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How do you coach effectively in sales?

La extravaganza coaching like in 'The Wolf of Wall street' is passable, but the era of screaming at the coworkers is over (lucky we).

Sales Coaching funny

Despite the pandemic, in 2022, there are modern and powerful ways to turn your sales team into sales superheroes (I promise this is the last movie reference). 

What sales coaching is

"Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential." - International Coaching Federation (ICF)

Sales coaching goals

  • to assist sales agents in developing their skills, knowledge
  • to learn the strategies and how to use them to improve results

You may ask if coaching is that effective to increase revenue. Well, let's have a look at some numbers:

  1. According to 'CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Study' businesses with dynamic coaching programs achieve 28% higher win rates.
  2. Sales Management Association claims that 'firms that provide an optimal amount of coaching realize 16.7% greater annual revenue growth.' 
  3. Companies that provide quality coaching can reach 7% greater annual revenue growth. - Business2Community

The stats can endlessly continue, but you got the idea. Coaching works, especially if you do it right. To make your sales coaching work, you need a strategy. A great way to build it is to use Root Cause Analysis, and it means first figuring out what stands behind the problem or challenge you have. Here, you can also read more about AI root cause analysis and Conversation Analytics software. 

Now let's get back to root cause analysis and the steps you need to take to plan your sales coaching right:

  1. Evaluate your sales team

Identify the top sales representatives in your team and define what leads to a successful deal. Using these materials, you can demonstrate the winning behaviors to other reps and coach them based on fundamental techniques that work specifically for your business. And the other way, you can quickly see who in your team needs help. Here are some primary stats/ KPIs to collect:

  • Total calls, chats, video meetings per Sales Rep
  • Effective time on calls vs. All time on calls
  • Revenue per Call by Sales Rep
  • Productive Calls - what is similar in them?
  • Low performing Sales reps - main areas of struggle
  • Collect playlists of the best examples for different parts of conversations: opening call, sales pitch, objection handling, call to action, closing
  • Share with the team!

Knowing these metrics, you will have a general understanding of who to coach, what issues these employees have, and at what point the coaching is needed. The KPIs will also highlight the TOP salespeople in your team and the materials that can be used as coaching examples. 

2. Analyze the data

The amount of generated data even by one sales agent is enormous. There are about 3 hours of check-up calls per sales agent every day. Imagine that there are about 15 hours of audio per one agent per week, making it 60 hours per month. If you have even a small sales team of 10, there would be 600 hours of audio material per month. 

600h of call recordings to listen = 75 days * 8 h a day
AI Speech Analytics makes it instantly - right after the call

And don't forget about other types of communication with clients like chats and Emails. Ideally, you have to analyze all communication to uncover the problems or missed sales opportunities. 

At this point, we highly recommend applying AI technologies, specifically AI speech analytics, to accelerate the data analysis and get objective results.

If you do not have access to speech analytics, we advise observing your sales team in action. For example, you can manually collect similar behavioral patterns among your top salespeople and then use them in your coaching. On the contrary, listen to your newbies, find common mistakes, and correct them.

One more way to do it manually is to interview the tops and find out: 

  • what their success recommendations are 
  • what would be the main obstacles on the way to closing a deal

Gathering this information will allow you to create different scenarios that can happen when talking to clients and the ways to move in the right way in every situation.

3. Provide feedback

According to Andy Elkind from Nice "feedback is not coaching since it's often perceived as criticism." Well, we have a different experience. Feedback is an integral part of coaching processing to present team and individual results and suggestions for improvement. 

Preferably the feedback should be handed over as soon as possible. The operational flow of sales reps is usually fast and intensive, and in most cases, they would not remember when and why the issue occurred. Thus best to light the problematic areas until they are easy for agents to recollect. And try to consider every rep's character and personality when providing the feedback. 

You can also use AI-fueled technologies to provide feedback faster and more constructively. Ender Turing solution for agent coaching allows you to easily link your comment to the specific part of the conversation, Email, or chat message to supply your employee with an immediate practical example. Sometimes it can function as a great reminder of what and when the specific situation in the interaction occurred. 

Hard not to mention the significant shift to remote work, when the feedback can only be provided online, making AI tools irreplaceable in sales and customer support teams. Additionally, AI speech analytics will offer you the potentially problematic areas worth your attention and might need some improvements, which reduces hours of manual assessment. 

Following these few steps is the right way to build your coaching sales strategy. Then all you have to do is constantly update and improve it. Oh, and permanently coach your teams. Yes, this is a never-ending process since the best reps are those who always learn.

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