Why Your Team Needs Effective Sales Coaching for Digital Selling Success
Effective digital sales coaching is an ongoing process, not a one-and-done event. This is especially true when it comes to mastering social selling. Though digital prospecting may seem straightforward, it requires behavior change, reinforcement, and continuous training.
If you’re looking to mobilize your sales team as social sellers, a half- or full-day training session simply isn’t enough. In fact, I say you’re better off not doing it and saving your money!
In my conversation with our CMO Bernie Borges, I explain why you need the right “gear” before prospecting for potential new clients. For many sales teams, this requires a shift in mindset and behavior, which simply can’t be achieved in a day of training. Instead, you need digital selling coaching over the course of 15 weeks, supplemented with ongoing coaching.
Watch the video or keep reading to learn what the gear is, why simplifying digital selling for your salespeople is crucial, and how to provide effective digital sales coaching for your team.
The Right Gear + Effective Digital Sales Coaching = Digital Selling Success
Modern buyers are more digitally connected than ever, they feel more comfortable doing research on their own and connecting with sales reps later in the buying process. Gartner’s research points out the importance of being a “sense maker” for the buyer.
Therefore, modern sellers need to learn the skills to attract, approach, and engage with buyers earlier in the process. This is why sales leaders must launch an effective coaching program that teaches those skills, but most importantly, that creates behavioral change.
But before anything of this can happen, you must set the stage. And, I like to use a fishing analogy to explain it: “Before you teach someone how and where to fish, you have to make sure they have the right gear.”
Let me explain it further.
Preparing The Right Gear
While LinkedIn® provides the perfect platform for your B2B sellers to connect with prospects, they need to have the right gear before they reach out.
Fishing tackle should be at the top of your list when you’re planning a fishing trip. You need rods, reels, bait, lures, a net, and maybe a boat. When it comes to social selling, the list of gear starts with a LinkedIn® profile that includes messaging to attract your targeted customers.
Yes, you can explain to your salespeople how to rewrite their LinkedIn® profiles, but how many will actually do it? At Vengreso, we regularly read profiles that are poorly written and/or boasting about their sales chops -— “quota crushing closer” –— which is a complete turn-off to the buyer!
This approach works against (not for) sellers! Rather, sales leaders should invest in having their seller’s profiles written for them by experienced professionals, as we have done for thousands of sellers through our LinkedIn® Makeovers.
You’ll make it easy for your sellers to boost their confidence because they’ll know that a team of experts wrote the copy uniquely for them. Plus, telling the right story will give you peace of mind. You’ll know with certainty that all your sellers have consistent messaging built in collaboration with your Marketing team. Then, your sellers will be ready to connect with buyers.
Using the Right Bait
The next item is bait — content that enables your sales team to reel in the big ones. Vengreso calls this, Content for Sales Enablement. According to Forbes, 70% of B2B buyers consume content from the vendors they research during the buying process.
Sharing content with their audience develops your sellers’ thought leadership in the industry and is key to achieve modern sales success. Buyers will organically connect with your reps when looking for solutions to their pain points because they’re already a trusted source of information.
How to Cast Your Reel
Finally, once you’ve packed your gear and you’ve hooked your bait, now you have to coach your sellers on how to cast the reel. In terms of digital selling, this means how you plan to deliver the content to your salespeople.
An employee advocacy tool will make it easy for your team to distribute the content. Plus, this also boosts your brand’s reach! Two possible advocacy options are EveryoneSocial or GaggleAMP.
Yet, tools are just tools if your sales reps don’t know how to use them. In order for your sellers to achieve success, you need to provide coaching on how to effectively use them.
Coaching Sellers on Where to Cast Their Line
Even with the right gear, the right bait, and knowing how to cast your reel, successful fishermen also know where to cast their line. And, they don’t learn that through a half-day training!
The same goes for sales reps. To achieve success through your sales team, you must give them more than the right gear, bait, and reel. Even with a new LinkedIn® profile, content that targets the specific needs of their buyer, and an employee advocacy program, they still need coaching to be successful.
The modern sales leader needs to be an effective coach. Sellers cannot blindly prospect without knowing how to network and engage with their prospects. Regardless of how well your sales reps perform, they can always improve. You must coach them on specific techniques to turn their weaknesses into strengths.
After all, if Lebron James needs a coach, so do your sellers!Effective Sales Coaching + The Right Gear = #DigitalSelling Success. Find out what the components of an effective #SalesTraining are from #DigitalSales Transformation pioneers, @M_3Jr and @BernieBorges. #SocialSales #SalesTipsClick To Tweet
Why Is Sales Coaching Important?
