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Experts Share The 9 Characteristics of Top Sales Coaches

Revenue Blog  > Experts Share The 9 Characteristics of Top Sales Coaches
3 min readJanuary 9, 2020

Coaching is a critical ability for sales managers to have because of its significant impact on sales performance. In fact, CSO Insights found that a dynamic coaching process improves win rates by 28% and quota attainment by 10%. It’s not just about the program though. Top coaches have certain characteristics that make them (and their teams) successful. We gathered together insights into what these characteristics are from some of the top coaching experts. Read on to see what they had to say. 

They Make Time

According to the Center for Sales Strategy, winning sales coaches set aside time to do so. Although sales managers have many demands on their schedules, top coaches understand that growing and developing their salespeople takes a consistent investment of time. With this time, they look for coaching opportunities and find what needs to be improved.

They Collaborate

The Sales Readiness Group said that salespeople are more likely to listen and change their behaviors when they feel like they’re part of the process, as opposed to being told what to do. This makes one of the essential qualities of effective sales coaching a collaboration between sales managers and salespeople to co-create and implement plans for skills improvement. Collaboration also allows room for valuable input from the reps themselves, and provides opportunities for peer-to-peer coaching. 

Always Seek Improvement

Jill Konrath believes the most successful sales managers are incredible coaches. Their entire focus is on helping each of their team members to consistently improve their skills. Sales managers who realize their own success depends on the performance of their reps are constantly looking ways for them to improve their effectiveness, to speed up processes, and to increase their overall success.

They Stay Focused

According to SalesGravy, the best sales coaches only discuss one thing in each conversation. This allows for clearer, more productive coaching conversations. These discussions are also very specific, ensuring actions are understood and taken. Each individual clearly understands what they are working on, as opposed to having multiple moving pieces that can become confusing and demotivate reps.  

They Are Observant

Keenan feels that great coaching starts with observation.  The best coaches spend time on the sales floor, watching demos, and listening to calls. This enables the effective identification of behaviors, techniques, and approaches that require improvement. The outcome will be an accurate coaching plan.

They Have Compassion

Richard Harris of SalesHacker believes that sales managers need to pay attention to the emotions involved when coaching. When they coach their reps with compassion, they will earn their team members’ respect. The result is a sales team that will do anything for you, gives 110% effort, and produces superior results. Understanding reps on a personal levels also allows successful coaches to align their reps goals with their personal motivations. 

They are Enablers

According to Jacco VanderKooij of Winning by Design, coaches must become enablers to be effective. He believes that coaching is best performed by guiding team members through various self-learning exercises such as show-and-tell, role-play, and listening to, or discussing, recordings.

They are Always Prepared

Sales Benchmark Index believes that preparation is one coaching activity that separates average coaches from great ones. It’s critical for sales managers to prepare before meeting with each rep. They need to know what was discussed in the last meeting, what the rep’s pipeline looks like, and how the team member is progressing with their individual development. This can be accomplished by checking your notes, reviewing current metrics, and listening to call recordings.

They Put Everyone on a plan

Typically the top 20% and the bottom 20% of a sales team receive the most coaching, according to Anthony Iannarino. This happens because the bottom 20% aren’t producing results and the top 20% are making things happen. The problem with this is that the middle 60%, who would most likely reap great results from coaching, don’t receive any. If you coach everyone on your team, your overall team results will be that much better. So, you really should put all your team members on a plan, regardless of their current level of performance.

If you’re striving to be a top sales coach, you should consider taking on these characteristics suggested by top sales coaching experts. They will improve the quality of your coaching and your team will produce better results too!