What Is Effective Sales Coaching?
You may have a vision of ideal sales coaching sessions: the trainer relays product updates and cutting-edge tactics. The students absorb the information and can immediately practice it through one-on-one simulations. The trainer takes copious notes, provides feedback and suggestions throughout the simulation, and then offers an insightful, objective assessment immediately afterward. The trainer knows what to teach the salesperson next to enhance their skills and see the most considerable effect on monthly quotas.
But in this idealized imagining, you may have only imagined that star trainer reaching one salesperson at a time or maybe a small group. If you switch out that human trainer for an AI one, you get precisely that same result every time for every salesperson in your organization. Let’s take a closer look at the role AI-based platforms can take in helping your organization achieve that ideal sales coaching scenario, the key objectives to aim for in sales coaching, and what to prioritize.
How Does Effective Sales Coaching Look?
Today’s most effective sales coaching is done with the help of an AI platform that can create customized lesson plans, provide real-time feedback, and build up robust profiles of each employee’s training logs, learning scores, and developing skills. Here’s a more specific look at what effective sales coaching should look like:
- Salespeople want to complete more lessons: You know that learning resources are effective when salespeople keep going back to them for more lectures and practice simulations. The time they invest matters: sales reps can see an average win rate of 43% with just 30 minutes of sales training a week, and that skyrockets to a 56% win rate with at least two hours of training a week.
- The lessons are practical, emphasizing practice: Effective coaching looks different from a classroom, with lectures, quizzes and notes. Instead, it highlights the practical application of skills. The more your sales team can practice conversational skills, granular tactics, and negotiations in simulations (especially without testing it on real clients), the better.
- Salespeople buy into the program and feel motivated: Effective sales coaching feels like a buzz of excitement. You want your teams to be energized and eager to try new ideas, not disillusioned and bored. This leads to better performance and keeps your teams invested in their work and your company, improving overall culture and employee retention.
- The feedback is objective and actionable: People don’t like being criticized and graded, especially when it doesn’t help them. Instead of tying training to performance reviews or having training managers give sales reps sporadic feedback that’s too vague, prioritize training processes that give salespeople actionable advice and recommendations. Ideally, they’ll have that feedback as soon as possible after a practice session.
- You have valuable insights behind the scenes: Effective sales coaching doesn’t just provide better sales results. It proves that it allows for better sales results. Just like you use conversion rates and close/win metrics to forecast growth and evaluate quarterly performance, you need sales coaching tools that provide quantitative feedback so you can assess growth and predict your sales reps’ enhanced capabilities.
What Effective Sales Coaching Doesn’t Look Like
Poor sales coaching is terrible for business, and perhaps you can list multiple reasons: poor conversion rates, low revenue, and overall poor sales performance. But the problems extend beyond that, with Spotio finding that “As much as 60% of sales reps say they’re more likely to leave their job if their manager is a poor coach.”
Poor coaching comes from personality clashes, wrong or insufficient information, and bad tactics. These are all things you’re much more likely to see with traditional sales coaching practices. But traditional sales coaching falls short of what you can achieve with modern AI sales coaching, and here’s why:
- There needs to be more time: Even if they spend all their time providing coaching, sales and training managers can’t keep up with AI and software-based learning.
- Traditional coaching is subjective: Even with training managers having the best intentions, it’s impossible always to be objective. Human trainers will always have preferences for specific tactics and styles, and there will always be distractions that affect their focus or mood.
- It could be more motivating: Salespeople want to learn and improve to streamline their career paths or to reach bonuses. But group sessions, remedial coverage they don’t need, and infrequent one-on-one sessions aren’t very motivating.
