What Does Effective Sales Coaching Look Like?

Posted: September 17, 2018 | By: Craig Eggleton

All sales leaders should be coaching 50 percent of the time.

You heard that right. 

And when people hear that number they freak out and say, “there is no way I have enough time to coach my people.”

But the fact is, unless you yourself have a personal quota to hit, it’s your duty as a sales leader to coach and grow your people, and ensure the company is delivering top-line results.

Effective Sales Coaching: Team Meetings

Coaching takes shape in many different ways. The first way is one-to-many: the weekly team meeting.

The structure of each weekly team meeting should be a standardized process. You should review the group’s goals as a whole, where the team stands, and successes. I always structure team meetings around wins, losses, opportunities, and lessons learned.

If the team as a whole had a big win, you discuss lessons learned, how the deal was won, and unpack the takeaways from it. You should also perform an autopsy on lost opportunities and figure out where we went wrong in the process. Did we miss the target market? Did we target the right decision makers? Did we follow our standardized sales process? Or are we skipping steps?

We also want to review our numbers as a team. Closed account goals. Revenue goals. We must consistently review those and have them visible to the team. Not making your numbers visible is like going to a football game and the scorecard doesn’t work.

The team meeting should be once a week. No more than an hour. Any longer and you are killing your people.

Effective Sales Coaching: Weekly One-On-Ones

I suggest requiring each rep to bring in a hard copy of every opportunity he or she is working on. Fifteen minutes of the meeting should be reviewing those opportunities and advising the rep as a coach.

At the same time, the meeting can’t just be about the numbers. You should also be getting to know the rep, motivating him or her, and understanding and forwarding the rep’s personal goals.

Where a lot of managers lose is track is that they forget the person across from them is a human being. The best people and the worst people will always be the first one to leave a boss. Keep things as positive as possible and offer constructive coaching.

Effective Sales Coaching: Daily Touches

Finally, we have daily touches of some sort. At Enterprise, we used to run ‘hot laps’ with each employee - a quick daily touch where we asked a rep if there was anything we could do for them.

Struggling employees are typically afraid to come to you and ask for help. Your top reps typically just want to be left alone. So it’s important to reach out, offer help, and leave it at that each day.

Hot laps force you - as a leader - to ask your reps what you can do for them. To be visible. To let your reps know you are highly engaged.

Effective Sales Coaching: Pre and Post-Call DeBriefs

Pre and post-call debriefs must happen in some shape, form or fashion before any real meeting.

Pre-call debriefs don’t have to be super involved. They just need to go over the basic blocking and tackling of the call. ‘Are we meeting with people in our ideal target market?’ ‘What’s the goal of the call?’ ‘Are we meeting with real decision makers?’

The post-call debrief is to ensure there are clear, concise takeaways and next steps. It might be as simple as, ‘there’s no heartburn, it’s a bad lead.’ These debriefs are typically no more than 5 or 10 minutes in length (unless it’s a call deep into the sales process, with a big account, with multiple decision-makers, and the need for additional subject matter experts). I also ask that the rep bcc’s me on every follow-up email and that the follow-up occur no less than 24 hours after the call.

Effective Sales Coaching: Performance Development

A monthly performance development meeting is a recap of what happened earlier in the month. It’s not a one-on-one, it’s a session dedicated specifically to performance improvement and hard coaching.

How Sales Leaders Create Time to Coach

It starts with the onboarding phase. Managers set a ‘sacred’ time to meet with reps and go over how they are doing. Craig also asks that his reps schedule a weekly one-on-one with him and be proactive about how they are doing. He believes in having reps schedule their own time for psychological reasons.

Especially during monthly performance development meetings, Craig uses a very simple outline.

  • Where are you today?
  • Where do you want to go tomorrow?
  • How can I help you help yourself get there?

Regarding the last piece, you need to be careful that coaching doesn’t become enabling. Meaning: your reps dump everything on you and managers believe they have to do everything for the rep. The manager should not be in charge of doing things for the rep; he or she should be in charge of helping the rep be self-sufficient.

Book Time with Craig Eggleton

Sales Bullpen CEO Craig Eggleton has helped industry-leading organizations and startups optimize their sales force. Get in touch with Craig and implement the following in your sales organization:

  • Sales Health Check
  • Sales Evaluations for deeper analysis
  • Sales Mindset coaching and training
  • Sales skills training 
  • Sales development modules
  • Sales management coaching
  • Sales person coaching
  • Sales recruitment

Thanks for reading the Bullpen Blog. Contact Craig to give your sales force an edge over the competition.

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