What is a sales coach? Today, I’m going to answer every question you have about sales coaching.
The Complete Guide to Sales Coaching
Sales is the driving force behind every single business.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know what I’m about to say:
Nothing happens until a sale is made.
Sales keeps the doors open
Sales keeps the team paid.
Sales funds the marketing campaigns that bring in leads and in turn generate even more sales.
Sales is the backbone of your entire organization. Without sales, you don’t have a business.
When productivity has reached a plateau (or worse, dropped), smart business owners hire a sales coach to come in and re-energize sales teams and get them back on track, so that the business can keep generating revenue.
But, what is a sales coach? What does a sales coach do? How can you find one? How do you know if you’re hiring a GOOD sales coach? And, how can YOU become the sales coach for your internal team?
Today, we’re going to talk about everything you need to know about sales coaching.
What is a Sales Coach?
A sales coach is someone who comes into an organization to reinvigorate the company’s sales team. A sales coach digs deep to figure out what it takes to get your team up on the right trajectory, work effectively, and generate more revenue for the company.
A sales coach is not typically hired on as a full time employee, although many high-stakes companies make an investment in a sales coach on a long-term basis. A sales coach works in conjunction with the VP of sales, sales managers, sales team leads, and other C-level executives to transform the energy and efficiency of the sales team.
Sales coaches may also work in tandem with the marketing department to ensure that the two teams are working currently, that there is consistency in goals, and make sure that the leads the marketing team is generating are being processed correctly so that the sales team can step in at the right time.
Although they’re typically in the background of a sales organization, sales coaches are the driving force between success and stagnation of your company.
What Does a Sales Coach Do?
So, you’re thinking about hiring a sales coach (or becoming a sales coach for your team), but what does a sales coach actually do?
A sales coach comes into your organization, breaks down the current state of your sales team piece-by-piece, reconstructs it, and creates success pathways for the entire team. A sales coach helps your company navigate the waters between when you are and where you want to be.
Let’s break down some of the most significant responsibilities of a sales coach:
Create Accountability Systems
Your sales coach will create and implement the systems and processes that keep your team accountable. This could look like the implementation of score cards and progress tracking, creating a pathway to success, and implementing routine training with sales team leads and reps.
Determined the Core Motivations of the Team
Above anything else, your sales team is made of people. Your organization needs to recognize that the people on your sales team aren’t just simply another cog in the wheel, but human beings with motivations and desires.
A sales coach helps determine what drives your team individually and collectively.
Some team members will say that they’re driven by money.
Some team members will be driven by the desire to be successful in their career.
Some will say that they don’t particularly love their job, but that they’re drive by stability.
No matter what they say their surface desires are, it always goes deeper.
For example, the team members that say that they’re driven by money have the core desire of providing for their family, retiring their spouse, paying off their old debts, or living in their dream home.
A sales coach goes deep, helping figure out what motivates each team member and how to use that motivation as the daily driver for navigating challenging leads and closing deals (and yes, this works even for team members who don’t seem particularly enthusiastic about their careers).
Develops and Sets Expectations
Sales teams are a microcosm of society as a whole. There are leaders and there are followers There are people who prefer to stay inside the lines and there are people who innovate. There are people who need guidance and there are self-reliant people.
You likely have someone in each of these categories on your team.
But, no matter what each member of your team brings to the table, there needs to be a set of standards and expectations that apply to everyone on the team. There needs to be an order of command. People, by nature, thrive with some kind of structure and knowing what they can expect next.
Hiring a sales coach means bringing someone in to reset the organization, help you develop those expectations, and helps you navigate implementing them.
And sometimes, your sales coach will help you arrive at uncomfortable conclusions. Not every member of your sales team may be a fit for the type of culture you want to promote. This can be difficult, especially for smaller sales teams. But, the health of your company sometimes depends on having hard conversations and rebuilding your sales team with people who align with your mission.
Helps Train & Refine Your Team’s Skills
A sales coach will dig into the disconnect between the expectations of the company and your training regimen, filling any gaps and clearing up confusion. Sales coaches help your team strengthen their skills so that they perform their best in the field.
Sets Your Team Up For Continuous Growth
A good sales coach is hands-on with your team and not only takes advantage of teachable moments, but teaches the strongest members of your team how to do the same. This way, your team learns to rely on one another, work in cohesion, and empower each other to motivate, inspire, and push each other to perform.
