Council Post: 4 Ways To Enhance Your B2B Sales Coaching


Oscar Chavez is an industry leader invested in turning sales & marketing into profit. Founder of Growthly Group & The Boardroom Chairman.

B2B sales coaching is critical not just for the success of any firm, but also for achieving exceptional growth. However, B2B sales coaching is frequently easier said than done, especially for sales managers.

While the value of coaching is widely acknowledged, many B2B sales managers struggle to put it into practice. Sales managers, who are responsible for driving sales success, should possess the expertise to provide their sales agents with effective B2B sales coaching—but this is not always the case. In this article, I’ll outline four strategies B2B sales managers can leverage to enhance their sales coaching program.

1. Ensure psychological safety.

During B2B sales coaching sessions, sales reps may feel uncomfortable disclosing their issues with their supervisors. There is sometimes an underlying expectation that employees portray a “perfect” image of themselves to their managers, who have the power to recruit and fire. This can lead to a lack of psychological safety, which can discourage sales reps from being honest about what’s holding them back throughout the B2B sales coaching process.

Working as a CSO and CRO in our client accounts, I’ve witnessed this personally. When questioned by her management, one of the sales representatives would deflect, minimize and blame, which wasn’t very productive. It wasn’t until our one-on-one coaching session that I discovered her concerns about job security if she was open about the difficulties in her role.

We needed a culture transformation to improve the effectiveness of this salesperson and the sales team as a whole. My goal was to assist the team understand that B2B sales coaching was about more than simply achieving the company’s goals; it was also about helping individual sales reps find more significance in their positions (intrinsic motivation) and earn more commission (extrinsic drive). This experience emphasizes the necessity of providing a secure and supportive environment during B2B sales coaching sessions, where sales reps feel comfortable sharing their issues and worries and are reminded of their value by their managers.

2. Address gaps in coaching skills head-on.

Another key obstacle in B2B sales coaching can be a lack of coaching abilities. Although sales managers frequently receive promotions based on their sales performance, this does not imply that they are also qualified to coach others.

In my experience working with sales teams, I’ve seen that sales managers usually lack two essential coaching skills: active listening and asking good questions. Sales managers frequently neglect to actively listen to their teams in favor of offering their own opinions.

Sales managers need to practice active listening if they want to be successful coaches. Because they are accustomed to issuing orders and directives, they also find it difficult to formulate good questions. Sales managers must learn how to ask open-ended, non-judgmental questions that promote self-reflection if they want to be good coaches.

3. Establish a comprehensive model or framework.

Sales managers require a clear B2B sales coaching model and framework just like an organization needs a clear strategic plan. Coaching sessions need to be organized if they are to be fruitful and goal-oriented. Sessions may lose focus and goals may be less likely to be met without a clear B2B sales coaching strategy.

I was once brought in to help a company that experienced low sales performance for two consecutive quarters. The sales team was originally led by a well-known ASX sales expert who had moved on. The new manager, although an accomplished sales leader, had a more “delegative” leadership style, and sales reps were encouraged to actively solve their own challenges.

Thanks to a quick survey, I was able to address two important concerns in my meetings with the sales team. First, they felt lost and unsure of how to prioritize their time or sales possibilities; second, they thought their sales meetings were too transactional and didn’t put enough emphasis on fostering their personal growth.

In partnership with the sales manager, I developed a coaching methodology that increased performance by almost 25%. This new methodology contained specified objectives, measurements and regular check-ins to give the sales manager and his team structure.

To help future sales managers enhance results, this B2B sales coaching framework was presented to the leadership team and turned into a standard operating procedure. The framework helped managers to feel confident and at ease with their coaching approach—while supporting salespeople in overcoming their blind spots of poor performance.

4. Shift your focus from compliance to performance.

Instead of developing high-performance habits in their sales team, sales managers are frequently preoccupied with meeting targets and completing tasks—which makes sense, given that their own performance is measured against these KPIs—but this can lead to an emphasis on compliance rather than a deep dive into performance psychology.

It is vital in B2B sales coaching to prioritize coaching as a critical component in order to create improved sales performance. Creating a coaching culture that emphasizes the importance of high-performance habits is an effective technique for overcoming this emphasis on compliance.

By investing in B2B sales coaching and providing sales managers with suitable coaching training and development, they become more equipped to identify areas for improvement and devise effective techniques to drive higher performance. This results in a more productive and successful sales force, which will fuel organizational growth.

Leaders should encourage team members to set specific, measurable goals: This is just one high-performance behavior that my clients have had success fostering within their own teams. Keeping team members engaged, concentrated and aware of their progress toward achieving sales goals has shown to be beneficial with this practice—because rather than just focusing on the numbers, the human element of management is nurtured, and people are compelled to work with purpose.

Effective B2B sales coaching is crucial for promoting development and success.

I hope this article provides B2B sales managers with some actionable takeaways on how to improve coaching skills and increase sales performance by addressing issues of psychological safety, a lack of teaching skills, a lack of a coaching model and framework and a focus on compliance over performance.

Forbes Business Development Council is an invitation-only community for sales and biz dev executives. Do I qualify?

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