What is sales coaching?
Develop, train, and mentor salespeople through one-on-one relationships with a manager or sales leader to hit personal and organizational financial goals.
Sales is one of the biggest lifelines to your organizational success. It’s best to have an agile sales team to position your product, service, or solution for the marketplace and create a lucrative sales plan—but building that team takes time, experience, and dedication.
Implementing streamlined processes and programs ensure your sellers work as a team, thrive in the marketplace, and achieve organizational success. You must create a plan that teaches your sales team the right techniques quickly, while also giving them the confidence and guidance to achieve their own objectives. Focused coaching is key to success. Sales coaching helps instill that assurance, as well as build morale for your entire sales organization.
Defining sales coaching
Sales coaching is developing and mentoring a salesperson through one-on-one relationships with a manager or peer to reach a personal quota or goal. It’s the definitive component to unlocking the potential of not just a single team member, but the entire sales department and how they can use that knowledge to work together. Effective coaching can diagnose both efficiencies and deficiencies so sales representatives can better take ownership of their performance and gain the knowledge to improve their results.
The objectives of sales coaching are to:
- Assess strengths and areas for improvement.
- Change behaviors.
- Develop knowledge and skills.
- Inspire self-motivation.
- Provide continuous feedback to team members.
- Strengthen relationships.
By creating an effective sales coaching strategy, sales managers can focus more on each person’s needs, resulting in better selling techniques, greater sales, and more organizational cohesion. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to sales coaching—openness to change is crucial in making a lasting positive impact. Sales coaching focuses on clarifying appropriate behaviors and helping both the manager and representative concentrate on areas of improvement.
Adding activities to your sales coaching program helps create well-rounded, self-sufficient sales representatives who become more confident and encouraged to improve their sales techniques. Some sales coaching activities are:
- Connecting with team members on a professional and personal level.
- Recognizing when employees have improved and motivating them to continue to do better.
- Guiding, not explicitly telling, how an employee can do better at a particular task.
- Asking top-down questions that give a more holistic understanding of a team member’s perspective.
The benefits of sales coaching
Many companies are still learning how essential sales coaching is for the future of their business. And building an effective sales team with clear sales coaching techniques is a crucial component of that plan.
Some may initially view sales coaching as being vague, taking too much time, or too challenging. Or that introducing an informal sales coaching process may seem ideal and cost-effective, but the end results may be ineffective. It’s not just about hitting a quota—coaching your sales representatives has many positive outcomes for your team and for the organization. These include:
- Improving employee retention rates. Turnover is prevalent in sales—through burnout, bigger salary, or better opportunities elsewhere—the sales team is the most susceptible to wanderlust. With sales coaching, the added professional development can pinpoint the needs of the sales employee and address them quickly. When you’re able to solve problems swiftly, you help alleviate frustrations and your team is more likely to stay with the organization long-term.
- Sharing knowledge and best practices. When one representative uses a great strategy or technique, it’s easy to teach and share amongst the team. This knowledge helps boost revenue overall, increase client retention, and help generate proficiency at closing big deals.
- Ensuring the confidence of your sellers. The sales manager is the source of morale for a sales team. A leader committed to improving everyone’s performance helps instill unity, teamwork, and camaraderie within your sales network. The manager also helps ensure everything throughout the closing of a deal moves smoothly and seamlessly.
- Increasing performance and productivity. As your team adapts to effective sales techniques through sales coaching, they strengthen their overall performance, learn to work quickly, and become more productive overall. From here, employees also improve communication, interpersonal relationships, and decision-making skills.
- Higher revenue and increased profit margins. Sales coaching impacts your sellers and their ability to sell successfully. This directly affects your business’s bottom line. More sales lead to higher revenue and increased profit margins, providing a greater organizational financial gain.
Sales coaching techniques
To make sure your salespeople can succeed with the coaching strategy you’ve provided, they’ll need to know the best-selling techniques to win over customers. Empower your sales team by implementing specific selling techniques that’ll help drive more business and support your organization’s sales enablement process. After sellers receive sales training to learn the basics and best practices of selling in real-life scenarios, sales coaching helps hone those practices learned throughout the training process and brings those techniques to life.
Here are a few sales coaching techniques to ensure your team reaches its goals.
Self-diagnosis through discovery
Sales coaches regularly review data to gauge their wins and losses, usually becoming aware of problems before a representative has a chance to realize them. Teaching people how to self-pivot can serve to help representatives see their own changes and adopt positive personal behaviors before being told to do so. A coach can ask their representative targeted questions like:
- What went well in your customer engagement?
- What could have been done differently?
- Which techniques do you find yourself using the most? Are they working well?
- Are there benefits to changing your approach?
- What happens if you don’t change?
Decide on your best path to success
Once you identify opportunities for improvement, you’ll need to plan what goals sellers need to accomplish to achieve your business’s ideal future state. Lead the discussion, but don’t overtake it with your opinions. You want to be able to guide your representative to explore their potential without fear of punishment or failure. Some good questions to ask are:
- What is your ideal future state?
