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Want to Start Sales Coaching? Here’s What the Experts Have to Say.

4 min readJuly 19, 2018

Sales coaching is an incredibly effective way to increase the performance of your sales team. It boosts sales effectiveness by improving your reps’ sales abilities on an individual basis. Implementing sales coaching can seem daunting, but when you break it down piece by piece, starting one can be simple.

We recently created a new ebook to help you design and implement a sales coaching program at your company. In order to make it as comprehensive as possible, we reached out to some of the top sales leaders for their input. Here are their tips for building a sales coaching plan:

Bill Borzage

Founding Partner, Bryant Stibel

Great sales coaches emerge when business leaders create a safe, learning-focused, and entrepreneurial company culture. This is the type of environment which attracts and develops sales leaders who ask, ‘What more can we do to help the whole team win?’ as opposed to attracting sales managers who say, ‘Let’s just do what the boss says.’ They don’t simply focus on quota attainment to scale the business and increase ROI; they emphasize regular sales coaching to develop the true potential of their team. When this type of culture is not ubiquitous, companies can spend thousands (even millions) of dollars on external training which ultimately may not generate the expected ROI that ongoing coaching can yield.

Bottom Line:

In order for sales coaching to be a success, you must develop a company culture of learning and growth that supports the coaching process. A sales coaching program where employees are just told to coach will not be successful. The must be invested in coaching, development, and growth.

This qualitative factor impacts your quantitative measurements as well. You can spend thousands on external training, but turning those dollars inwards and spending them on coaching instead will create a greater ROI.  

Richard Harris

Founder, The Harris Consulting Group

Sales coaching begins during the interview process.  Give them homework and see if they can complete the task… Training is often the content of what should be learned, coaching is the context as it relates to your business.

Bottom Line

Sales coaching is not a separate process that happens parallel with other activities. Coaching should be woven into your hiring, training, education, and feedback activities as well. Connecting sales coaching with your other programs actually enhances their effectiveness, it provides a mechanism for application and feedback.


Download Now: Start a Successful Sales Coaching Plan Tomorrow


Norman Behar

Managing Director, Sales Readiness Group

Sales coaching where a manager owns the plan is not going to be successful. To be truly successful, the coach and reps must own the plan together. A sales coach with six different reps does not want to own six different plans. Instead, the manager and each rep should co- own their personalized coaching plan. To do this, always begin coaching with a discussion and assessment so there is an agreement on the skills you’re going to coach on.

Bottom Line

Sales coaching is a two-way process, which both the reps and managers need to own, it should never be solely driven by the sales manager. When both parties are involved, in ensures that they both receive what they need from coaching. It also is significantly more efficient for reps to own part of the sales coaching process when they are a member of a large team.

Olivia Bodnar

Director of Sales, Snowflake Computing

The way you coach is as important as the what when it comes to coaching. You’re approach should aim to both change behavior as well as establish trust and confidence within your team. To that end, your coaching should not just be a “don’t” statement telling someone not to do something — it should contain some context for why and actual real world examples of a better version. Show them that desired state in action.

Bottom Line

Just having a sales coaching program is not enough. During you one-on-one and group sessions, you must ensure you are coaching properly. When you need to modify behavior, you should not just deliver a “don’t” statement.  Instead demonstrate why something may be ineffective, and instead provide the correct way to do things.

Max Altschuler

Founder & CEO, Sales Hacker

With conversation intelligence companies blazing a path in call recording and analysis, it takes the data that coaches have at their disposal to a whole new level of insights, allowing them to coach in ways never before possible.

Bottom Line

To round out the ebook, discusses where sales coaching will go in the future. Thanks to incredible advancements in technology, we now have the ability to analyze what is actually said during a sales call. This means that coaching can happen at a massive scale, with AI actively surfacing key coaching moments, allowing a manager to work reactively, and identify a potential problem before it costs sales.

Learn more from the experts, as well as see how to implement your sales coaching plan in our ebook.