Sales Coach vs. Sales Consultant
Sales coaches and sales consultants are both integral to an organization, but there are key differences.
A sales consultant is hired to grow sales and drive the outcomes desired by the client. In other words they’re there to produce results that are dictated by the client.
For example, the client needs to increase sales by 10% this year. The sales consultant will devise a plan of action and give prescriptive measures to the sales organization to accomplish those goals. A sales consultant essentially is a “fixer” brought in as a part of the team.
On the other hand, a sales coach is somebody who comes into an organization and helps uncover problems through deep discovery (with what I call soul-piercing, jaw-dropping, head-spinning questions). Sales coaching is almost “sales therapy” where the coach empowers leadership and sales organization to come to the conclusions on their own and take the action required.
In short, sales consultants fix immediate problems and sales coaches empower the team to fix and prevent problems in the future, empowering the organization in the long term.
Sales Coaching: A Case Study
Let’s dissect a sales coaching engagement and identify the problem, the approach, and the solution involved. This will give you a deeper understanding of how sales coaching works and can impact your organization.
For the sake of privacy, we will call the client Client X.
Client X had been a fairly successful solar organization for a number of years. However, they had recently experienced sales leadership that was more laid-back; didn’t enforce accountability and as a result their results started to slow precipitously.
Their sales culture was suffering and revenue was experiencing a rapid decline. Client X opted to bring in a third-party sales coach to revolutionize their sales culture and create a pathway back to success.
As with any coaching, the first thing we needed to do was listen. We listened intently to what was working and what wasn’t, as well as what they think they need help with.
To do this, we used our deep dive discovery engagement, which is a strategy that includes interviewing each of the leaders — the CEO and the VP of Sales. During this deep dive discovery engagement, we used tools like self-evaluation, the automate delegate, and the illuminate exercise to help them see, in black and white, the opportunities they have to improve sales, revolutionize sales culture, and produce better results.
We also used the Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, to help them decide on and prioritize tasks by urgency and importance. With this matrix, we sort out the less urgent and less important tasks, which should be delegated or not done at all.
This is named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was routinely tasked with making tough decisions about which tasks to focus on each day. Over time, he invented the now world-famous Eisenhower principle, which we use to prioritize tasks by urgency and importance.
The AJC Group also implemented hands-on coaching and training programs for team members from the C-Level to the sales leads. This ensures cohesion in goal-setting and methodology to achieve them across the organization.
Individual Coaching Sessions
One-on-one sessions with individual sales reps, including coaching on deals and presentations, analysis of live sales interactions, and assessments to develop areas for improvement.
- Learning rules of influence
- Taking ownership
- Setting goals, not deadlines
- Minimizing stress factors
- Maintaining a positive mental attitude
- Developing self-confidence and motivation
- Cultivating proactive motivational techniques and strategies
- Developing oneself
Individual coaching is good for new salespeople, sales reps struggling to hit their numbers, and sales reps who go out on calls on their own
Group Coaching Sessions
Group sales coaching sessions create a culture of sales success and an environment in which every rep can learn from each other.
- Planning the sale
- Preparing proven sales strategies for product demos
- Creating a sales action plan
- Performing detailed studies of prospects and clients
- Learning to get the customers attention, interest, desire, and action
- Creating trust and rapport
- Learning to ask the right questions
- Expanding the dialogue
- Learning how to ask for referrals
- Selling value, not price
- Cross-selling and upselling
- Overcoming objections and stalls
Designed for key executives, this coaching helps your organization take sales performance to the next level.
- Developing leadership traits
- Improving the sales team
- Streamlining performance of the reps
- Hiring and recognizing the key players
- Setting priorities and executing them
- Focusing on the right customers
- Understanding and tracking key metrics
- Engaging in deep conversations about sales vision and strategy with an expert in sales practices
- Delivering lasting sales results
- Understanding the key components of creating a supportive sales culture
As of this writing, results that have increased leadership are more focused on instilling accountability and helping their sales leaders to spend time on more revenue producing activities and things that they’re good at.
