What Is Sales Coaching? (Types, Benefits and Techniques)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Sales managers oversee teams of sales representatives who engage customers and support the organisation's sales objectives. They can use sales coaching or training to inspire professional development among sales representatives, increasing the likelihood of them achieving their sales goals. Learning about sales coaching and knowing how to implement it can help you improve team performance and boost sales. In this article, we define sales coaching, list the different types of coaching, examine its benefits, outline sales training techniques and provide some useful tips.

What is sales coaching?

Sales coaching or training is the process whereby sales managers support the sales teams or employees to improve their performance and increase sales. Coaching creates an inspiring environment that enables sales representatives to excel, motivate each other and ask questions. Successful sales training is relevant to the individual, iterative and inclusive. Organisations engage sales managers and coaches to ensure training reinforces positive behaviour and supports the improvement of the team's techniques and skills.

Sales coaches can use data to monitor the performance of individual sales representatives to determine areas for improvement and reinforce ideal practices or behaviour. They can develop coaching programmes that enhance confidence by providing them with the skills and tools they require to succeed. This can create an environment for success, empower employees to develop and have an impact on the team's success. They typically use a sales training plan comprising an onboarding plan, high-level goals and a check-in schedule. While sales managers prioritise the sales department's performance, the sales coach prioritises individual performance. A sales coach can:

  • supervise a sales agent as they engage customers on a call and discuss their strengths and areas to improve after the call

  • review and improve the sales team's systems and tools

  • coordinate training presentations and experiences

  • plan frequent meetings with sales representatives

  • answer questions about sales or the team's performance

  • review how a sales agent engages with clients by email and advise where they can improve

  • shadow a sales representative's meeting and provide feedback

Related: What Does a Sales Representative Do? Definition and Examples

Types of sales training

As a sales coach, you can use various approaches when coaching sales representatives, including:

  • Strategic coaching: This involves analysing pipeline, territory and performance data to gain insight into a sales representative's strengths and areas that require improvement. You can discuss the data with the sales agent and formulate strategies to influence their behaviour.

  • Observational coaching: You can observe sales representatives as they sell products or services. You may provide feedback and suggest how they may improve their skills and performance.

  • Motivational coaching: You can motivate the sales team and representatives with personal motivating factors, such as sales goals or the desire to provide good customer service.

  • Athlete-centred coaching: You can train sales representatives and teams through practice, repetition, challenging objectives and feedback. This practical approach can help to remove ingrained habits that can derail the sales process.

Benefits of sales training

The following are some of the benefits of training sales teams:

Enhances understanding

Sales training can help sales representatives understand various strategies, tactics, processes and practices. Showing them how to approach different scenarios can enhance their decision-making. You can teach them how to manage client interactions and different aspects of the sales process, such as negotiating and providing good customer service. Developing their understanding of the sales process can improve the customers' experiences, enhance the employee's job satisfaction and increase the company's sales revenue.

Related: Decision-Making Skills: Definition and Examples for Leaders

Increases sales

Sales training can increase sales by improving the way that sales representatives handle the sales process. As a sales coach, you can observe employees during a sale and show them skills and techniques to enhance their performance. Assessing sales records and other data after training can also help you understand which approaches yield the best outcomes. You can look at the practices currently producing average results and improve on them, thereby increasing the organisation's sales.

Related: Top 20 Sales Skills: Definitions and Tips for Developing Them

Facilitates collaboration

You can pair employees so that they learn sales practices and strategies from each other. Similarly, you can ask a sales representative who attains their targets to share their ideas and practices with the team. Other members of the team can discover ways to improve using these real-life stories from those who've succeeded when handling similar roles. You may also consider grouping employees and encouraging them to collaborate to reach their shared objectives.

Promotes effective habits

As a sales coach, you can provide guidance to sales representatives on creating and maintaining effective habits. When you consistently teach specific practices and actions, employees can develop habits that assist their sales performance. For example, continually reminding sales agents of the greeting for calls can help them remember it when they engage with clients. Effective sales habits can result in the organisation selling more products or services and achieving its sales objectives.

Related: The Importance of Training Employees (With 11 Benefits)

Improves customer service

Sales training can help sales representatives understand how to sell products or services. You can teach them ways to engage with clients that may persuade them to buy a product. Your training may include, for example, welcoming clients, listening to their views, identifying their requirements and providing them with what they need. This can improve customer service and increase the likelihood of clients buying goods or services. Satisfied customers may also recommend the business to friends or family, further enhancing the organisation's sales.

Related: What Is Good Customer Service? Definition and Guideline

Sales training techniques

Depending on the sales team's structure, there are various techniques that you can use to assist your coaching:

Establish trust with the sales representatives

Sales training may have better outcomes when there's trust between the sales coach and employees. When you value the sales team and listen to their feedback during coaching, they're more likely to follow your guidance. It's important to build a good relationship by being honest, fair and respectful.

Hold frequent one-on-one meetings

One-on-one meetings allow sales representatives to discuss areas they want to improve, expectations and goals. This interaction enables you to understand each member of the team so you can develop a coaching plan that optimises their performance. Asking questions helps you understand their views, performance or problems. You can also empower them to seek solutions for any challenges they may face.

Share knowledge across the sales team

Sharing knowledge across the sales team can improve each member's performance. For example, hearing how a sales representative has succeeded may inspire colleagues to try a new approach. Similarly, encouraging employees to share ideas and suggestions can help the team improve existing processes.

Use data

Data can demonstrate the outcomes of various approaches. You can then maintain the successful approaches and improve on the ones that are underperforming. Data can also reveal how individual employees are performing. As the sales coach, you can tailor the training to suit the various categories of employees. For example, you can alter the programme to suit top performers and develop more comprehensive guidance for employees that are underachieving. Data can also highlight the programme's success, earning you the respect and support of management.

Related: Coaching Techniques in the Workplace (With Examples)

Tips for sales training

It's helpful to consider the following tips when you implement sales training:

  • Create a formal training cadence and structure. A formal programme can encourage buy-in from management and ensures that you and the sales team are accountable.

  • Ask questions. It's a good idea to let sales representatives guide the coaching session. You can ask questions to help you understand the sales team and listen to their views.

  • Reinforce training with training materials. Provide employees with training materials to reinforce the training, such as videos, books or audio recordings.

Explore more articles