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    How to coach your sales team effectively

    12 September 2016

    Business men having a meeting

    In today’s fast paced business environment, it is essential that you have a team of dedicated sales professionals behind you to help you to deliver on your sales objectives. As a sales manager, one of your first priorities is to build a sales team that is committed to your sales strategy and that is motivated to deliver on your targets. The key to building a sales team of this calibre is to coach your sales team on an ongoing basis.

    Determine your expectations

    According to this Knowledge Tree article, it is important that you clarify your goals and expectations to your sales team at the outset, so that they understand what you need from them. An essential part of this process is providing them with a support framework, within which to achieve these goals through sales coaching.

    Ask questions

    According to this Forbes article, the best coaches work with their people to understand the current issues and jointly diagnose what is working and what is not, as they develop an action plan to achieve sales objectives. When coaching their teams, sales managers should help their staff to reframe the issues they have been facing on the ground, by asking questions and offering constructive feedback on how to improve.

    According to Knowledge Tree, some useful questions a sales manager can ask include:

    • ‘What did the prospect say?’

    • ‘So what went well? What could have gone better? What would you have done differently?’

    • ‘Now what steps would you like to take?’

    Feedback

    By talking through specific encounters that your team member has had with a client, you can work with them to come up with an alternative approach, if the situation had not gone as they had hoped. 

    Equally, if the situation has had a successful outcome, the team member’s efforts should be commended, to provide positive reinforcement. Positive outcomes should also be discussed to identify why they went well, so that the team member can repeat this success again with future clients.

    Early stage deals

    According to this Forbes article, it is important to place a focus on early stage deals in sales coaching, as this is where the greatest opportunity lies in improving sales performance.

    Culture of trust

    One of the most important factors to sales coaching is the quality of the relationship between you, as the sales manager, and your team. If you are open in your dealings with your team and win their trust from the outset, they are more likely to be motivated to work well for you – and to go the ‘extra mile.’ This is particularly true if you take the time and effort to support them at each stage of their sales cycle. 

    Remember, it is much more cost effective to retain existing staff rather than going to the expense of trying to recruit and on-board a new hire. The key thing therefore is to build and nurture your sales team, through support and coaching on an on-going basis, to help them to deliver on your targets. This will hopefully prevent attrition in the first place.

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