How to Be a Great Sales Coach

To be a great sales manager you have to wear many hats. Whether you like it or not, one of those hats should identify you as the sales coach. Coaching a sales team can be an arduous job at times – and getting the most from your reps is often easier said than done. You’ve got to manage multiple personalities and bend your behavior to meet the needs of your team.

Despite those and other inconveniences, studies have found that effective sales coaching can have a monumental impact on operations and significantly increase both productivity and profitability. More specifically, a study conducted by Bain and Company discovered that sales managers who spend time regularly coaching their teams exceeded their goals by seven percent, boosted revenue by 25 percent and increased close rates by 70 percent.
Here are some ways to be a more effective sales coach and turn your reps into cold-blooded sales machines:


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Aim High

“The only time I set the bar low is for limbo.” – Michael Scott of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, Inc.

 Aim high - sales coachingThe Office’s Michael Scott may not have been the world’s best boss, but he always believed there was nothing that his team couldn’t accomplish. He believed in his colleagues’ abilities and was allergic to complacency.

While hearing motivational sales speakers say things like “Shoot for the stars” and “Dream big” may make you cringe, it’s true that setting lofty (yet attainable) goals is often part of achieving serious results. Although you don’t want to put unnecessary stress on your sales team by expecting it to reach ridiculous quotas, you definitely want to challenge reps and keep the bar set high.

Motivate Your Team

What do famous sports coaches like Phil Jackson, Mike Krzyzewski, Nick Saban and Mike Ditka have in common? They’re all excellent motivators.

When you look at these coaches, each has his own unique personality and takes a different approach, but the result is the same – championships. Phil Jackson took a calm, Zen-like approach, while Mike Ditka was much more smash-mouth and in your face.

Regardless of their styles, they were master motivators and knew how to get their players fired-up so that they exerted maximum effort.

Although coaching athletes and sales reps are different jobs, the task relies on similar dynamics – and having the ability to motivate is often at the heart of success. That’s why it’s important to spread your passion and enthusiasm and do whatever it takes to keep your team motivated.

A Great Sales Coach Gets the Best from His Reps

Everyone in your team has his or her own specific strengths and weaknesses. Part of being a great sales coach is playing to the strengths of your team and assigning them tasks that put them in a position to thrive. You’ll also want to take individual personality into account because this, too, can influence your approach.

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It’s equally important to determine each rep’s development potential and work diligently to help him or her maximize that potential. For instance, you might offer additional training or create a personalized development plan for your “diamond in the rough.”

There’s definitely a correlation between being a great sales coach and having successful sales reps. In fact, research from a sales coaching study found that 46 percent of respondents rated coaching by the sales manager as one of the most effective ways for reinforcing new sales skills.

By maximizing your own abilities, and being a better coach, you can directly impact the rest of your team and bring about tangible results for your company.


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