We’ve also implemented a continuous coaching engagement with their VP of sales which continues to reap rewards to this day
Individual Sales Coaching vs. Group Sales Coaching
Benefits of Sales Coaching for Individuals
A recent study showed that sales pros who participate in individual or one-on-one coaching will improve their performance by 19.5%. In private, one-on-one sessions, sales reps are able to share their concerns, pain points, and struggles in a comfortable environment to facilitate more individual guidance and recommendations from the coach.
Individually, sales reps are able to improve their communication skills to learn how to close the deal, improving their overall productivity and engagement. During a one-on-one session, they gain personal awareness, improve specific skills, and gain perspective and a deeper level of learning.
Benefits of Group Sales Coaching
Coaching in a group environment reinforces the positive sales culture across the entire organization. When a robust, organization-wide sales culture is built, every team member understands their role in the larger goal and can work together toward improving sales and building long-term customer relationships.
This doesn’t mean the approach isn’t individualized, however. Sales reps will have an opportunity to work on their weaknesses and grow and learn together, supporting each other as a team. It also establishes best practices and processes to hold everyone accountable and help each other continue learning and developing once the sessions are completed.
Why Hire a Sales Coach?
Clarity and Focus
We find especially in the solar industry that anyone with a pulse or who can find a mirror is your ideal client. And that just isn’t so. Getting clear on your offer and getting focused on who your ideal client is is the first step in putting off Guard rails to help you execute.
Create a Cohesive Team
Sales can be a competitive environment, and while competition breeds success, it can also hurt the bottom line if things become too cutthroat. Working together with sales coaching, both individual and group, builds a strong, supportive sales culture organization-wide to ensure success for everyone. In addition, new and inexperienced reps can learn from the trials and tribulations of more experienced sales reps, and conversely, those experienced reps gain a fresh perspective and new approaches.
Different Personality Types are Empowered
Every solar sales organization has a mixture of personality types and experience. Some are extroverted, some are introverts, and some are in the middle. Getting all personality types together as a cohesive unit helps move the needle forward in closing more deals.
When left to their own devices, sales teams are not capable of producing the outcomes that leadership defines for them. They don’t achieve results, and their morale takes a hit.
So, how do you improve morale? Get teams working together and completing tasks that they are good at and enjoy doing. Employees need to feel like they’re contributing to the overall business goals and like they’re valued within an organization to be committed to success, and that boosts morale.
You’ve heard the phrase “happy wife, happy life?” Well, happy sales professionals produce better results than unhappy ones. If you want to succeed, and you want your team to succeed, you must improve morale.
If all roads lead to Rome, all activities lead to increased sales. When you make yourself accountable as a leader, and your team accountable to their work, you can get the results you seek. This will increase sales, and in turn, profitability.
Measurable results come from defining the activities required to get to that outcome. Otherwise, you have no idea if the changes and initiatives you’ve implemented are working, or what you can do to improve them. Every strategy starts with a goal and it needs to be clear and measurable.
We’ll go over setting goals in detail in the next section, but generally, it’s not enough to have vague and undefined goals like “make more money” or “increase sales.” How much more money? How many sales? In what timeframe? Relative to what benchmark?
As you can see, goals need to be more targeted to see if you’re achieving them and what you can do to boost your performance.
Sales Coaching & Goal Setting
You can’t accomplish a goal unless you understand what the goal is.
For some, it’s “revolutionizing sales culture,“ “attracting more leads,” “booking more appointments,” or “closing more deals.”
This is where measurable goals come into play. If your goal is to close one residential deal a week or even one commercial deal a month how does a coach come in and help that happen? You start from the end and work back. How many appointments? How many door knobs? How many follow-ups?
All of these questions will help you understand what it takes to accomplish the goal stated above.
Goals should always be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound). So, closing more deals isn’t enough.
Your goal is to sell four residential solar deals a week. It’s specific and measurable(four residential solar deals), attainable (you can manage four deals in a week!), relevant (it’s related to sales goals), and time bound (you chose a week as your timeframe).
See how that works? Now, you have a clear goal in mind. If you see that on Wednesday you haven’t closed a single deal, you know you’re not on track to meet your goal. If you close four deals by Tuesday, you’ve now met your goal with three days to spare, so perhaps you didn’t choose a goal that’s enough of a challenge.
