6 Essentials for Successful Sales Coaching

By Stuart R. Levine

In a sales team, success is the sum of its parts. One star performer can’t carry the ball alone. So the coach has to raise the effectiveness of average performers and know how to maintain peak performance in sales superstars. The sales manager who practices great coaching will maintain an edge against hard times. When the manager can provide the information, training, and motivation salespeople need, the team will be on its way to a victorious season. Here are six essentials for successful coaching.

1) Establish personal goals. To maintain productivity and customer relationships, it’s imperative that you show your salespeople how to focus on long-term relationships with customers as they reach incremental goals along the way. Help each of your team members develop a long-term sales plan with weekly, monthly, and quarterly targets and activity plans. Then use group or one-on-one sales meetings to evaluate their progress and address questions or problems.

2) Discuss team objectives. Your salespeople need to set goals for themselves, but they also need to know how their personal goals fit into the companywide picture. Establish clear-cut team goals for your salespeople, and make sure they know how these goals help the company meet its objectives. Make sure each of your team members understands how he or she contributes to the success of the entire team and company.

3) Hold your team and each member accountable for goals. You don’t have to threaten your team members to remind them that they’re responsible (to you and to one another) for meeting the goals they set. Instead, inspire their best effort by reminding them of their importance to the team and company. Tell them you’ll hold them accountable for succeeding because you have faith in their ability to get the job done. To track your team’s progress and identify problems before they grow, review each salesperson’s activity plan weekly.

4) Be supportive. Meeting sales goals is a team effort, and you’re an important part of that team. You can’t make the calls for your salespeople, but you can give them every chance to succeed by providing your support and guidance. Remind your salespeople that you’re on their side, and that you’ll be available to help them in any way you can. If you’re going to hold your salespeople accountable for meeting their goals, you have to hold yourself accountable for helping them.

5) Listen to your team. When a salesperson comes to you with a problem or question, listen before you make suggestions. Open communication between you and your team enhances the entire team’s performance, including yours. Also, your team members will be much more receptive to what you have to say if you show them the same courtesy.

6) Share and recognize progress. It’s always motivating to see the results of hard work, so share your team’s progress with them. Be creative. Design an attention-getting way to record and display sales results and other measurements of your team’s success. When your salespeople don’t quite measure up, let them know, and then discuss possible solutions to the problem. Be sure to recognize all the individual achievement that adds up to outstanding team performance.

If every salesperson on your team gives 100 percent, 100 percent of the time your team will walk tall. When the team walks tall, customers fall in line.