Related: Crucial Metrics You Need to Include in Your Sales Team Evaluation to Measure and Track Performance
The Importance of Sales Coaching in 2023
While effective sales coaching is crucial for businesses anytime, the sales world is gearing up to prioritize coaching and learning even more in 2023. The Sales Management Association found a 16.7% increase in annual growth occurred when companies invested in providing the right amount of coaching. More specifically, the right sales coaching can help your organization achieve these three crucial objectives:
Use the Most Effective, Efficient Sales Tactics
One of the smartest ways to grow your business is to prioritize a higher conversion rate. This tackles inefficiencies from two angles: first, your MQL and SQL teams will double their efforts on hotter leads that align more with your business’s needs rather than wasting time on cold calling and cold leads. Return customers, for example, are far more likely leads than new markets.
Secondly, your salespeople must use the most efficient tactics to win sales. This requires fewer missteps, the ability to hone in on customer pain points, and knowing how to circumvent delays and hesitations on the customer’s side. AI-enabled training platforms allow sales reps to train new tactics and conversation points repeatedly until the delivery is just right and they know how to reach a deal with your most common buyer types.
Build Up Your Team’s Conversational IQs
Conversation is king in today’s B2C and B2B worlds because building rapport and relationships matters. If your business is in a crowded market, then customer service, pleasant sales calls, and rapport will make your brand stand out in a friendly way. This is great for penetrating new markets and holding on to recurring business—but only if your salespeople are good at conversing.
The right AI sales coach can create a conversational IQ measurement for salespeople. They can do this by establishing a baseline score, measuring dozens of granular components that make up conversational skills and then aiding your salespeople in upskilling on each essential element. Not only does this make conversation a measurable quality, but it becomes one your team can measurably improve on.
Improve Company Culture and Employee Buy-In
Other objectives may come to mind when organizational leaders think about sales coaching goals. Still, it’s more vital than ever in the aftermath of the Great Resignation and a job seeker’s (rather than a job provider’s) market. When salespeople don’t receive motivation, personalized growth opportunities, and the tools to grow their skillsets (and income), they look for those elements elsewhere. Superior training opportunities fulfill those needs with:
- Personalized learning tracks that target an individual salesperson’s learning needs rather than defaulting to entry-level material
- Transparent and objective feedback that isn’t poisoned by politics or subjectivity
- Coaching that makes a measurable difference in their selling abilities
- Convenient, consumable lessons that just take five to ten minutes, allowing them to see results without taking time out of their day
Related: How to Win More Quality Sales Opportunities with the Right Sales Performance Platform
Prioritize These 4 Elements of Effective Sales Coaching
Finding the perfect training solution can be challenging. Still, you can simplify the process by searching for sales enablement software that uses AI to create personalized learning courses for each of your salespeople. As you shop around for different platforms, make sure you prioritize these four crucial elements of effective coaching:
Today’s salespeople incorporate technology in every process, from organizing their contacts and strategies to outreach tasks. Sales coaching should take place on the same platforms and channels as most of their work. AI coaches can provide phone simulations, instant messaging simulations, and email evaluations to gauge performance and growth.
2. Individual Control
Let salespeople learn at their own pace. This wasn’t possible with human-provided coaching: training sessions happened when and if they were scheduled. But with personalized lessons through an AI platform, the coach is always available, and salespeople can complete tasks whenever they have a slow moment. This convenience makes it much more likely they’ll use the training in the first place (a vital prerequisite to effectiveness). Also, you and other organizational leaders can gauge interest and motivation: which employees take advantage of the tools and demonstrate ambition?
3. Simulations and Practice
Good sales coaching allows unlimited practice and refinement. With an AI-based online platform, salespeople can run through simulations repeatedly until they master a technique, and then they can move on to the next simulation. This makes excellent sales tactics a matter of habit.
4. Clear Data
Prioritize platforms that provide salespeople with transparent, immediate feedback, but ensure you get insights. Effective sales coaching should give managers and leaders the information they need for employee reviews, hire forecasting, and internal promotions.
Transform the Sales Coaching Process With Quantified
Quantified.AI is the superior sales coach you’ve been looking for. Our AI-powered sales coaching and sales enablement platform are built to supercharge learning by giving each salesperson in your organization a custom learning plan they can complete on their terms. Contact us today to schedule a demo and learn more about what effective sales coaching can do for your organization in 2023.