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Sales coaching - the fundamental guide

  • Sep 23, 2023
  • 6 minutes

What is sales coaching?

In sales coaching, sales leaders mentor and guide their teams with questions and advice to improve understanding, autonomy and performance. Often supported by conversation intelligence platforms, the process should identify areas for improvement including the number of questions asked to prospects, adherence to frameworks, the speed at which reps talked and their talk/listen ratio.  

Both new and experienced sales professionals can benefit from coaching, just like the world's most elite athletes have coaches. While leaders can and do play an important role, coaching can take a variety of formats.


What are the benefits of sales coaching?

Sales coaching is known to result in business and individual benefits.

Organizations that implement regular sales coaching often see improved win rates and reduced sales cycles, as reps' skills and performance improve progressively over time. Coaching that focuses in on key sales skills like discovery, relationship building or objection handling leads to increased rep confidence, heightened market understanding and improved sales metrics. 

But there are also indirect revenue and performance metrics that will see a boost from sales coaching. Regular coaching has been seen to improve employee motivation, autonomy and job satisfaction which reduces employee turnover and absenteeism.

The results have been seen in businesses across industries, geographies and markets.

Three Jiminny employees working in an open-plan office


Sales coaching types and techniques 

There are three main formats of sales performance coaching; self-coaching, peer coaching and manager-led coaching. Conversation intelligence (CI) has an important role to play in all three types, as it provides a platform that transcribes and analyzes sales calls, highlighting data on what has gone well and what hasn’t at specific points in sales calls. This helps pinpoint areas that need coaching, where you can leave comments and qualitative remarks to learn from.



Self-coaching involves a team member listening back to their own call recordings, identifying and reflecting on their areas for improvement and creating an improvement plan for themselves.

The key to self-coaching is to approach it objectively, with an open mind and balance. Individual sales reps who spend just 3-4 hours per month listening back to sales calls tend to improve their win rate by 5.5%, so self-coaching alone is a great coaching technique to start with.


How to start doing sales self-coaching

Step 1: Record and review

Use sales call recording tools like Jiminny to capture your sales interactions, including phone and video calls, in-person meetings, and emails.

Step 2: Objective analysis

Listen to your recorded sales interactions with an objective mindset. Pay attention to your tone, language, rapport-building techniques, and adherence to sales frameworks.

Step 3: Identify areas for improvement

Reflect on your performance and pinpoint specific areas where you can enhance your skills or strategies. If you can use a framework to benchmark against, that will give you the perfect objective measure, or your conversation intelligence platform can do this for you. This could include things like refining objection handling techniques, improving active listening skills, or mastering product knowledge.

Step 4: Set SMART goals:

Based on your analysis, set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals for improvement. For example, aim to increase your conversion rate by 10% within the next quarter.

Step 5: Practice and implement:

Actively practice new techniques or approaches identified during your self-coaching sessions. Incorporate feedback from previous interactions into your sales strategy to continuously refine your approach.

Step 6: Regular review

Schedule regular self-coaching sessions to track your progress towards your goals using your conversation intelligence tool. Celebrate successes and adjust your strategies as needed to stay on track towards sales excellence.


Peer coaching

This technique involves coming together within a team to discuss sales calls and highlight areas for improvement. It’s a collaborative effort, all done in the spirit of helping each other. 

There are many ways to go about this. Some teams will share call recordings with each other for review, while in others, individual reps will share specific points in a call and ask peers for feedback.  


How to start peer-to-peer coaching for sales

Step 1: Establish trust and respect

Create a supportive environment where team members feel comfortable providing and receiving feedback. Emphasize the value of constructive criticism and mutual growth.

Step 2: Share call recordings

Exchange call recordings with peers for review and feedback - and don't just pick your best calls! Encourage open dialogue and constructive critique to identify areas for improvement.

Step 3: Provide specific feedback

Conversation intelligence tools often have features where you can leave coaching feedback directly in a call recording at a specific time, which will help make your feedback as relevant as possible. When providing feedback to peers, be specific and actionable. Focus on strengths and areas for growth, offering concrete suggestions for improvement.

Step 4: Practice active listening

Actively listen to feedback from peers with an open mind, seeking to understand their perspectives and insights. Embrace opportunities to learn from each other's experiences and expertise.

Step 5: Collaborate on solutions

Work together to brainstorm creative solutions to common sales challenges or obstacles. Leverage the collective knowledge and expertise of the team to enhance individual and group performance.

Step 6: Foster accountability

Hold each other accountable for implementing feedback and executing action plans. Encourage regular check-ins and support each other in achieving shared goals for sales success.


Manager-led coaching

Manager-led coaching is often a one-to-one or small group session between a leader and their team members. 

The coaching is interactive, with both the leader and individuals reviewing what went well and what needs improvement and should focus on a limited number of topics or criteria.


How to start coaching as a manager

Step 1: Establish clear expectations

Clearly communicate performance expectations and goals to your team members, outlining key metrics and benchmarks for success.

Step 2: Schedule regular coaching sessions

Schedule one-on-one or small group coaching sessions with each team member to review performance metrics, discuss challenges, and set development goals.