According to HubSpot research, most salespeople rely on their peers and managers as their most influential source of knowledge. This verifies the need for sales coaching to help your sellers achieve quota, but also for their career growth and development.
The best sales coaches teach their sellers how to effectively use digital selling techniques, such as how to:
- Leverage LinkedIn® to network and engage with prospects.
- Socially-surround executive buyers.
- Apply successful social selling techniques at every stage of the sales process.
- Improve conversions through a proven sales cadence methodology.
With this type of continuous support for improvement, salespeople are put in a place where they are more likely to succeed. Now, they have the gear, the bait, the reel, and they know where to cast their line.
How to Provide Effective Sales Coaching
As I’ve explained above, effective sales coaching has many benefits, but I want to highlight three benefits and add some proof from our experience training B2B sales teams from all over the world.
Effective sales coaching improves seller’s performance, the organization’s bottom line and the customer experience. How do I know that?
Because one of the requisites to graduate from our digital sales training program Selling with LinkedIn® is to fill out a survey (and we achieve one hundred percent completion rate on the survey).
The results are consistent with the behavioral change in the areas we target as the course’s objectives:
1. Sellers’ performance
An effective sales coaching program will improve the overall performance of your sales reps. For instance, participants in our program consistently improve their sales prospecting on LinkedIn®, start more sales conversations and book more appointments even during the 15 weeks of the program.
Similarly, our students have closed deals during the training program, and our clients have reported sales increases up to one million dollars that can be attributed to the skills learned during our sales coaching.
3. Customer experience
Surveys from our training programs have also shown that when sellers contact prospects using our cadences and scripts, they feel better served and more willing to engage with sellers.
How to Provide Effective Sales Coaching
As I mention in the video, sales training is more than just a one-day event. Coaching your team is an on-going process to achieve digital selling success.
The first thing you need to establish is your coaching strategy. Personalize your action plan to meet your team’s current influence on relevant digital channels such as LinkedIn®. Once you find your team’s weaknesses, you can recognize how to improve different aspects of your digital selling strategy.
Your coaching strategy must include different aspects, such as teaching new skills, opportunities to practice those skills and opportunities for feedback and interaction with the team.
As explained before in this blog, effective virtual sales training programs should be a minimum of eight weeks and have some of these characteristics:
- Use testing and repetition to reinforce learning.
- Divide materials into chunks spaced throughout the program.
- Use video, high-impact visual aids and music as a central delivery tool.
- Combine live training sessions with on demand modules and live coaching sessions.
Four Social Selling Questions Sales Coaches Ask Their Team
The questions below are straight to the point, and can easily be answered by having your rep pull up their LinkedIn® profile. The four questions to ask sellers to perform digital sales coaching are:
- How many LinkedIn® connections do you have at that account?
The number of LinkedIn® connections correlate to how broad your sales reps’ networks are at a prospect’s organization. According to LinkedIn®, there is an average of 6.8 buyers involved in the decision-making process. If your sales reps only have one or two connections at the company, then they’re missing some of the buyers. Coach them on how to grow their network and connect with relevant people at the account.
- Who can introduce you to the decision-makers and influencers?
According to Nielsen, 84% of buyers trust brand referrals from people they know. Ask your team if they know someone who can refer them to an influencer or decision-maker. If the answer is no, you need to teach them strategies on how they can find someone who can provide an introduction.
- Have you socially surrounded all 6.8 buyers within your account?
This ties into the first question and helps you determine if you need to coach your reps on how to properly network with the people around the decision-makers. Provide sellers with tips on how to get introductions and referrals from outside and inside the account. Additionally, guide them on how to engage with other members of the organization who may not be directly involved with the buying process.
- What’s the last thing you posted on LinkedIn® and why?
This question helps you determine if the content they share on LinkedIn® is helpful to the target buyers at a specific account. The answer can help you, as their sales manager, to coach them on curating engagements on their posts, as well as how to share the right content.
Early on in the process of adapting digital selling techniques with your team, don’t be surprised if they answer with below-average responses. From there your sales coaching strategy has a clear goal, which you and your team can now work on together, using these four questions as a guide.There are FOUR #SocialSelling questions sales coaches ask their team for better #sales coaching strategies. Learn more about these questions from #DigitalSales experts @M_3Jr and @BernieBorges. #SalesCoaching #DigitalSellingClick To Tweet
Coach Your Sales Team to Digital Selling Success
Guide your team through ongoing sales coaching to keep them prepared for their next catch. The key to improving your sales team’s performance is effective sales coaching that mentors each team member.
Do you want to boost your ROI by coaching your sellers to prospect and start more sales conversations?
Download our PVC Sales Methodology Guide to discover how digital sales coaching can help you sellers prospect and start more sales conversations more effectively.