Sales coaching is the action taken by the (sales) coach to improve the results of a team, in this case, the sales team. The person who carries it out, the so-called sales coach, is a sales manager or an external advisor to the company. His main task is to increase the performance of each employee to positively transform the results of the entire team or department.
Characteristics of sales coaching
- Continuity: It is not a one-day job, it is a process that takes several weeks and achieves long-term and short-term results.
- Individuality: although it is about increasing the results of a team, it is made up of workers, who are individual and independent people. The coach must work with each of them personally, detect their weaknesses and strengths, their shortcomings and then create a synergy with each of the individual cases
- Behavioural: the root of the study is the worker's behaviour. the coach focuses on the worker's habits to identify aspects to improve and others to abandon or maintain. it is about humanising work and remembering that whoever makes a profit is a human person and that any aspect, whether personal or private, behavioural or personal, influences the company's profits.
- Daily: as well as continuous, coaching should be daily, mainly for optimal follow-up, but also because, as mechanical as the work can sometimes be, it is not every day that employees are confronted with the same situations.
- Focus on skills: It is assumed that each employee has sufficient and adequate intellectual competencies to perform his or her job. However, each person has skills, competencies, that go beyond professional competencies. Thus, determining which employee excels in which skill and how these skills can be involved in the sales process is one of the tasks of coaching.
- Revealing to the employees the ultimate goal of the coaching, so that they can discover how to achieve the goal.
- Knowledge of the sales scenario (obvious), but it is worth remembering that the coach needs to understand its processes and methods in order to improve the team.
- Someone who is able to instil authority, confidence and motivation - these skills are essential, but at the same time, someone who is able to listen, as a large part of the sales coaching process is about listening.
- Weekly meeting for conversation. The conversation is very important as it allows the employee to give his or her point of view on the area. The feelings of the employees are discussed, among other things, as they influence the outcome of their work. Do they feel comfortable, insecure?
- Monitor and organise activities: The calendar is drawn up with the new goals in mind.
- Detect who stands out: A sales team is a team like any other, where symbiosis is beneficial for all, so we must try to detect who stands out to help the others
- Observe and listen: the coach should mimic some of the team's daily actions, to see how they organise and work, and thus be able to detect where to improve. For example, the coach can listen to meetings or calls made by workers, especially if these are carried out with someone outside the company, such as a customer, prospect, supplier.
- Analyse their words, their body language, their reactions....
- Observation and analysis is carried out throughout the buyer's journey .
- Workers are usually asked to introspect on what they did well and badly, where they can improve...
- Videotaping: get material that supports the coach's opinion and, above all, that the workers can observe, so that they can admire their work from the outside. A change of perspective is always useful. In addition, at a logistical level, it allows re-listening to what happened in the workplace so that they can increasingly pay attention to small details.
- Focusing on a case: sometimes, especially if it is a complex case, the coach can focus his work on a particular one: a difficult situation, a client burned some unfavourable punctual circumstances....
- Effects on results, but also on the internal structure and organisation of the company and the employees.
- Increase in the retention rate: that is, the percentage of workers that a company is able to keep in its workforce over a period of time. Losing a worker accustomed to the environment, the internal organisation and structure, the way of working, etc. is a loss for the business that goes beyond the worker's departure, not to mention the delay involved in hiring a new person without the same experience in the place and office as the previous one.
Therefore, the retention rate brings benefits not only in terms of human resources management, but also in terms of keeping employees on the payroll, eager to progress and take on new responsibilities. The employee, as a general rule, wants to continue to develop professionally and grow, and if they feel that their work is static and they do not discover anything new or face challenges, they consider leaving. Therefore, the pressure exerted by the coach agitates workers and encourages them to improve in their work, under the premise of better results. Furthermore, the appearance of the coach usually means a change that, in most cases, satisfies the need for novelty and challenge that workers feel.
- Mimesis of good practices: once coaching works with one employee, the rest want to imitate the incorporations and changes made in their work routine in order to improve themselves. The success of one moves everyone.
- Practice promotes learning. Companies devote part of their profits to training employees in the sales sector. However, these courses do not always have a numerical reflection in the company's results, because they are difficult to apply, or simply because they do not include a practical application in the training.
- Productivity and results: detecting weaknesses and promoting the strengths of a sales team, or any other department, translates, in the short and long term, into an increase in profits
Sales coaching has been proven to increase a team's results by up to 19% and is an example of some of the new tactics that marketing is implementing, which are much more human and dynamic. Although it may seem that there is only one way to carry out sales coaching, there are different types of coaching, such as the OCAR, CLEAR and GROW models.