Setting goals like this can help you determine and define what you’re setting out to achieve and creates a pattern for you to follow in the future. As mentioned, if your goal comes too easily, you know that you need to raise the bar a bit in the future. If it’s not going to happen, you know that you need to choose more realistic and achievable goals moving forward.
But back to your goal: four residential solar deals in a week’s time. Knowing your goal shapes your strategy. What activities do you need to execute to accomplish this goal?
For example, if you have a 40% closing rate, you need to pitch 10 prospects to close four deals for that month.
Let’s say you were a door-knocker and you want to set up a certain number of appointments in a day. How many doors do you need to knock on and how many conversations do you need to have? If your door knocker’s “sit” rate is 10%, and the average door-knocker will knock on doors for four hours a day, say 80 doors, that’s eight sits for your time.
As you can see, you can work from a goal forward, or start from your current performance and work backwards to determine realistic goals and timeframes. You have this benchmark, and from there, you can choose to challenge yourself more or keep goals more achievable until you learn what works for you.
No matter what, you need to have goals. There’s no other way to track, measure, and improve your performance without a goal to start.
How to Become a Sales Coach & Coach Your Team
So you’re a sales leader and you want to coach your team to be more efficient, confident, and productive. Great! Every sales organization needs coaching–even those teams who are already high-performing can increase their productivity even further.
Let’s talk about how you can coach your team in a measurable and effective way.
I Want to Coach My Team on Sales. Where Do I Start?
Before you start coaching your team on sales, start by asking yourself this question:
If I were looking for a coach what would I look for?
You would likely choose someone who has a proven track record, is self-starting, determined, and someone you could rely on as a trusted advisor.
Be this person for your team.
Start By Getting Your Own Coach
Every coach needs a coach. We miss the forest for the trees, and a sales coach can help you see your blind spots and improve your own skill set, so you can lead and coach your team more effectively.
You can hire a sales coach to help you navigate your own challenges, ask for advice for managing your team, and for a third-party perspective on your team’s strengths and weaknesses.
You can hire a sales coach that can then, in turn, better prepare you to coach your own team. We’re never done learning, especially as leaders, and we all benefit from an outside perspective.
Determine Your Goals
To coach your sales team, you have to understand what you want to get out of coaching as their coach, what your team wants out of coaching, and what the organization needs.
For many sales reps, their goals with sales coaching is to increase confidence to produce better outcomes. This could mean increased confidence in their ability to close the deal, or confidence that their leadership will help provide them with the tools they need to succeed.
For VPs of Sales, sales managers, or team lead, goals are often more specific, such as closing a higher percentage of deals, hitting bigger revenue targets, or deals becoming a better leader.
Determine the goals of each member of your team, and the overall goal of the company. Then, you can construct a coaching plan to help achieve them.
Remember to use SMART goals for these goals as well. SMART goals don’t need to be sweeping goals that apply to your overall organization. Each goal you set for your team members should be individual to their strengths and weaknesses, as well as part of the overall organizational goals.
Ask Your Team the Right Questions
As a sales coach, you will use both subjective information and objective data to monitor performance and uncover opportunities. This is critical in helping you recalibrate your sales team and and either influence performance-enhancing behaviors or discourage certain behaviors to prevent the rep from accomplishing their goals.
To begin coaching your sales team, you can start with foundational “5W” questions:
The “who” question is about accountability and responsibility and can help you determine whether or not there is any communication breakdown among the team or chain of command.
Ask these “who” questions:
- Who is ultimately responsible and accountable for sales?
- Who is at the top of the leadership or chain of command? How does information travel through to the team?
- What’s working currently in your organization?
- What isn’t working?
- What do you think your weaknesses are?
- What do you think you need the most help with?
- What obstacles are you currently facing? Can they be lessened or removed?
- What would you like to see most improved?
- Where does your leadership stand? Are they experienced, inexperienced? In between?
- Where do you find your ideal client?
- Where do you seek and attract prospects?
- Where could you go to look for new audiences and prospects that you haven’t tried? Why not?
- When do you schedule outreach?
- When do you follow up?
- When do you make another cold call or reach out to a client again?
“Why” questions are among the most important because they let you get to the heart of the issues.
- Why are you spending more or less time having coaching conversations with your team?
- Why are you seeking coaching services? What outcome are you hoping for?
- Why do you believe your team or your leadership isn’t performing at its best? What role do you play in that?
