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Are you tired of mediocre results and missed targets? 

As a sales manager, you know that when your team isn’t performing the buck stops with you. If your team isn’t performing, you’ll feel pressure to help take your reps to the next level. 

Even if they’ve had basic sales training and you’ve onboarded them, it’s not enough to crush your sales targets.

So what can you do? You need to maximize your sales reps’ potential, so they can close more deals and drive more revenue. And that’s where sales coaching comes in!

But where do you start?

In this ultimate guide to coaching, I detail everything you need to know about sales coaching, the benefits, and potential pitfalls, the different models and coaching techniques you can use, and the tools and tips you need to succeed.

By the end of this article, you’ll have everything you need to coach your sales team to crush their sales targets...

What is Sales Coaching?

Let’s begin with a simple definition: What is sales coaching?

Simply put, sales coaching is a critical process in developing and guiding sales representatives to achieve their sales goals.  A good sales coach can help their reps achieve the best results possible.  A great sales coach can help them achieve results beyond what they believed was possible.

Becoming a great sales coach requires knowledge of sales techniques, providing effective feedback and guidance, and helping sales reps identify and overcome any challenges. By utilizing sales coaching, you can drive higher sales productivity, increase customer satisfaction, and improve overall sales performance.

Sales coaching is not just about reviewing calls and providing regular check-ins with sales reps. It's much more than that. Effective sales coaching also involves running role plays, giving recommendations, setting challenging but achievable goals, and encouraging your sales team to further develop their skills to become top performers. Sales coaching is about empowering your team to be the best that they can be, and helping them to reach their full potential.

Related Read: How To Be a Good Sales Coach: 5 Proven Skills To Master

To be a successful sales coach, you need to overcome some common misunderstandings about coaching. Sales coaching is not about micromanaging or taking over a sales representative's role. It's not about dictating every move they make or doing the work for them. It's about providing support, guidance, and training to help your team become more successful.

In this guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about sales coaching, including the benefits of effective coaching, the key skills needed to be a successful coach, and the best practices for coaching your sales team. Whether you're new to sales coaching or a seasoned pro, I’ll help you take your sales team to the next level.


1. The Benefits of Sales Coaching

Effective sales coaching can significantly impact your sales team's performance, motivation, and overall success. By providing your reps with the skills, knowledge, and support they need, you can help them achieve their sales goals and reach their full potential. Let’s take a closer look at some of the specific benefits you can expect when you implement a solid coaching program. 

Improved Sales Performance

One of the primary benefits of sales coaching is improved sales performance. By working closely with your sales team, you can help them identify their strengths and weaknesses and develop strategies to overcome any obstacles they face. As a result, you can see higher levels of performance, increased productivity, and ultimately, more closed deals.

Confidence and Motivation

Sales coaching also helps to build confidence and motivation among your reps. When they feel supported, empowered, and inspired, they're more likely to perform at their best. By investing in their training and development, you're also showing them that there's hope for career development and growth within the company, which can increase employee retention. 

Better Customer Relationships

Another benefit of sales coaching is better customer relationships. Teaching your reps how to listen actively, ask the right questions, and provide value-driven solutions can help them build better customer relationships. This practice leads to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty, which can help to drive more sales in the long run.

Improved Team Dynamic

Finally, sales coaching can improve the overall team dynamic. By fostering a positive, supportive environment that encourages collaboration and teamwork, you can help your team members share best practices, overcome challenges together, and achieve common goals. This leads to a more cohesive and effective sales team, which can significantly impact your company's bottom line.

2. Pitfalls to Avoid in Sales Coaching

While effective sales coaching can significantly impact your team's performance, it's essential to avoid these common mistakes that can hinder progress and ultimately lead to lower performance. I’ll dive into four different pitfalls you must avoid if you want to implement your coaching program successfully. 


One of the biggest pitfalls to avoid in sales coaching is micro-management. While providing guidance and support to your reps is important, micro-managing can be demotivating, reduce self-confidence,  and ultimately lead to lower performance. Instead, it's crucial to strike a balance between coaching and giving reps the freedom to succeed (and fail) on their own. By doing so, you'll build a more confident, independent and self-sufficient sales team that can achieve success without constant supervision.

Lack of Clear Goals and Expectations

Another common pitfall is a lack of clear goals and expectations. Reps will struggle to stay focused and motivated without clear, measurable goals,. It's essential to set clear goals and expectations for sales coaching, so reps know what they're working toward and how their progress will be measured.

Insufficient Communication and Feedback

Insufficient communication and feedback are also significant pitfalls to avoid in sales coaching. Providing regular, constructive feedback to your reps can help them identify areas for improvement and stay on track. Doing so will build a more effective sales team that can adapt and improve over time.

Failure to Continuously Train and Develop

Coaching is never a one-and-done process.  You must constantly be pushing your reps to develop, meet new challenges, and pursue continuous improvement.. Investing in ongoing sales coaching and training is essential to help your reps stay current and relevant in the ever-changing landscape of modern sales. Doing so will build a more knowledgeable, skilled, and confident sales team that can succeed in any environment.

3. Sales Coaching Models

Sales coaching is not a one-size-fits-all model, but there are several key things that every training model should include.  I’ve modeled my Sales Accelerator problem around these core coaching elements...

  1. A reliance on data
  2. Employee self-evaluation
  3. Performance reviews
  4. Employee input and discussion
  5. Training exercises

Related Read: The Ultimate Sales Coaching Template

Now let’s dig into the common sales coaching models.


