Poor morale can contribute to a whole range of business issues, including poor productivity, low motivation and high turnover rates. In this post, we offer seven sales coaching tips, which can help you build morale and create a happy, motivated sales team.
1. Provide Individual Feedback to Each Rep
A significant part of sales coaching involves providing feedback. Employees need to know what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong and where there is room for improvement. However, in order to do this and boost morale, this feedback needs to be regular, constructive and tailored to individuals.
“For feedback to be meaningful it needs to [be]: 1) Timely; 2) Objective; 3) Accurate; 4) Individualized; and 5) Relevant,” says Barry Trailer, writing for CSO Insights.
Meet with your sales reps regularly and provide them with continuous feedback. Avoid only providing negative feedback and ensure that the feedback you are giving to individuals is true and relevant to them specifically.
2. Ask to Receive Feedback Yourself
Employees are always happier when they feel their views are respected and their insights are listened to. For this reason, feedback should be a two-way street. Try to encourage your sales team to provide you with feedback on the coaching being offered. After all, it is intended to benefit them, so their opinion matters.
The best way to do this is to use anonymous forms. They help to ensure that feedback is genuine and staff do not pull any punches. When you receive feedback, you should use it to reflect on what you are doing right and what you need to improve. Set the example and respond in the way you would want staff to respond to your feedback.
3. Create Individual Targets for Each Rep
Telling staff what they are doing wrong is one thing, but your sales coaching strategy needs to also set targets for your employees to work towards, in order to improve their sales performance. The best option here is to use the end of your feedback sessions to agree upon individual goals.
Crucially, any targets set need to be achievable, realistic and measurable. By ensuring this, you can turn genuine performance issues into challenges, and as team members rise to the challenge, they will build confidence.
4. Adopt a Formal Sales Coaching Approach
Quite obviously, for sales coaching to actually improve morale, it needs to be successful. Otherwise, staff will be receiving the same feedback over and over again, and feeling demoralised by their lack of improvement. It is, therefore, imperative that you adopt a formal, structured coaching strategy, where methods are outlined and sales managers are allocated specific time each month for coaching related activities.
Across the CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Optimization Study, average win rates stood at 46.2 percent. Companies adopting an informal sales coaching strategy barely improved on this, achieving 47.6 percent win rates. But those adopting a formal strategy recorded an average win rate of 51.5 percent – an 11 percent improvement.
5. Get to Know Each Rep’s Personalities
Another great technique for improving morale through coaching is to make sure sales managers and others involved in the process take the time to get to know their team as people. One option is to have your team take personality tests, so that you can get a basic feel for the types of people they are.
During staff training sessions, team bonding activities can allow coaches to get a better idea of what people are like away from day-to-day work pressures. Moreover, occasional staff parties and other social occasions can also be useful. When coaches know who they are coaching, they can better tailor their approach.
6. Recognise Individual and Group Achievements
A great tip for improving team morale through coaching is to take the time to recognize when individuals make a breakthrough in their personal development. This can range from taking sales reps aside to commend them verbally, all the way through to weekly or monthly awards and performance tables.
There is also huge potential here in terms of competition and gamification. There are mobile apps that can help staff track their performance in relation to their team. When a salesperson’s efforts are acknowledged, they are more likely to continue to put in the work to improve.
7. Allow Sales Reps to Experiment with new ideas
Finally, it can also be a good idea to encourage a degree of experimentation from sales reps when it comes to reaching their own targets. For example, the concept of social selling is gaining popularity, and while staff should adhere to internal social media guidelines, success in this area is based around developing a personal brand. To do this, there may be a certain amount of trial and error involved, and sales staff should feel able to try new things.
“To get out of the rut of ‘how we’ve always done it,’ it’s crucial to start experimenting with new ways,” says Jill Konrath, author of Agile Selling, in a feature for NextGen Leads.