Sales coaching is most effective when a formal, well-defined coaching approach is implemented. CSO Insights even found that organizations with a random or informal sales coaching strategy attained win rates below the average of 51.8 percent. While coaching is critical for continuous performance and productivity improvement, it must be a regular, ongoing process.
Obviously, sales managers area already extremely busy. But sales coaching is one of the most important actions they can take to drive improved results and increase rep productivity. There are many ways to incorporate coaching activities in your routine on a regular basis, but they need to be scheduled so they actually occur. These activities include team meetings, live or recorded call reviews, peer-to-peer coaching, and rep one-on-ones.
One-on-ones are an essential element of any effective coaching model. They facilitate the core of individualized coaching on a routine basis. These sessions ensure that each person on your team receives the guidance and actionable feedback they need to improve.
For best results, one-on-ones should follow a set format or template consistently to encourage an ongoing coaching conversation with each rep. This predictable routine increases trust and aids in the development of a strong coaching relationship and results in steady growth. Not only that, a structured approach is easier to follow and aids in the development of the habit of individual coaching. Plus it ensures that each and every session is productive and focused. But, what do these sales coaching templates look like?
Example Sales Coaching One-on-One Agenda
Having a template to follow for each one-on-one simplifies the planning and the performance of each session. This format makes the most of every minute while covering all the necessary points. Obviously, each company’s sales process and the resulting template will be slightly different, but this example gives you a starting point for creating yours:
- Starter question to find out how the previous week went from the rep’s perspective and to discuss the status of previous action items.
- A review of last week’s performance based on key metrics and specific activities such as number of calls made, emails sent, demos completed and more. This may present some coachable moments.
- Problem solving and assistance with specific situations as identified by the rep. These may also include ones suggested by the manager. This may be deal coaching or a brief strategy discussion.
- Request input of what the manager might do to better support the rep.
- Sales rep development discussions, reviews and exercises. This may include listening to a specific one of the rep’s call recordings to highlight a weakness or area where improvement is needed. Then some actionable feedback can be discussed and a brief role play may be used to practice how to better handle the situation, improve pitch or handle a particular objection. Excellent call recording examples may be suggested for review by the rep between sessions as well for them to hear how more experienced reps handle the same situation.
- Review next week’s goals and expectations to keep priorities and targets for selling activities front of mind.
- Agree on action items to be completed by both the coach and the rep. These should be put in writing, with due dates assigned to each, and confirmed in an email or on a shared Google doc for easy reference. At the start of each one-on-one session, progress or completion of these items needs to be discussed, thus continuing the coaching conversation. This takes the coaching full circle.
- Follow up should happen between individual sessions. This may take the form of an email from the manager inquiring how the rep is progressing or asking if they need further assistance with a particular situation. It acts as a bridge over the gap from one one-on-one to another.
A few guidelines
Here are some guidelines to optimize the quality of your one-on-ones:
- Schedule 30-60 minutes every one or two weeks for each session. The actual length and frequency you choose will depend on how many direct reports you have. Consistency is key, so plan what works best.
- Ask open-ended questions to encourage the rep to talk. The sales rep should do most of the talking while the sales manager listens.
- Both you and each rep should prepare in advance so you aren’t wasting valuable time figuring out what to discuss.
- Remember, this is not an interrogation, it’s an opportunity for you to check in on each rep’s progress, to continue the coaching conversation and for each rep to request assistance or discuss challenges they’re facing.
- Avoid interruptions by muting your phones and closing unnecessary applications, helping you to focus entirely on the rep being coached and the discussion at hand.
Leveraging this type of sales coaching template for your one-on-ones makes it easier to incorporate these sessions into your team’s routine. Have you customized an agenda for your individualized coaching yet?