GROW is a popular sales coaching model that provides a structured approach to goal setting and achievement. GROW stands for Goal, Reality, Options, and Way Forward. The coach and the sales rep work together to identify specific goals, assess the current reality, explore options and alternatives, and determine a way forward. The GROW model is a great way to help sales reps stay focused and motivated while also developing their skills and capabilities.

Performance Coaching:

Performance coaching is a model that focuses on skill and performance improvement through regular coaching sessions. This coaching model helps sales reps identify their strengths and weaknesses and develop strategies to improve their performance. Performance coaching is often used when sales reps struggle to meet their targets or need to develop specific skills to improve their performance.

Action Selling:

Action Selling is a coaching model emphasizing the importance of following a structured sales process. The coach helps the sales rep identify the key steps in the sales process and develop strategies to overcome any obstacles or challenges. Action Selling is a great way to help sales reps improve their productivity and achieve their sales goals.

4. Sales Coaching Tools

Leveraging technology and tools for sales coaching is essential in today’s fast-paced and competitive sales landscape. By utilizing these resources, sales managers can help their reps improve their skills, stay motivated, and achieve their goals. Sales coaching tools can also foster a positive and supportive team dynamic, promoting collaboration and teamwork, and ultimately contributing to the success of the entire sales organization.

Related Read: How to Find the Best Sales Coaching Platform for Your Team

  • CRM Software: Platforms like HubSpot allow sales managers to keep track of their team’s performance, manage leads and opportunities, and provide feedback and guidance to their reps.
  • Sales Enablement Platforms: Provide sales reps with the tools they need to sell more effectively, such as product information, presentations, and customer data.
  • Role-Playing Software: Simulate real-life sales scenarios, helping reps develop their skills and prepare for real-life situations.
  • Sales Assessment Tools: These tools allow sales managers to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their sales reps and develop personalized training plans based on their individual needs.
  • Analytics and Reporting Tools: These tools allow sales managers to track their team’s performance and monitor progress over time. They can also help identify areas where sales reps need additional training and support.

5. The Best Techniques for Sales Coaching

Armed with an understanding of the benefits, pitfalls, and tools related to sales coaching, let’s dive into some of the top techniques you can use in your sales coaching program. 

Active Listening and Questioning

One of the most essential techniques for successful sales coaching is active listening and questioning. Just like listening to a prospect, when you listen to your reps, you should try to uncover the meaning behind the words.  What are they really saying?  What does it mean?  What is the reason behind their objections or excuses? By listening attentively to your reps and asking the right questions, you can better understand their strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. This practice can help you provide the support and guidance they need to overcome any obstacles and achieve their sales targets.

Action Planning and Goal Setting

Another important technique for sales coaching is action planning and goal setting. It's important to help your reps set clear, achievable goals and then work with them to create an action plan to achieve those goals. This approach not only helps your team stay focused but also helps them build confidence and motivation to succeed.

Switch up Your Coaching Style

Finally, it's important to switch up your coaching style. As a sales manager, you may find that some reps respond better to a directive coaching style (telling them what to do), while others prefer a non-directive approach (asking them questions) or a collaborative approach (working together to solve problems).

By tailoring your coaching style to fit each rep, you can help your reps feel more supported and empowered, leading to higher performance and success.

6. Best Practices for Sales Coaching

1. Utilizing Coaching Templates and Checklists

One of these is to utilize coaching templates and checklists. These tools can help you structure your coaching sessions, ensure you cover all the important topics, and keep track of progress. Coaching templates and checklists can be a valuable resource if you're new to sales coaching or want to streamline your process.

2. Creating a Positive Coaching Environment

Creating a positive coaching environment is also crucial. As a sales manager, you should take a unique approach to each rep, understanding their strengths, weaknesses, and what motivates them. Encouraging self-reflection is another effective technique, allowing reps to identify areas where they need to improve and take ownership of their own development. A continuous feedback loop is also essential, as it allows for timely and constructive performance feedback throughout the year. According to a recent survey, 63% of Gen Z sales reps want to receive more frequent feedback.

3. Offering Opportunities for Skill Development

Another best practice for sales coaching is to offer opportunities for skill development. Providing your reps with access to training, workshops, and other learning resources can help them develop their skills and improve their performance. In fact, companies with strong learning and development programs have been shown to achieve 24% higher revenue growth, according to a survey by The Brandon Hall Group.

4. Using Data-Driven Insights

You should never make decisions at random when setting up your coaching plans. Instead, you should let data drive your decisions and processes. What metrics should you consider? Win rate is the “big daddy” of all the metrics, but you should also consider quota attainment and deal size. You can also look the salesperson's ability to acquire a next meeting to find areas of improvement. 

5. Fostering a Collaborative Environment

Finally, fostering a collaborative environment and celebrating successes can help to boost morale and keep your team motivated. By working together and acknowledging achievements, you can build a culture of success that will benefit your entire sales team. By following these best practices, you can provide effective coaching that will help your sales team achieve their goals and drive your company's success.

Related Read: The Best Salespeople are Combative and Collaborative

Use the Ultimate Guide to Sales Coaching to Level Up Your Team

Sales coaching is successful when there’s buy-in from both sides, and when salespeople feel like you’re invested in their success. You must go beyond checking a box and make it a continual process.

What’s stopping you and your team from hitting sales goals? A customized approach to coaching is the way to go. Find the problem and solve it with coaching that features a customized learning path and measurable milestones.

Do you want to…

  • Eliminate fear and friction from sales
  • Build a team of top performers
  • And crush your sales targets?

Book a strategy session and see how we can help.


Post by Anthony Iannarino on May 28, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.

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