And Don’t Forget “How’
- How do you go about a door knocking for either residential or commercial clients?
- How are you becoming a trusted advisor?
- How are you spending your time every day?
- How many leads can you self-generate each day?
- How many leads do you want?
- How much money do you expect to make this year?
- How much money would you like to make this year?
- How can you get from where you are to where you want to be?
- How can you get your team more motivated and committed to your goals?
Sales Coaching Tools
SMART Goals Exercise.
As mentioned, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound.
If you already have goals, see if they fit the SMART goals structure. If they do, consider how you can improve them or whether you achieved them. Did you come in over or under your target? Why? What could be better? How could you make your goal more targeted?
If you don’t have any goals mapped out, now is the time to start! Consider all your goals and write them down. You don’t have to use all of them. If they’re general, adjust them until they fit into the SMART goals framework.
Then, look at your current benchmarks. Are your goals achievable within those benchmarks? Do they need to be more challenging, less challenging, or are they right on track? How will you measure your progress to see if you’re on target to reach your goals?
The more you can map out, the better view of your current position you can see to make changes and adjustments as you formulate your strategy.
Self Evaluation Tools
Self-evaluation tools can be valuable to help you:
- Understand and build on your strengths
- Find room for job improvement
- Increase productivity
- Develop action plans and goals
- Identify areas for improvement
- Get what you want from your team
- Better your own leadership skills
- Know what actions to avoid in the future
- Discover areas for additional training and development
- Chart your progress over time
- Be as objective as possible about your performance
- Identify knowledge or skills gaps
For your self-evaluation, consider questions like:
How many times do you say “I” in a client conversation?
The conversation should be about them, not you. It’s not for your own self-esteem, but for you to learn about the client and what they need.
What percentage of a client conversation is you talking while they listen?
Again, if you don’t listen, you can’t determine what the client wants. Effective sales is about listening and seeing how you can help the client, which can’t happen if you’re doing all the talking.
What is “sales efficiency?”
Not sure? It’s about making a sale in front of you. A successful business comes from steady revenue, not “one-hit wonders” in sales.
How many sales have you walked away from to preserve the client relationship?
Trying to push a solution that doesn’t fit the client’s need just to fill a quota doesn’t build a long-term relationship. Find the right solution, and you’ll be rewarded. You may lose the sale, but you’re putting in a foundation for a strong business relationship with your customer.
What word is critical to building a successful sales brand?
Hint, it’s not “best.” You’re not trying to be the best, you’re trying to be the only one who does what you do. Words like “best” and “top” are aspirational and vague, not to mention that everyone says they’re the best. Everyone can’t be the best, or else everyone is average.
Do you ask clients how they feel about your interactions?
Clients may research and consider with their minds, but their emotions will guide some of their buying decisions. You want your clients to be emotionally connected to you. If they enjoy the process, that will drive future opportunities.
Which is the most effective tool to measure sales performance?
Sure, you can use tools to gauge your performance, but it’s best to ask the customer and include their feedback in your evaluation. Most people are happy to provide feedback and suggestions, so don’t be afraid to ask!
How did you do? Are you exceptional, or do you need to work on some things? This evaluation gives you a starting point to determine where you need improvement.
Eisenhower Decision Matrix
We briefly covered the Eisenhower Matrix, but let’s go into more detail and see what that looks like in practice.
The matrix is broken into quadrants:
- Do first: These are the tasks that are important for your business goals and need to be done today or tomorrow at the latest. Example: Reviewing an important document.
- Schedule: These tasks are important but not as urgent as the “Do first” tasks. Example: Organizing your documentation.
- Delegate: These tasks are non-mission-critical tasks and can be delegated to others. They’re urgent, but not as important. Example: Returning a call for a client.
- Don’t do: These tasks are tasks that you shouldn’t be doing at all. These are usually bad habits, like spending time on the internet or social media during work hours or procrastinating.
Here are some time management tips for the Eisenhower Matrix:
- Put things on your to-do list to free your mind, ensure everything gets done, and organize your time. But always question what really needs to be done first and what can wait.
- Try limiting your list to eight tasks per quadrant. If you feel like you need to add more, get the most important task done. You’re not collecting tasks, you’re finishing them.
- Always maintain only one list for your business.
