Sales coaching is crucial for modern sales teams. The main way your prospects interact with your business is through your customer-facing teams, which include your salespeople. Naturally, they need to be educated on the marketplace, your products/services, their value, benefits, cost, challenges, success stories, and other key elements.
In order for your sales reps to have the most engaging and fruitful conversations with customers, they need to be able to speak to them in a natural, confident and convincing way. Even the most confident and natural salesperson needs training in your products and their benefits and how to speak about them to customers using the strongest arguments.
The way for your team to be consistently confident is through ongoing training and reinforcement of their learnings. To continue being top sales reps, your team needs to be challenged and educated, but also supported throughout the entire sales process.
What is sales coaching?
Sales coaching is a continuous process that is vital to sales enablement strategy and seeks to improve sales rep performance and the achievement of goals, which includes ongoing, personalized teaching by sales managers. This can take the form of guiding sellers to empower them to discover how to achieve their objectives through self-assessment. Most importantly, you need to correct behaviors with the least impact and reinforce the behaviors that lead to success.
What’s the difference between sales coaching and sales training?
You may have seen variations between when companies talk about sales coaching vs training. There is a difference: Training is about transferring knowledge while coaching is about enhancing knowledge (or skills) – development, in other words. (But a quality sales enablement software does both!)
Why is sales coaching important?
Sales reps forget as much as 70% of the information they learn within a week of training, and 87% will forget it within a month, according to Gartner research. So, you can’t just have an onboarding session and hope that the team will remember for months or even years after.
Clearly, it’s important to reinforce coaching and training on an ongoing basis, and also using so-called just-in-time (JIT) training, pushing training material to reps as they need it based on the sales context they are in (more on this later).
Use data to inform coaching strategies for sales excellence
It’s not just about offering coaching, but coaching must be done the right way in order for it to have the greatest impact.
Which sales strategies and sales coaching techniques to use would be a whole ebook on its own, but some strategies worth mentioning are to have regular one-on-one meetings to assess each rep's needs, tailor coaching based on each seller’s needs, and hold knowledge sessions within the team to share best practices.
If you struggle to know what matters the most in terms of what sales coaching to implement, use CRM data and analytics to identify what selling activities have the most value and to gain insight into how each sales rep measures up. Then you can make a call to decide which rep needs what type of sales coaching method. You should then, on an ongoing basis, track the impact of coaching on sales representative performance and quota attainment.
Also, measuring data over time from before your coaching program began up until the present day will show how your coaching approach is performing. The overall goal of your sales coaching is positive development and increasing numbers, but using the data you collect about each seller’s activities will help inform what to focus on in future coaching and individual meetings.
In-depth coaching and insights with Pitcher’s coaching tool
You can see how important it is to have up-to-date data, not only on the overall sales performance, but also on each rep’s performance so you know what sales coaching they need.
With Pitcher Coaching 2.0, you can do just that. Pitcher helps your team meet their targets and guides them to stay aligned with your company’s marketing and sales strategy. Our solution empowers individual reps to be more efficient and effective while providing management with real-time insight into how each rep is performing in the field.
With our coaching capability, you get access to in-depth training, coaching and onboarding processes for new employees.
With Pitcher you can:
- Develop your team’s skills: Assess skills, share feedback on employees’ skills and track their progress over time.
- Ensure certified sales quality: Restrict access to sales collateral based on users acquiring certifications on certain sales skills.
- Role play best practices: Record a role play, share with managers and peers and spread those best rated within the organization.
- Create personalized training paths: Send employees on personalized training paths via an internal, microsite-based training academy.
- Use rich templates: Choose from one of the existing templates and adapt to your own requirements.
- Build your own apps: Build your own apps based on the Pitcher SDK and well-documented APIs.
Track progress both online and offline
With Pitcher Insights, you can keep track of all reps’ coaching records and leverage the reporting capability to access reports both online and offline. You can easily capture any important observations from the field, transfer best practices across your team and provide instant feedback for individual team members who need it.
With Pitcher, planning for success and tracking is easy as you get access to action plan items and can track sales reps' progress regularly, setting and tracking objectives and more.
Pitcher’s training tool is interactive, and both coaches and coachees can update it where relevant. For example:
- Coaches can record feedback on a coaching visit (in the Coaching Report), and view the status of, for example, half-yearly or yearly results in the Skill Evaluation report.
- Coaches can provide and update coaching assessments and fill in mandatory focus areas (skills) to finalize the rep’s development plan.
- Coaches can request self-assessments from reps and provide timely action updates on Coaching Reports.
Create the right training content
The Pitcher sales enablement software adapts to your needs. We make training content easy to create for sales coaches – whether that’s a quick-fire video or a coaching guide, from either the office or the airport. It can be bite-size, available instantly when you need it, both online or offline and on any device.
Using Pitcher, you can easily create, publish and analyze learning and development (L&D) content from any location.
Different types of coaching based on individual needs
Because everyone’s different, you need to take into account individual training needs based on both the person and the context. With Pitcher, you can ensure that the training is presented in a format that encourages learning. With our coaching tool, sales managers can conduct private and remote coaching sessions with anyone on the team at any time. And, it’s convenient and effective.
Do you want reps to be able to improve their skills on their way to work, or during their lunch break? Our training formats include micro-learning and JIT training to enable just that. For example, micro-learning has been shown to improve long-term knowledge retention, and an effective sales enablement strategy takes the latest findings into account.
Since JIT training is quick-fire and “punchy”, it’s easier for reps to learn on the go and in a mobile format, so they can make the most of their time out and about. Today, we are all used to and expect information to be available at our fingertips, regardless of whether that’s in our private lives or in business. With JIT training, the knowledge is available precisely when it’s needed; employees are able to use their learnings to improve their performance right then and there.
Thus, it’s more likely that reps use it and it becomes more valuable. If training is one massive module which takes several weeks to get through, it’s more intimidating and less likely to be used.
If you want to learn more about Pitcher Coaching, experience Pitcher by requesting a demo.