Step 3: Provide constructive feedback

Offer timely and specific feedback on both strengths and areas for improvement, focusing on actionable steps for growth. Use data-driven insights and real-life examples to illustrate key points.

Step 4: Tailor coaching approaches

Recognize that each team member may have unique strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. Adapt your coaching approach to meet the individual needs and preferences of each sales professional.

Step 5: Empower through development

Provide opportunities for skill development and training, whether through formal workshops, peer mentorship, or self-directed learning initiatives. Encourage continuous growth and learning within your team.

Step 6: Track progress and celebrate wins

Regularly monitor the progress of your team members towards their goals, celebrating achievements and milestones along the way. Recognize and reward exceptional performance to reinforce positive behaviors and outcomes.


Areas to coach in sales coaching

Sales coaching encompasses a wide range of topics and skills designed to enhance sales effectiveness and performance. Consider coaching sessions focused on the following key areas:

  • Prospecting and lead generation: identifying and qualifying leads, leveraging various channels and strategies to fill the sales pipeline.
  • Sales communication skills: including active listening, persuasive language, and rapport-building strategies.
  • Objection handling: addressing common objections and concerns raised by prospects, overcoming resistance, and moving the sales process forward.
  • Sales presentation skills: creating and communicating compelling presentations and demonstrations that resonate with prospects, highlighting value propositions and addressing customer needs.
  • Closing techniques: effectively closing sales opportunities, overcoming objections, and securing commitments from prospects.
  • Relationship building: nurturing long-term relationships with clients and prospects, fostering trust, loyalty, and repeat business.
  • Product and industry knowledge: deepening your rep's understanding of products or services offered, as well as industry trends, competitive landscapes, and market dynamics.
  • Time management and organization: techniques for managing time effectively, prioritizing tasks, and optimizing productivity to maximize sales outcomes.
By addressing these topics through targeted coaching sessions, sales professionals can develop a comprehensive skill set and mindset conducive to sustained success in the competitive sales landscape.


How to measure sales coaching success

Measuring the effectiveness of sales coaching is crucial for assessing its impact on overall sales performance and identifying areas for improvement. Consider tracking the following key metrics:

1. Sales conversion rate: Measure the percentage of leads or prospects that convert into paying customers, specific to each rep.

2. Average deal size: Track the average value of sales deals closed by individual team members or the entire sales team. Coaching efforts should lead to an increase in average deal size over time.

3. Sales cycle length: Monitor the length of time it takes for leads to progress through the sales pipeline from initial contact to closure. Effective coaching can help streamline the sales process, reducing cycle times and accelerating revenue generation.

4. Customer satisfaction scores: Gather feedback from customers to gauge their satisfaction with the sales experience. Higher satisfaction scores indicate that sales coaching efforts are translating into positive outcomes for customers.

5. Employee engagement and retention: Measure employee engagement levels and turnover rates within the sales team. Effective coaching can contribute to higher levels of job satisfaction, engagement, and retention among sales professionals.

By tracking these metrics over time, revenue and sales leaders can evaluate the impact of coaching initiatives, identify areas of strength and weakness, and make data-driven decisions to optimize sales coaching efforts.
Female Jiminny employee working in shared working space in London

Top Companies that implement regular sales coaching

With the endless list of benefits of sales coaching, it's no surprise many world-renowned companies demonstrate a commitment to regular sales coaching and professional development initiatives:

  • Salesforce, a global leader in customer relationship management (CRM) software, Salesforce is renowned for its comprehensive sales training programs and ongoing coaching support for sales professionals.
  • IBM offers extensive sales enablement resources and training programs to empower its salesforce with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in today's competitive marketplace.
  • HubSpot provides a wealth of sales coaching resources, including online courses, certification programs, and coaching sessions tailored to the needs of sales professionals at all levels.
  • Amazon prioritizes continuous learning and development for its sales teams, offering comprehensive coaching and mentorship opportunities to support professional growth and performance excellence.
  • Microsoft invests heavily in sales coaching and development initiatives, providing its salesforce with access to tailored training programs, coaching sessions, and resources to enhance their effectiveness in driving business outcomes.
  • Google emphasizes a culture of ongoing learning and development, offering sales coaching programs and resources designed to equip its sales teams with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in a dynamic and competitive market environment.
  • Cisco provides comprehensive sales training and coaching programs to enable its salesforce to deliver exceptional customer experiences and drive revenue growth across its diverse portfolio of products and solutions.
  • Adobe prioritizes sales coaching and professional development, offering its sales teams access to training programs, coaching sessions, and resources designed to enhance their skills, knowledge, and effectiveness in driving sales success.
By learning from the best practices and experiences of these top companies, organizations can glean valuable insights into effective sales coaching strategies and approaches, driving continuous improvement and success within their own sales teams.


Let's take it up a notch. Check out our Fundamental Guide to being a great sales coach here. 


Shelley Lavery is the COO and Co-Founder of Jiminny, the leading conversation intelligence and sales coaching platform that helps companies maximize their revenue. With over a decade of experience in coaching B2B sales teams, Shelley was previously Group SVP of Sales at Reward Gateway now leading the conversation intelligence discussion with expertise and insight.

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