- Do not let yourself or other people distract you. You are in charge of your own priorities, and when you’re finished, you can relax.
- Try not to procrastinate.
Sales Coaching Techniques
Role-playing is a valuable tool for showing sales reps the most effective ways to meet customers, respond to them, and close the deal. Unlike other sales training tools, role-playing is interactive and involves activity and peer pressure, improving the learning outcomes.
With role-playing, sales reps can advance through the levels to develop skills appropriate for their experience. Each advancement includes feedback and testing of their knowledge and comfort level. Once finished, each rep will be able to demonstrate a full range of selling skills.
Gamification is the strategic application of the different elements of game playing, such as competition, rules of engagement, and point scoring to enhance learning and engagement. During this exercise, each sales rep will get a report for the leadership team to see what skills need more reinforcement and coaching.
There’s no hard-and-fast rules for gamification. Each organization should have its own approach and tailored gamification program to reach its objectives.
Hotseat coaching is an approach to group coaching that involves tailored coaching with one sales rep while the rest sit and observe. This type of coaching offers direct feedback and enhanced learning through immediate application.
Whether they’re in the “hot seat” or not, each rep will take something away from the experience. They hear about challenges and can use them to work through their own struggles. And best of all, hotseat coaching builds solid trust between the team members to improve collaboration and culture.
Common Challenges in Sales Coaching
Not everyone on your team will be receptive to coaching. As the sales leader, you need to be able to recognize some of the most common challenges a sales coach might encounter and how to overcome them.
Uncoachable Team Members
Nobody wants to coach a know-it-all. If you’re a player, you probably don’t need much coaching. All you need is a pat on the arm and say keep going.
The key here is knowing what motivates your employee. Have a discussion and see what drives your employee, so you can make the coaching more beneficial and effective for them.
If your employee is truly uncoachable, as in constantly receiving feedback and not learning or growing from the experience, displaying passive-aggressive behaviors, or always putting blame on others, you may have some decisions to make.
Document the entire process, including times you’ve offered coaching or feedback, for human resources. While you want to do all that you can to get through to your employee, there may come a time when you need to cut losses and move on.
Resistance and Ego
Like dealing with uncoachable team members, sometimes it’s about the approach. If you’re dealing with a huge ego, it’s important to acknowledge the employee’s strengths and value, then reward and reinforce the positive behaviors. Don’t tell them that they’re wrong, try to guide them to the right behaviors.
If you’re encountering resistance because of an employee who’s unwilling to grow and change, go back to motivation. It’s important to understand their key motivators and drivers, which may be different than those of yourself or the rest of the team. You should also nurture confidence and accountability to get them invested in their development and role in your organization.
Lack of Commitment for Growth
Some employees are comfortable where they are and think it’s good enough, so they’re not committed to what they can gain and learn from their coaching experience.
If your employee feels like they’re on a treadmill, they won’t be committed or motivated. It’s important to build confidence and accountability. You can show your employee that they have opportunities for growth and investment, if only they get involved in the process.
Sales coaching should always be personal. Try to offer one-on-one sessions as much as possible and keep things consistent. With so many sales reps and teams, getting this individual time may be difficult.
You have other responsibilities and deadlines, but sales coaching is an important part of the puzzle. Move tasks around, block out time, and put in the one-on-one time to get your team where you want them to be.
Sales reps should value the coaching experience. They won’t get everything they can out of the experience if they feel like it’s a waste of their time. They need to see the purpose and how it connects to their larger goals.
Create a schedule and track the key points in each session, following up with numbers to show progress and goals. Once your sales reps see the value in the sessions and their progress, you’ll get better results.
Sales coaching will fail if it’s all general. Coaching should always be individualized and targeted. Each sales rep has a different problem, and you’ll waste your time and your team’s time if you offer the same coaching and lessons to everyone.
Keep coaching personal and individualized according to each rep’s strengths and weaknesses. This should form the basis of the coaching sessions.
Frequently Asked Questions on Sales Coaching
Let’s now answer some of the most common questions about sales coaching and sales coaches.
Who Does a Sales Coach Work For?
A sales coach is hired by any company or organization that wants to increase their sales through empowering their sales teams with the right tools, confidence, and training. A sales coach works within the sales department of a company and may work directly with the VP of sales, sales managers, team leads, and sales reps.
