Behind every winning team is a great coach. The same is true for winning sales teams. When a sales leader invests deeply in the development of their team, their reps deliver amazing results.
This revelation caused TJ Waldorf, Vice President of Inside Sales and Marketing at SingleHop, to redesign his role as a sales leader, “Anyone in a management role within a sales team should act as a coach,” he said. “This individual should pay close attention to the mechanics of the game, and in this case, the game is selling.”
With the state of play in sales changing at a rapid pace, reps need continuous coaching for long-term growth and high performance. The goal of sales enablement is to give sales reps better access to the information they need to convert leads into prospects and prospects into winning sales. A good coach utilizes a playbook of strategies to help sales reps become—and remain—a valuable player. TJ, like many other leaders, acknowledges that effective sales coaching is an essential component of a sales enablement plan. Here are four tactics that every Hall of Fame sales coach should put in their playbook.
Start with sales training camp
It’s pretty clear when a team hasn’t trained for a game. Sales enablement training equips sales teams with top-notch sales skills, product knowledge, and business acumen. As a coach, it’s important to identify productive training sessions that will benefit your team.
TJ and the SingleHop team hold training sessions and workshops focused on their product, selling process, and tactics. “We discuss real-life scenarios versus theoretical or higher-level strategy conversations,” he said. By using specific scenarios that the sales team has encountered, a coach can provide tangible actions and steps to overcome the hurdle. For example, if a customer says they don’t have time to talk, the coach might help the rep streamline the process for the prospect.
In an effort to maximize sales performance and drive productivity, training should be a recurring strategy in your playbook. Businesses tend to focus on training when a sales rep first joins the team. While this is important, it’s also ineffective. Ongoing training gives sales coaches the opportunity to share important details on new products and services with reps—and provide feedback in real-time. This provides players with actionable steps toward continuous improvement.
The will to prepare is vital
Unfortunately, endless amounts of practice won’t make a sales team perfect. But it can make everyone prepared. Avid preparation is a common thread between a sports team and a sales team. As a sales enablement best practice, coaches should stress the importance of preparation for every interaction that a sales rep has with a prospective buyer.
TJ recognizes that this is a big challenge for many sales reps, “A prevalent issue among sales reps is the lack of preparation. From knowing what questions to ask a buyer to identifying the information that needs to be uncovered during a call—it’s all about making sure they are prepared to show how our team, product, or service adds value to the customer.”
A great coach also provides sales enablement content to promote preparation. Consider empowering your sales team with helpful tools that offer competitive research and analysis, case studies, and other collateral. This content is helpful during conversations with prospects and existing customers alike.
There’s no I in team
Sales is a team sport. Unfortunately, many sales reps tend to operate as lone wolves. The best sales teams work together towards a common goal—winning in the market— and they look to the coach for expertise. Just like in sports—a great sales coach identifies strengths and weaknesses among sales reps, helps them improve their skills, and pairs them with other teammates to learn and grow from. By working together, reps are more likely to make the right move in a sales call.
“I compare a sales representative to a quarterback,” stated TJ. “They need to know when to make the right call, when to bring in reinforcements, and how to align with the entire team on the buyer’s side.”
As with any team, it’s important to have players with diverse skill sets. This fosters an environment of teaching and learning for the entire sales team. The unique talents, perspectives, and experiences of each rep or sales leader are essential components for a winning team.
Review game tapes
A team doesn’t keep winning by doing the same thing over and over—other teams would simply mimic their playbook and hope for the same outcome. As clients, competitors, and services change, a sales coach—and the entire sales team— must modify their sales enablement strategy accordingly.
“Sales teams should constantly be looking for new skills that would be beneficial to learn,” TJ shared. “It shouldn’t be just the sales manager that brings new ideas and resources to the team.”
One technique for continuous improvement is to review sales calls—both those that resulted in wins—and losses. By reviewing calls that went well, players gain first-hand knowledge of best practices. Reviewing ineffective calls as a team provides examples of tactics to avoid and keeps reps motivated to improve in the future. This is just one sales enablement example that will help sales reps become team players—and close more deals.
While all these tactics are worth adding to your sales enablement playbook, it’s important to remember that sales coaching isn’t about one championship game. Instead, the best sales leaders create a sales enablement culture that breeds a winning team, season after season.
Add Lessonly to your sales team’s playbook
Winning sales teams use Lessonly to tackle new rep onboarding, increase sales productivity, and enable their reps. Our online training software provides all of the tools needed to empower your sales team. Take the next step with a self-guided tour today.