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5 Call Coaching Best Practices for Sales Managers

Image of Michelle Farnsworth
Michelle Farnsworth

In the opening words of his TED talk, American business magnate Bill Gates declared “Everyone needs a coach.” From professional athletes to CEOs, Bill highlighted the fact that the single common attribute among all high-performing individuals was the fact that they have a coach. Why should sales managers and sales reps be any different?

One of the most vital, yet underestimated, pieces of a successful sales team puzzle is that of sales coaching, including call coaching. 

Roughly 50% of learned content is lost within 5 weeks, and within just 90 days a whopping 84% of what was initially learned is forgotten. This clearly demonstrates the importance of continuous, ongoing coaching.

What is Call Coaching?

Call coaching is an interactive process between a coach and a sales agent. It is a two-way communication, not simply a one-way dialogue, that helps the sales agent become better, discover something new, or enhance their performance. 

This is a type of sales coaching that focuses on an agent's performance during a sales call, whether that is in real-time or after the fact. Effective call coaches listen to their sales team more than they speak. 

Call coaching provides constructive, truthful, and specific feedback as well as role-models best practice skills. As a sales manager, your coaching efforts are about helping your sales representatives be the best they can be. This includes empowering sales members to hit targets, as well as enabling them to be more constructive and productive members of your team. Even with just 30 minutes of coaching per week, you can impact win rates. However, more coaching is associated with better performance - two hours of coaching per week is correlated with a 56% win rate.

The Importance of a Phone Call 

Within a technology-enabled sales environment, companies have learned to better appreciate the value of interpersonal communication skills. 

According to a study by Google, 61% of mobile users call in to a business when they are in the purchase phase of the buying cycle. Rather than reaching out online, most respondents call because they want to talk to a real person. The study also discovered that consumers were more likely to call a business when making a high-value purchase in areas such as auto, finance, or travel.

A telephone call is where you get the chance to make a real first and memorable last impression, both of which are essential to the sale.

Because voice conversations are crucial to closing large deals, the lack of phone skills is particularly painful in business-to-business sales. Call coaching can help empower sales teams to have an exceptional call, consistently.

The 5 Call Coaching Best Practices

1. Develop a formalized coaching program.

When training is paired with tools, reinforcement, and accountability, then the sales coaching process is considered formal. This might include one-on-one or group coaching, and can be led solely by a sales manager or include guidance from another coach. It takes time to establish a quality coaching program, so have patience and a long-term vision in mind. 

 In 2019, ValueSelling Associates, Inc. and Training Industry, Inc. surveyed over 300 U.S. learning professionals in a wide range of industries to examine the role of sales coaching within B2B companies. According to their research, 67% of companies that have had a formal program in place for three or more years experienced high revenue growth. The most successful sales leaders reported using coaching now more than ever before. 

2. Review actual phone conversations with sales reps. 

The best coaching comes from real calls with real conversations between your reps and their leads. By using actual phone conversations, you’’ll be able to provide specific examples of  exceptional moments or pinpoint exactly where it was that things went wrong. The more concrete you make your feedback, the easier it will be for your team to understand.

In order to do this, you need a system in place that can record the phone call. Some systems, like Calldrip, include analytics and call scoring to make call coaching even easier and more effective. This concrete connection to the conversation is valuable, especially in a remote environment where you may not actually hear the discussion in real time.

3. Pay attention to both qualitative and quantitative data points. 

Look at things like conversation sentiment (knowing the emotion of a customer), as well as KPIs (key performance indicators) related to the conversion. Make sure that any performance feedback is connected to actual data. Explain what the numbers and metrics mean in broken down, actionable pieces so that your sales representative will feel motivated and not overwhelmed. 

Additionally, it is extremely valuable to look at how coaching relates to close rates over time.Calldrip includes a call scorecard that makes it easy to evaluate performance at a glance.

4. Leverage technology to support coaching efforts.

 Buyer preferences differ from industry to industry, vary from product to product, and are continually changing. Software can make coaching easier and more efficient by streamlining KPI tracking, generating conversation analytics, recording calls for review during coaching, and more. Such tools allow you to make decisions based on solid data rather than gut instinct or previous best practices. Calldrip has award-winning coaching software that will give you all the elite advantages to sustain your coaching endeavors.

5. If possible, start to implement multi-channel conversational sales coaching. 

If you can, start to align coaching with text message conversations and emails, in addition to phone conversations.Your prospects will interact with your brand across multiple touch-points, including things like email, web chat, and text messaging. If possible, evaluate how the phone call relates to other communication channels in your call coaching.

Call coaching is a critical component of continuous improvement and increased revenue. 

It provides your sales team with guidance, tools, and insights to improve their individual sales performance and productivity. Calldrip’s all-in-one sales enablement solution offers call coaching, in addition to rapid lead response, call tracking, business text messaging, and more. Get a demo today!

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