We all know that sales coaching is a major part of a manager’s job. But in order for it to be most effective, the organization should be steeped in a total sales coaching culture. That might seem a bit vague – what, after all, is that a coaching culture exactly, and how do sales teams go about implementing it? Great questions – ones that we’ll provide some answers to in this blog.
Sales Coaching Culture Defined
Simply put, a sales coaching culture means that your entire organization is immersed in and dedicated to coaching up and improvement. From the new hires to the tenured reps to the managers and C-Suite, development and learning are central focuses. Another key component – coaching doesn’t operate only as a top-down structure. Instead, it’s multi-directional – including peer coaching, internalized coaching, and even bottom-up in some instances.
Sales Coaching Culture Implemented
Given the complexity and totality of sales coaching culture’s definition, it’s no surprise that the cultivation of such an environment will likewise involve a variety of initiatives and your whole organization in order to attain maximum ROI.
- Encourage and model self-learning.
One of the traits of top performers is that they’re constantly self-learning. Whether that’s books, podcasts, videos, blogs (like this one), etc., they stay current on the trends and best practices in sales, your industry, and those of your target markets.
As a sales leader in your organization, you’re ideally doing the same and can model those behaviors for your reps. If your team isn’t made of self-starters, you can help cultivate this by sharing material and discussing it in team meetings. You can also recommend specific books that align with your development objectives.
- Consider setting up mentoring links.
In many careers, new or relatively inexperienced hires are paired with veteran employees to help with training and on-the-job learning. It’s a strategy you can also employ. An added bonus to this approach – it may identify those reps who have the potential to be strong sales managers, rather than relying solely on top performer metrics (which don’t always translate to managerial success).
- Get input from the rest of the team on tactics they use that work.
No one is the single final authority on anything. Rather, it’s the amassing of shared experience and knowledge that advances skills and progress overall. So in your team meetings or even just idle office chat, ask reps how they handle certain situations or customer types. You might be surprised – maybe the woman you hired a week ago has a strategy she used with her previous employer that solves an obstacle you’re consistently running into.
- When possible, frame advice and tips in coaching as suggestions or exploratory questions rather than mandates.
Let’s say you see an opportunity for a rep to improve their closing techniques. Rather than say, “You need to do Y,” phrase it as, “What do you think about doing Y?”. In the first instance, even if the rep makes the change, they haven’t thought about it or taken ownership in it. In the second scenario, the rep is invited to think about the suggestion and how they might be able to apply it to become more effective. They’re also much more likely to consistently use your suggestion, rather than have to be repeatedly reminded as can happen if it’s a directive.
The shifts we’ve suggested here will help you establish a collaborative, organization-wide coaching culture that translates into greater engagement and learning for everyone – including you. And if you can use some of these to help select future managerial candidates, that’s even more investment in the long-term stability and success of your company.