Sales call coaching – Getting the most out of every sales minute
Sales Call Coaching – going together to customers is a great coaching tool
Sales call coaching means visiting customers together with the purpose of receiving feedback and improving sales skills. It is on-the-job-training for all of us, regardless of position or role. It is a vital part of the continuous development for the whole sales organisation. It is a tool for sales professionals to learn and develop while getting to know each other better by sharing knowledge and experiences.
As a sales manager, you need to sharpen your coaching skills to do this well, but when done well, it is an invaluable input for later when you hold more general performance evaluations. Do this live in customer situations, and not by interviewing the sales person. Discussing and coaching on activities and quality of work is not realistic nor trustworthy without continuously observing and studying behaviours in real-life situations.
Sales call coaching is your best tool to get a first-hand feel for sales behaviour. You should consider doing this with all customer facing personnel, inside sales, product specialists, and account managers. We all need to develop self-awareness and understanding of how our behaviours affect the outcome in customer situations.
Why should all managers coach on sales calls?
The first line sales organization aims to provide increased customer value. To ensure sales reps can perform in line with this and provide this increased customer value, sales management needs to change and provide added value for reps. Sales call coaching is a key tool to achieve this.
Doing sales calls with reps will help managers in the following ways:
- Continuous improvement towards a world-class sales team!
- Benchmark successful behaviors
- Train and ensure product knowledge among sales reps and other customer-facing team members
- Develop sales skills in all staff
- Find out how sales reps spend their time
- Obtain good ideas for benchmarking and best practice
- Ensure value sales is applied professionally
- Gather information from the market
- Practice and improve yourself in difficult negotiations, meeting key customers, etc.
- Get to know staff better and further improve teamwork
Download - How To: Sales Call Coaching
Evaluating and giving feedback on different customer interactions in the sales process require different skillsets of the manager. Sometimes we may even need to work on multiple roles at the same time, in complex multirole meetings selling as a team.
Sales directors and higher management should also make an effort to find the natural opportunities to visit customers, together with their sales reps and managers, in order to help them become better at what they do. For the manager, this is coaching the reps.
Aim to spend at least 2 working days per week in the field. Some of the visits can be virtual, but make sure you apply a mix of different types of meetings and situations so you coach and support all phases of the sales process.
Sharpen your skills evaluating reps and coaching for all situations!
If planned and executed well, this work should not take more than half our week.
Download - Sales Call Evaluation template
What to look for
You should pay attention to basic sales process situations and how different tools and sales situations and parts of the meeting (see example below) are applied.
Different steps of the pipeline sales process require different skills. See the evaluation template for inspiration. Adapt the template depending on what type of meeting it is that you coach. How is the sales rep performing in different situations? Notice when they are doing the following:
- Attempting to open new parts of the business with a focus/growth customer
- Cross-selling on higher levels of the management of key accounts
- Applying value selling to increase share of wallet in already well established accounts
… etc. etc. The examples are infinite. Select the situations to train and coach according to your tactical needs, and go for it!