- What steps do we need to take to get there?
- What roadblocks will keep us from achieving this state?
- How can I help you achieve this state?
Create an action plan
Write out the steps your representative needs to take to create a beneficial future state, and revisit periodically to ensure you both are on track to meet your desired goals. Some items to add to your plan include:
- One to three efforts or actions that help facilitate change.
- Progress timeline.
- The date you both expect to achieve this goal.
Support the sales team
Listen to what your sales representatives need for their goals. Offering encouragement and positive feedback helps your team gain confidence. Negative feedback is hard to hear and can make future changes difficult if team members feel unsupported. To support and energize your team, ask questions like:
- Is there anything I can explain or help clarify?
- Do you think this plan is on the right track?
- What other areas can I offer my support?
Follow up on your plan
Use your follow-up coaching sessions to determine your progress and pivot, as necessary. Ask questions like:
- Are you making progress toward your goals?
- Any new roadblocks?
- Do you feel like we need to update the plan?
Sales coaching training tips
As a sales coach, you’ll need to collaborate with your sellers to review your progress, give feedback, and offer encouragement. To ensure your sales coaching makes a lasting impact, follow these six tips to help develop your team.
- Develop a formal coaching program, structure, and cadence. Get buy-in from leadership, directors, managers, and co-workers to ensure this is a program that can benefit the individual seller, sales team, organization, and the marketplace.
- Train managers in new and established sales methodologies and proper coaching techniques. Informal coaching techniques can cause more harm than good—provide the appropriate learning opportunities to ensure your team is always prepared.
- Ask questions. Be sure sales representatives lead the discussion; sales coaches are only there to help, not take over.
- Tailor coaching to each sales representative. Everyone’s selling style is different, so you need to modify each session to the individual and communicate how you’d specifically like each behavior to change.
- Reinforce your coaching with training materials. Bad habits can return over time. Consistently equip your team with the tools, resources, and other materials to ensure your positive habits stay in place.
- Track your sales coaching impact. Good selling doesn’t happen during a single coaching session. Collect individual data and metrics to highlight tactics, performances, metrics, and behavioral changes for future one-on-ones.
What to look for in a sales coaching program
It’s not just about coaching one great seller—it’s about creating the framework, playbook, and sustainable coaching efforts to build a long-standing team of amazing sellers. When looking for a dynamic sales coaching program, you need to spotlight tools and resources that’ll help you achieve short- and long-term goals for both your team and organization. You’ll need a tool that implements:
- Conversation intelligence: Use data science to analyze your sellers’ transcribed call recordings. With the information captured from those calls, sellers can use curated insights to help guide their selling tactics for more personalized and lucrative calls.
- Customer feedback: Continuously track how your customers feel about your product and identify opportunities where sellers can improve in their selling techniques.
- Manager dashboards: Compile all your tactics, performances, and goals into a single location to make better data-driven decisions. Streamlined through your sales force automation software, managers can track pertinent information like time to conversion, conversion ratios between leads and opportunities, sales technique success rate, opportunities to speed up the process or offer guidance, and sales status.
- Seller key performance indicators (KPIs): Know what milestones your team needs to hit to be successful and strategize on how to pivot if achieving those goals is in jeopardy.
- Playbooks: Outline the correct techniques your team needs to complete successful sales.
Transform your organization with a focused sales program
Finding the right sales coaching tool that tackles all your current goals, while simultaneously setting up your business for future organizational success, will be a key factor in your advancement within the marketplace.
As your sales team grows and adapts, they’ll need to be able to fulfill the customers’ needs at any given moment. Choosing a product that fits the needs of both your team and organization is crucial in ensuring marketplace longevity.
Dynamics 365 Sales helps your team gain real-time visibility into your sales performance with interactive dashboards to deliver more effective sales coaching. With this detailed forecasting, you can proactively identify risks and enforce best practices, generating more leads and significant sales.
How can we help?
Connect with a Microsoft specialist or partner to learn how Dynamics 365 helps grow your business and customer base, ask pricing and licensing questions, or set up a free demo and trial. We’ll contact you within two business days.
For product assistance, get technical support.
Thanks for your interest
Currently, there are no representatives available based on your selection. We invite you to reach out to a partner for assistance, ask our community of experts, or start a free Dynamics 365 trial.
* Required field
Get expert help from Microsoft partners
Find a wide range of consulting services from a partner near you.
Join the community
Connect, learn, and discuss Dynamics 365 with business leaders and peers.
Start a Dynamics 365 free trial
Experience what Dynamics 365 products have to offer.
Thanks for requesting a call
Try Dynamics 365 Sales free for 30 days
Try Dynamics 365 Sales free for 30 days
Help your team activate digital selling to close more deals and increase revenue. In this trial, you’ll learn how to:
Accelerate your sales.
Manage your opportunities.
Forecast your revenue.
Work on the go with the mobile app.
Let's get started
Enter your email to start your free trial. *