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Enablement, Sales, Sales Coaching

Coaching Sales Teams

Jacco van der Kooij

Written by Jacco van der Kooij

Founder, Winning by Design


Coaching Inside, or Online, Sales Team has opened my eyes. Today Inside/Online sales teams are a lot younger, between 25-35 years. They are bored out of their minds in 5-10 minutes of traditional one-way training, and believe me, there is no amount of Red Bull I can consume, that will help me keep them engaged for an hour of one-way training. Let alone a full day!

In school they learn as a team

During their school years, many millennials are taught how to work as a contributing member of a team, in study groups, sport teams etc. In these teams they are assigned tasks, with each member contributing. At the end they put it back together to create a finished product; a project, a game, etc. I hear you chuckle… open door right? Well why are so few companies leveraging this?

Trainer as the enabler, the coach

Millennials have been raised in a world where teachers/trainers have been replaced by the internet as the “all knowing source of information”. Instead teachers/trainers now have become enablers, powered by online content, and students have become each others “teachers”, with proper oversight of a trained professional. Simple right? So why are most organizations still not deploy a proper sales enablement/coaching model?

The self learning sales organization

In this video I share you some of my best practices coaching inside/online sales teams, in particular SDRs, AEs and Field Reps.

Super simple format of a self learning session

  1. SHOW-AND-TELL: Start the exercise with a short show-and-tell, perhaps on a white board. Explain the general idea behind the exercise, the goal and concept(s).
  2. ROLE-PLAY: Then have two sales managers perform the exercise, in front of the entire team. This “role play” is a CRITICAL part of the learning process as they see each other make mistakes
  3. INVOLVE THE AUDIENCE: As the enabler, engage the rest of the team, ask them questions “Did you think that was right?”. Show them how to correct each other, in a constructive way. But have some fun with it.
  4. DIY: The sales managers now return, and lead the rest of the team through the same exercise. This is a CRITICAL part, as each member has to experience the difficulty of the exercise themselves, and gain the confidence to overcome these obstacles by using the concept of the exercise. Let them do this for about 20-30 minutes.
  5. RECORD: At the end gather best practices, put it in a shared doc. You just started your playbook. to be used by future hires.

My recommendation is that you run these exercises 2x to 3x per week.

List of self learning exercises for your Sales team

Realize that the exercises below, are just that, exercises – in real life customers don’t listen to a 30sec, 90sec, or 5 minute sales pitch. These exercises are there to help develop a feel for the job, so that you get better at it. This is a profession, and like any profession it requires you to develop muscle memory on the easy tasks so you can focus on dealing with the hard tasks.

A few exercises to get you started:

  • Review each others LinkedIn profile, authentic? trustworthy?
  • Write an outbound email/InMail, then review and improve each others
  • Roleplay Ring/Ring, how to answer the phone. Stand in a circle, each takes a turn “buying/selling”, keep rotating 4-5 times, do this for 15 minutes every day, the first 2-3 weeks of any new SDR/AE
  • Roleplay Pitching, the 30sec pitch, 90 sec pitch, and 5min pitch. Do this every week. Focus your pitching skills on online pitching, and the proper use of visuals.
  • Identify key pain points a client experiences, that they can use your service for
  • Develop a list questions that can diagnose each of the above pain points, 10 questions/pain point is a good start
  • Build a list of Use-case customers, per customer identify what problem you solved, how you solved it, and why they approached you.
  • Identify the top objections you are dealing with
  • Develop ways to address objections, think outside the box!
  • Develop a list of content, such as BLOG posts, that offer relevant insights to a client
  • Educate each other on the use of tools, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Sales Loft, ToutApp, Inside Sales, etcetera.

Hope this gives you an idea. Please share your best practices using the comment section below. If you have questions, run into challenges, or just want to learn more, do not hesitate to connect with me. Have fun!

Credits: The fridge at loaded with Red Bull energy drinks, and The Resumator as the location for the video shoot.