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The Top 6 Reasons Your Company Needs Sales Management Coaching

Anyone in charge of a company’s sales success knows a sales team is only as good as its members. Like any group of individuals that comes together for a common cause, if a sales team is going to succeed consistently, reps and management must operate in a culture that motivates individuals to perform at their best. 

Add in an emphasis on skills improvement through ongoing coaching, and you’ll see how a sales coach can positively impact a company’s bottom line. A good coach knows how to communicate, motivate and personalize each sales associate’s training, so the sales team repeatedly delivers results.

This article explores what a sales coach does. It covers how an effective sales coach can take a good or even mediocre sales force and make it great. Whether you are a business owner, sales manager, sales trainer or professional sales coach, this guide offers valuable sales coaching tips, while expanding upon all the ways a good sales coach can benefit your organization.

What is a sales coach? 

A sales coach is part mentor, motivator, diagnostician and trainer. The sales coach’s goal is to help each salesperson develop the skills needed to succeed. While a sales coach might also take on the role of a sales trainer, the coaching role goes beyond teaching a selling system or how to overcome objections. A sales coach works with sales staff individually, meeting each team member where they are as they help the salesperson attain new heights in their professional development.

Providing sales coaching in-house or the expertise of a third-party sales coaching provider is the best way to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your sales force. It is also a great way to push the team toward continuous improvement.

The importance of sales coaching 

Gone are the days when a glad-handing slick-tongued sales rep could memorize a selling script, knock on a few doors, make a few sales, and meet or exceed their sales quota. Times have changed, and so have sales. Today, customers expect sales associates to personalize their approach so they can find meaningful solutions to their unique problems. To meet these heightened expectations, sales team members need to do more than master their powers of persuasion. They must let down their barriers, tap into their authenticity, and deliver the heightened level of service that today’s customer wants and needs. 

That’s where hiring a sales coach can make all the difference. Sales coaches help reps get to the top of their game to meet or exceed customer expectations and, by doing so, meet or exceed company sales goals.  

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What does a sales coach do? 

When examining what a sales coach does, it is helpful to look at what they don’t do. 

First, sales coaches are not sales managers. Sales managers spend their time focusing on keeping the wheels of the sales department turning. These managers are busy tracking sales performance through key metrics, coordinating sales activities like assigning leads, and hiring and onboarding new sales reps. 

Sales coaches are also interested in sales performance—and they certainly want to know how the sales team is tracking sales goals, and meeting key performance indicators and other essential metrics—their concern is on a micro level. They are interested in the individual performance of each rep first and foremost. 

Next, sales coaches are not sales trainers. While their duties might overlap at times, the primary job of a sales trainer is to teach the sales team the information and techniques they need to sell the company’s products or services. The sales trainer’s job is to ensure everyone knows the company’s product lines and best practices to entice potential customers to buy.

On the other hand, the sales coach is in the business of continuous improvement tailored to individual sales reps. They offer training certainly, but gear what and how they train to the specific needs of the rep. The coach’s job is to reinforce the company sales training while encouraging each sales representative to perform to the best of their ability.

Quite simply, the sales coach has one overarching objective: to set each member of the sales team up for success. It is the sales coach’s job to: 

  • Create a safe and supportive environment that gives reps permission to try new avenues toward success without fear of failure or reprisal.
  • Empower and energize the sales staff to bring their best selves to work each day.
  • Identify areas where each member of the salesforce can improve.
  • Model appropriate sales techniques and behaviors for the reps.
  • Encourage sales reps to be accountable for their limiting attitudes and behaviors.
  • Reinforce company-sanctioned techniques and behaviors, acknowledging their efficacy while offering ways for reps to incorporate their unique personalities and best practices.
  • Provide the team with the tools and skills they need to enhance sales outcomes.
  • Encourage each rep to take ownership of their own strengths and improve on their particular weaknesses.
  • Help each rep develop an action plan with achievable performance improvement goals.
  • Follow up with each rep on a regular basis to continue the improvement process.

12 benefits of sales management coaching 

Sales management coaching is a win-win for both an organization and its sales team members. Organizations benefit from having a more polished, self-assured and motivated group of sales reps who, through coaching, have a skill set that serves them well at work and home.  

When sales management coaching is integrated into a company’s sales organization, it can be leveraged to a great advantage. For example, sales coaching can be used to:

1. Develop a company culture that encourages learning and improvement

With sales coaching, the reps are encouraged to hone new skills and adopt new behaviors that help them adapt to changing paradigms as they face new challenges. When sales staff are encouraged to learn and improve, they soon find nothing beyond their reach, including constantly raising and meeting the bar for success. 

