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Sales Managers, Are You Doing Your One-on-Ones Wrong?

3 min readAugust 21, 2018

Still only coaching your team to their pipeline? If so, you’re missing out on the benefits of consistent sales coaching. It’s not unusual for lead and opportunity coaching to be confused with a complete coaching program. Sales pipeline reviews are not the same as 1-on-1’s. What’s the difference between the two and why does it matter?

What is a Sales Pipeline Review?

Sales pipeline review is a meeting type as well as a meeting component. The purpose of each determines when and how it should be conducted. There are three basic types: one designed to help sales management with forecasting, one that’s focused on group sales coaching during team meetings, and one that’s a component of 1-on-1 meetings for sales coaching purposes.

RingDNA Sales Pipeline ReviewSales Forecasting Pipeline Review

When the purpose of your pipeline review is sales forecasting, you need to simply focus on the likelihood and timing of deals closing. All too often these conversations become intertwined with team coaching and it’s important to keep them separate. Otherwise, you risk singling out individual reps in front of the entire group and potentially damaging your relationship with a team member.

Group Sales Coaching Pipeline Review

Group sales coaching during weekly team meetings can also be a form of pipeline review. In this case look at the overall health of your team’s pipeline and how to best win opportunities. This approach helps individuals advance specific sales while the entire team learns strategies and techniques to move deals through their pipelines. This approach leads to stronger overall sales performance.

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What is a one-on-one coaching session?

Your one-on-one sales meeting should be all about sales rep performance. It’s time that you reserve weekly or biweekly to meet with each individual team member. You should spend this time getting to know your reps, understanding their specific strengths and weaknesses, and giving them guidance on how to advance their careers. This is where you can truly develop your trusted coaching relationship with your sales reps. During this valuable meeting, discuss what’s working, what’s not going well, where the individual is getting stuck, and what they think they should be doing differently. You should also check in to find out how your rep is doing personally and what one thing you can do to support their growth until your next meeting with them. A very brief sales pipeline review is a component of an effective one-on-one. The purpose here is to help your rep with any particular deals that are stuck and to coach them on weaknesses that you’ve identified when reviewing their pipeline ahead of each session.

Prepare for a Productive Coaching Session

Not only do you need to conduct coaching sessions on a consistent basis, but both you and your reps should come to these meetings fully prepared. You don’t want to waste this valuable time trying to figure out what to discuss. Review key performance metrics for trends and to identify priority coaching opportunities in advance, to make the most of your one-on-one time. Reviewing call recordings will also provide you with valuable insights for tracking performance improvements and identifying new coaching priorities. Plus, if you have your rep submit a recording in advance that they want to discuss, you should listen to it prior to their one-on-one so you’re ready to provide actionable feedback as well.