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Be Everywhere All the Time: Virtual Sales Coaching for Success

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Thu Apr 14 2016

Be Everywhere All the Time: Virtual Sales Coaching for Success
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As any coach or parent knows, the best time to teach and keep activities on track is in the moment and in context. The advantages are obvious. Everyone can use direction and positive reinforcement at the exact time when it makes a difference to be more successful.

The challenge, of course, is how to effectively coach without literally following your team around every moment, breathing down their neck, and listening to every conversation? Clearly, this isn’t possible or desired by anyone. But what if you could predict when the next coaching opportunity was coming so you could tackle it head on? It would be great to stop waiting for the weekly check in only to hear from your rep, “I wish I would have known that yesterday!” With technological advances and virtual coaching, we now can avoid those pitfalls and tap into some computer assisted intuition for timely teaching opportunities and training tune-ups.

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Research shows the impact of good coaching. CSO Insights found that companies with good sales performance coaching programs achieved 161 percent more wins. Most companies have good intentions for sales managers to fully develop sellers’ knowledge and sales skills. Ideally, we’d love managers to be able to coach the sellers on every qualified opportunity to close faster by helping to figure out where to direct the conversation next. Have we identified the customer’s problem that we can solve? What are the top concerns? How do we build a compelling story of value tied to their problem?

Jump to reality: Leaders are stretched thin with regards to available time devoted to continuing training and one-on-one coaching. Urgent deal closing, customer issues, and quarter close often land as higher priority than coaching. However, with the sales technology available today we have the ability to augment with powerful, spot-on coaching in real time, when it is most helpful.

How Virtual Sales Coaching Works

Over the years, sales and marketing managers of B2B sales have become masters at data collection by gathering knowledge on their prospects and customers, which is often stored in a CRM. This information is extremely valuable if you know what to look for, because over time, certain patterns emerge. Fortunately, computers can effortlessly collect the relevant information and arrive at conclusions quickly and accurately. Advances in machine learning provide key insights and help to identify exactly what is needed and when.

The power of these sales enablement technologies is that sales managers can deliver coaching alongside sales and marketing content—at the exact moment it is needed. The technology enables management to be there virtually, any time and anywhere. The sales rep gets marketing content that works and coaching on how to have the best sales conversations.

In addition to coaching to guide the right conversation, virtual coaching also facilitates actual learning, which leads to smarter, more confident sellers. A Sales Performance International study found that when sales managers reinforced sales training, retention increased by 63 percent. Coaching in the business environment is just like athletics. It isn’t just being told what play to run next, but also knowing why it is successful and how it should be done, so it becomes a natural, instinctive behavior in the future.

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Learning and adopting effective behaviors doesn’t have to be 30 or 60 minute one-on-one conversations either. Learning science shows us that short bursts of information are remarkably easy to absorb and improve the speed of acquiring knowledge. Virtual coaching can also be delivered in short bursts exactly when needed. In the moment presentation of information also dramatically increases retention because there is such a heightened interest and motivation for paying attention. It is relevant!

Bottom Line

Using technology to virtually coach has many powerful benefits. It allows managers to be everywhere at any time to guide more impactful selling conversations. Virtual coaching also creates more knowledgeable sellers by reinforcing sales training. Just like athletes, practice and repetition lead to proficiency. Finally, coaching creates more confident sellers. Sellers who are armed with the right content, message, and sales strategy are higher performers.

Interested in learning more about virtual sales coaching? Join me at the 2016 ATD International Conference & Exposition in Denver for a session on Tuesday, May 24: Using Virtual Coaching Technology to Predict Perfect Training Moments for Your Salespeople.

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