2. Provide a solid feedback loop

Most people are energized by positive reinforcement but can become demoralized when the feedback is negative or, worse yet, when they receive no feedback. With sales coaching, positive reinforcement and encouragement to improve are both parts of a continuous feedback loop where the individual is recognized for their abilities while being helped to improve if they fall short.

3. Make onboarding a breeze

One of the reasons a successful onboarding process is important is because you want your new sales reps to be fully acclimated to their roles.

Sales coaches can accelerate the onboarding and training of new sales team hires, balancing learning a new organization’s products, processes and procedures with one-on-one attention, which can be overwhelming initially. When sales coaching is an integral part of new sales associate onboarding, the sales rep finds they are better equipped to hit the ground running and become a contributing member of the team in a far shorter time. 

4. Address sales slumps and burnout

Every seasoned salesperson will sometimes hit a slump and feel burned out. When sales reps are less energized, they can’t do their jobs as effectively as they want to. With individual sales coaching, that rep can be empowered to find their happy place again, whether through adopting new skills or creative exercises to help them develop new ways of approaching old problems.

5. Find areas for improvement and address them quickly

Often, a sales coach will be the first to detect dings in the salesperson’s armor and come up with ways to correct them early, before sales start to wane. As much as it encourages improvement, sales coaching also staves downward spirals. 

6. Break down silos while encouraging cross-departmental collaboration

Because a sales management coach brings a holistic perspective of the company and how the sales reps’ contributions impact the entire organization, coaching often helps the sales force feel more integrated into the business. Instead of separating the sales function from marketing, customer service, manufacturing, etc., coaching offers reps a new perspective that, in turn, makes them more inclined to collaborate with colleagues across departmental lines. 

7. Make sure resources are leveraged to their most significant advantage 

One of the main goals of a sales coach is to guide the sales team to use available company resources to the greatest advantage. The sales coach ensures each sales team member understands the company tools that enhance the sales function—including marketing materials, the company CRM and dashboard, and the various sales funnel stages—and knows how to leverage them to increase sales. 

8. Help each team member grow personally and professionally

When sales coaching focuses on personal development, the individual and the organization benefit. Sales and life skills are similar in that they help individuals cope with challenges, recognize areas that need improvement, and then move forward to overcome obstacles that keep them from meeting their ultimate goal. In sales, it is the sale. In life, it is happiness and personal satisfaction. When people are happier in their personal lives, they will come to work enthusiastic and ready to take on the world. 

9. Empower sales reps to take initiative

When coaching for sales performance is successfully integrated into a company’s sales management system, the sales team members gain confidence in their abilities to take affirmative steps without excessive hand-holding or micromanagement. The more confident sales reps are, the more motivated they will be to contribute above and beyond the four corners of their job description to the company’s success. 

10. Improve sales staff satisfaction and employee retention

The last thing you want is for your staff to be unhappy in their roles and look for new opportunities elsewhere. People with access to personal sales coaching become more satisfied with their jobs. The guidance, direction and attention are paid back with a sense of loyalty, commitment and overall job satisfaction. They are happier at work and less likely to leave. They also see you are committed to their success, which only adds to their satisfaction overall. 

11. Support sales training with new product education 

Part of professional sales coaching is reinforcing product and services training and helping to introduce new products and services to the sales team. This is especially critical for companies that are constantly innovating. As companies and their product offerings grow, the sales coach can ensure that the sales force keeps up with the sales techniques needed to support the new offerings. 

12. Improve sales volume and close bigger deals

Sales coaching, when all is said and done, keeps your sales reps at the top of their game. That means they stay primed to close more deals and bring in more revenue for the business. 

Crunchbase empowers sales coaches to succeed

Sales coaches are tasked with staying on top of the most relevant company and competitor information to keep a company’s sales team at the top of its game. While the preceding sales coach tips are essential, there is no substitute for supporting your sales coaches with the right systems and tools to set them (and the reps they are coaching) up for success. Crunchbase can help you provide the support your company sales coach needs to keep your reps’ close rates high. 

Crunchbase offers the all-in-one solution you need to keep your sales teams performing at the highest levels. We provide tools for sales prospecting using sales intelligence to help you quickly identify qualified accounts, and best-in-class proprietary data allowing you to spot trends and identify opportunities. 

Whatever your immediate and long-term goals, Crunchbase is a cost-effective way to add valuable and unique data to your existing internal tools. With Crunchbase, you can identify more qualified prospects and turn them over to your sales force in record time. Try Crunchbase for free. And, check out Crunchbase News to learn more about the latest industry trends and developments.

  • Originally published August 16, 2022