Why is sales coaching important?

Goodlord’s Chief Commercial Officer is here to point you in the right direction.

In June we staged our first Sales Confidence conference at HereEast, in London’s Olympic Park. We called it SaaSGrowth2018. We had over 200 SaaS professionals in the audience, watching more than 30 of London’s foremost SaaS experts share their knowledge. Even if you couldn’t make it, we want to share the inspiration and education with you through our SaaSGrowth2018 articles.

Tom Glason

‘What do you need to do to be the very best leader in your business?’ was the title of one of the afternoon sessions. We were excited to welcome 5 amazing leadership experts to the SaaSGrowth stage to talk about how to run teams. One of them was Tom Glason. Tom is CCO at Goodlord, changing the game in property rental. A graduate in Sports Psychology, Tom likes to apply the principles of sports performance to sales. It’s no surprise that coaching is one of his areas of expertise.

Coaching is essential

Tom started by emphasising the importance of coaching to a successful sales team.

‘Coaching is really really important for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if you have millennial reps in your sales team, they’re often really hungry for personal development. They’re some of the most coachable people you will find. They don’t stick around long anywhere, but they especially won’t stick around if you don’t give them enough personal development. Coaching becomes a win-win. You get well-trained reps, and you get to beat the competition.’

‘Secondly, growth. 7 well-trained reps are better for growth than 10 average ones. That’s because of the lower cost base and higher productivity. Plus, it’s better for morale.’

Hat-tip to Jacco vanderKooij for that last insight! But it’s true. Great coaching can have an effect across your whole organisation.

Coaching with impact

After showing us the importance of coaching, Tom shared some tips on how to make sure your coaching has impact.

‘Mark Roberge in his book ‘The Sales Acceleration Formula’ talked about this. Create inspectable sales stages in your CRM. There needs to be clear exit criteria for that stage of your sales process in your CRM. Exit criteria could be a demo with an economic buyer, for example. It’s either happened, or it hasn’t. Use data and software to track conversion rates. Compare your reps and see where the problem points are. Those problem points are coaching opportunities. They highlight where to spend your time.’

‘Second point. Focus on a single skill. When you’re learning a skill, you can only compute so much at once. It amazes me how we bombard sales reps with feedback. Nail down what will have the biggest impact on their performance, then move on to the next one.’

‘Finally, create skill certifications and scoring. Codify your sales process. For example, create a certification around discovery calls. Say what ‘good’ looks like, be clear about how you get a good score. It’s a valuable tool for onboarding as well as coaching.’

Coaching culture

For Tom, it’s essential to make coaching part of the everyday routine for your organisation. Create a culture of coaching.

‘One of my values is the growth of the team. How do I walk the walk on this?’

Tom offered 3 tips.

· Invest in a coaching platform (such as Refract or Jiminny)

· Encourage peer-to-peer and group coaching

· Put coaching on the calendar — and stick to it!

When you do all these things, coaching comes naturally, and you get to reap the rewards.

Over to you

Over to you now. What are your tips for effective coaching in your sales team? How do you create a culture of coaching? Let us know in the comments below.

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