You know the formula for sales coaching: observation, feedback, and motivation. But what if you took that formula beyond the typical conversation format to provide employees with individualized learning opportunities? The needs of your sales force are changing, and it’s time to go beyond traditional sales coaching to provide them with the training and development they really want.
Coaching conversations are good, but we can do better. Today’s sales enablement and training tools make it possible to act on those conversations in new and innovative ways. While it sounds daunting to provide unique learning pathways for all of your coachees, the right platform makes it as simple as a quick search and a few clicks to create an assignment. The result? Everyone on your sales force is proactively taking action to specifically address their pain points and grow their skills.
Your coaching should deliver on the promise to support your team to total sales mastery. Let’s dive into how to take your sales coaching to the next level.
1. Make Professional Development Personal
Why is it so important to rethink how we coach? Organizations perform best when their people are in a growth state, and that means empowering employees to constantly learn and develop their skills. It’s easy to walk away from a sales conversation without taking any action. When you make professional development more personal, you’ll give team members specific tasks that address their concerns and help strengthen their weaknesses. Content is a powerful tool for directly targeting what they need to know at exactly the moment they need it.
Think of it this way: in a traditional coaching session, what would you do when an employee says she’s struggling with taking her project to the next level? You might listen to her, offer your perspective, and coach her through some strategic thinking to get unstuck. Often, there are no specific action items and some coaches don’t even take the time to follow up.
Let’s reimagine the role of a sales coach. What if you provided extra accountability by assigning her individualized learning after your conversation? An inspiring podcast to encourage critical thinking, a useful article with relevant case studies, and a quick video assignment to help her apply what she’s learned. You’ve just taken the impact of your coaching session to the next level.
Remember, personalized professional development works best if your organization’s leaders have the right training tools at their fingertips. If they’re stuck rummaging through sales collateral in a filing cabinet, it’s not a realistic ask. Instead, provide coaches and managers with tools designed to support employee development. Look for tools that provide searchable multimedia content, mobile eLearning, and video practice. That way, it’s easy to create learning assignments that pinpoint exactly what your reps need to know.
2. Be Proactive About Social Learning
Sales coaching is all about enabling your reps to be successful—sometimes that means calling for reinforcements. Your coaching conversations lay the groundwork for success, and following up with content and learning assignments helps them cross the finish line. More organizations are turning to social learning to enrich the sales coaching experience. Social learning is all about leveraging your workforce knowledge through peer interaction, mentorship, and knowledge sharing. In fact, new research suggests that around 70 percent of learning comes from action, not formal training courses. That means it’s more important than ever to embrace social learning as part of your coaching process.
So, where does social learning fit into the equation? It’s not about replacing traditional sales coaching, it’s about making it even better. Social learning is a great way to increase accountability and expose reps to multiple perspectives. Leverage social learning by finding ways to facilitate peer interactions online—think video practice, giving and receiving feedback, and sharing valuable resources. That way, your sales reps can easily collaborate with more experienced sales reps, even if they’re too busy to meet in-person. Because you know your reps’ needs best, try assigning individualized learning activities—like video practice with another rep—that address their specific strengths and weaknesses.
3. Deploy On-Demand Assignments
OK, so we keep talking about the importance of coaching through content — what does that look like in practice? The idea here is to support the conversations you’re having with materials to help reps grow. Using coaching plans and assigning content boosts accountability and helps cultivate well-rounded sales professionals. And it doesn’t have to be time-consuming for the coach or the coachee. Micro-learning moments can make all the difference in a rep’s success: a podcast, a quick eLearning course, or a collaborative video practice can help educate and support sales teams when they need it most.
We all want sales reps to excel in their roles, but in reality, it can be difficult to find the time to get them there. A new report from ATD and MindTickle, Sales Coaching: Building a Successful Sales Force, found that the top barriers to effective sales coaching are scheduling conflicts and time constraints. Sales coaches are busy, and they simply don’t have time to create and curate learning opportunities for the entire sales force. Plus, we know that a one-size-fits all approach to learning doesn’t work.
That’s why your sales coaches need to be equipped with the right tools to make on-demand assignments and content sharing easy. In fact, the report also shows that organizations with better sales performance are the same ones that provide sales coaches with training or resources. These organizations are more successful because they equip coaches with resources like on-demand tools, articles, live sales coaching training, and a coaching framework.
Ready to rethink how you coach your salesforce?
That’s where Loop comes in. Loop is the sales training and enablement platform for total sales mastery.Learn more!