How the Best Companies Develop a Sales Coaching Culture

You know how important sales coaching is. You’re painfully aware that without a comprehensive sales coaching program as part of your sales management strategy, you’re selling your sales teams short. You’ve even studied up on best practices of analytical, data-driven sales coaching and are confident that, tactically, you know what to do. There’s just one critical thing left to take care of:

Make sure that there is a committed sales coaching culture at your organization.

Sounds easy enough right? All you have to do is put in your sales coaching program and the culture will develop itself. Not so fast. All the best practices in the world won’t help you unless you have a dedicated sales coaching culture, where every individual is fully bought-in. To that end, here are some critical aspects of implementing a sales coaching culture that all the best companies adopt.

1. Discuss the benefits of sales coaching

The reason you want to have a clearly defined goal of what you want to achieve with sales coaching – and have this goal be communicated broadly to all your sales team members – is that you need full buy-in from your sales reps in order for sales coaching to work. Share statistics on how sales coaching substantially improves sales performance, and outline your vision that you want your sales reps to achieve similar results. The most important thing here is that your reps know specifically what they stand to gain by buying in to your sales coaching program.

2. Gain full commitment from sales management and top executives

Along with getting full buy-in from your sales reps below you, you also need to ensure that the upper sales management and C-level executives above you feel similarly about the impact of sales coaching. After all, you need their full support in order to be truly empowered with your sales coaching initiatives. Let your Sales VP know that at least 25% of your day-to-day time will be spent on this, and make sure they are OK with that.

3. Dedicate the time

Now that you have buy-in from your bosses and from your sales reps, it’s time to put sales coaching in motion. This means not just coaching once a month, or coaching extensively during specific training periods, but actually having a consistent weekly cadence of sales coaching for each of your reps.

Be mindful that not all your sales reps will require the same amount of coaching. Use the primer below to separate your sales reps by their skill level, the return on investment you’ll receive from each tier and the amount of time spent in each category:

Sales Skill ROI Time
Low Low 10%
Medium High 65%
High Medium 25%

Already-skilled reps don’t need that much time spent on sales coaching. Meanwhile, your weakest reps who need the most improvement isn’t worth as much of your sales coaching – without a substantial uptick in performance, they will hardly move the needle, and you might be better off replacing them.

4. Ensure you have the resources you need

Most people think of sales reps when considering the resources they need in sales coaching. In truth, it is sales managers that are typically most in need of these resources. The fact of the matter is that most sales managers are not well-versed in the nuances and best practices of sales training – don’t make that mistake! Throughout your sales coaching implementation, arm yourself with the training materials to teach yourself how to coach, as well as the tools necessary to reinforce these lessons.

5. Develop the appropriate sales performance metrics

Finally, no sales coaching culture would be complete without a full complement of the appropriate sales performance metrics in place. You need these sales metrics in order to track the success of your coaching results.

These sales metrics should be benchmarked against goals. For instance, let’s say one of your reps, Josh, struggles to convert at the Present Solution stage of the sales funnel. Josh can see where he is below the rest of the team’s average on conversion rates at this stage.  This way, he can constantly track himself and measure his own progress against the goal set by you.