A sales coach may also work only with the higher-level sales leaders who then use their coaching to then coach those that are accountable to them.
How Do I Know if I’m Ready to Hire a Sales Coach?
If your organization is experiencing a downturn in leads, sales, moreale, and experiencing high turnover, you may benefit from a sales coach.
But, hiring a sales coach isn’t the fix-all method––your team needs to be committed to doing the work, and your organization must be open to having hard conversations, restructuring the sales department, and rebuilding your sales culture.
Where Do I Find a Sales Coach?
You can find a sales coach through a number of avenues. Your organization can post a listing on a job site such as ZipRecruiter or Indeed, or you could search for a sales coach on your own through LinkedIn or Google.
Does a Sales Coach Make Sales?
A sales coach does not directly make sales, but empowers the members of your sales team to do so. If you’re looking for someone to add to your team as a boots-on-the-ground salesperson, a sales consultant is a better fit for your needs.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that simply adding sales consultants to your team won’t fix any underlying issues within your sales team; adding more team members without strengthening the foundations will only result in more confusion and problems within the department.
It’s a good idea to find a sales coach to resolve the issues within your sales department before hiring more sales consultants.
What Does a Sales Coach Do All Day?
Sales coaching isn’t only asking the hard questions and giving advice to team members. Sales coaching is much more complex than that.
Sales coaches may work with clients all over the country (or world) in different time zones. The day starts early and may include a one-on-one management meeting with sales leaders or meetings with full teams, including account executives and leaders. These calls may include building a playbook, working on client profiles, call scripts, and more.
A typical day may also include meeting with other sales coaches to discuss outcomes and performance. This helps everyone stay on top of best practices and share in advice and ideas. Afterwards, coaches prepare for the next day and prioritizes the tasks that will need to be completed.
Is Sales Coaching Worth It?
If you run a business, you understand the power and purpose of investment. Because sales is the ultimate driving force for the success of your business, investing in a sales coach means seeing massive dividends in the form of more leads, more deals, employee retention, morale, and the overall success of your company.
To determine whether or not hiring a sales coach will be worth it to your organization, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my company experiencing stagnation or a drop in sales?
- Is my sales department functioning as a cohesive unit?
- Is employee retention dropping?
- Is morale at an all-time low?
- Can I walk into my VP of Sales’ office and tell them that we need to increase sales by 10% and have confidence that this will happen?
- Do I know what each member of my sales team is responsible for?
- Is there a system of accountability in place?
- Do members of my sales team have a clear roadmap to success?
- Are all revenue-generating activities being tracked and measured?
- Is there obvious room for improvement within my sales department?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, sales coaching will be worth it for your organization.
Can I Hire a Sales Coach to Coach Me on Closing?
Sales coaches can help with closing, but there’s more to sales than that. Everything is about building the foundation to close the sale, which may include sales training and tips, discussing areas for improvement, review techniques, and working on individual strengths and weaknesses.
How Much Does a Sales Coach Cost?
There’s a wide range of fees for sales coaching. Some may charge an hourly rate between $150 and $250, while others may charge a flat rate per month of $1,000 or $2,000. Some may charge a flat monthly rate of a percentage of new sales.
When you research coaches, you’ll learn about their fees to make an informed decision for your budget and your needs.
Your Sales Coach: The Difference Between Sales and Stagnation
Sales coaching is a vital tool to getting your team ready to close deals. It’s both an art and a science, and one of the most important components of sales management. With the right coaching, your team can gain the skills to close deals, boost revenue, and grow in their careers.
A Note From the Author, Anthony J. Conklin
Hi! My name is Anthony Conklin, and for the past fifteen years, I’ve been coaching and training sales teams to identify their strengths and weaknesses, overcome challenges and channel their focus into revenue-generating opportunities.
My core focus in sales has been working with solar sales teams, but I work with companies in all industries worldwide to develop high-impact sales teams and skyrocket close ratios.
My services include Fractional VP of Sales, Fractional Sales Manager, Fractional CRO, sales consultant, and, most often, sales coach.
If there’s one thing I can tell you from my years of experience in sales, it’s that organizations with a sales coach perform far better than those without. Sales coaching is the fuel on the fire of your sales teams, giving them the inspiration, motivation, focus, and tools they need to become powerhouse achievers.