and your approach is a warning for them.
To avoid putting your team on guard, ease the concept to them slowly. Coaching for sales performance can give your business 10% higher win rates — make your team understand this and anticipate it. Once the team understands the benefits and motives behind opting for the sessions, they can make a smooth transition.
It will make them realise the company’s priorities and change how they react to the situations thrown their way. They can prepare informed questions and truly make use of the sales coach’s time during sessions.
2. Encourage resilience and agility
Here’s a situation one of my contacts faced recently. The business had decided not to invest in coaching a sales team and focused more on making sales. They didn’t prioritize their employees’ growth and mindset which led to several instances of quiet quitting.
This led to various problems for the team with their clients. Imagine your colleague has been managing a client for over a year and suddenly, they leave. The client is all yours now, but you know nothing about them. They claim various details promised by your colleague, but they seem to be unattainable targets.
This is how the team felt as they couldn’t just say, “Hey, that person is out of the company now so let’s start from scratch! I know nothing about you and lack any briefing about how things were going so far.”
To avoid this, focus on retaining your employees and reassure them that the coaching sessions are purely for further development. They must never feel insecure and lose their resilience while acknowledging your initiative. Encourage them to be agile and ask questions during sessions — be prepared for change and you will navigate it better.
3. Have sessions to learn about employee well-being
You are bringing in a sales coach to improve reps’ well-being. So, it makes sense to ensure they don’t take it negatively. Before transitioning into the coaching sessions, have some direct sessions with your employees. Learn more about them and what they have been feeling to avoid looking lost in front of the sales coach.
How have they been doing?
What are their concerns?
What do they wish to gain out of these sessions?
Do they think it will be useful for them?
What motivates them?
Assess your sales reps and other teams to find a sales coach that can solve your existing issues. Are you trying to improve your sales quotas or are you focused on reducing emotional stress? Create boundaries for your team and let them know they can quit the sessions whenever they feel attacked. If it’s not working for them no matter what they try, they need not force themselves to attend the coaching for sales performance.
4. Encourage reps to set their own goals
Self-assessments are a good way to accelerate your rep’s growth. Ask them to record their calls and listen to them while taking notes. Where do they need to improve? Here is a situation that will reinforce this point.
A sales rep from a reputed agency in Coimbatore felt insecure attending her training sessions. She felt the coach’s suggestions didn’t suit her and she couldn’t change her lifestyle. She decided to evaluate her performance on her own and identify where she was going wrong.
She then took these points to the sales coach and asked him to provide solutions for them directly. She didn’t see the point in asking questions and arriving at the solution when she knew the problem from the start. This worked with the coach as well and the duo began to make quick progress.
This way, if you ask your reps to set goals of their own, you can encourage them to ask for personalized sessions with their coaches. What do they wish to improve about themselves? What have they noticed they lack? What do they wish to evolve into using the coach’s feedback?
By identifying the missing pieces, the sales rep can use the coach to connect the dots and become a better version of themselves. Each person prefers a different approach and so, your reps can observe their shortcomings and align the sessions with their goals. It will enhance self-confidence and resilience with full value for money.
5. Focus on one change at a time
Focus on one area of improvement at a time rather than overwhelming the sales rep with various changes. This will help you make scalable progress with measurable success rather than a lack of focus. Ask the rep to spot one pain point and focus their full attention on it for a month.
“Imagine you are setting resolutions for the new year. If you decide to change your entire lifestyle with ten different resolutions, you will feel like a failure if you miss even one. You will feel frustrated as you have failed to improve yourself. On the other hand, if you set three specific goals and focus on them, you will not feel stalled. It is the same psychology as coaching a sales team,” said a certified psychologist from Chennai.
Sales coaching matters and will help your team start on the right foot in the new year. If you invest in the right sales coach with ample knowledge and empathy, you will start noticing changes at once. Your team will feel driven and motivated to implement the feedback provided and improve themselves.
This will help you retain your employees as well as generate better leads and income for the business. Make the employee think through their plan of action without feeling attacked or incompetent. It will ensure their thinking is crystallized and they stick to their commitment and plan.
Help them transition slowly into the new initiative after understanding your motive and welcoming the change. If you wish to build a dedicated team that is constantly pushing itself to improve, speak to our certified sales coaches.