From the Blog

Maximising potential with effective sales coaching strategies

If your business sells a product or service, you’ve probably come across the term ‘sales coaching’. But what does it mean and how does it differ from other types of training and coaching? In this blog, we dive into the practicalities of sales coaching, exploring how it differs from traditional training and how it can lead to improved sales performance.


Key takeaways

  • Effective sales coaching enhances team performance and retention by fostering a growth-oriented atmosphere and aligning individual goals with company objectives.
  • Sales coaching is distinct from sales training, focusing on the ongoing improvement of skills through personalised guidance, action plans and regular coaching conversations.

The importance of sales coaching

Sales coaching is an essential strategy for businesses wanting long-term sales success. Sales coaching leads to improved performance and revenue generation for sales teams. And like other types of employee coaching, it helps to reduce turnover and improve employee engagement. 

Sales coaching plays a crucial role in:

  • updating the selling skills of your sales team
  • fostering innovation and self-confidence
  • ensuring that salespeople improve sales effectiveness through strategic coaching.

By focusing on continuous improvement and creating opportunities to practise new behaviours, sales coaching builds the skills and capabilities of individual sales reps. This approach can impact the entire team and lead to company-level growth.

More and more sales organisations are using sales coaching programs to boost sales team performance.

Sales coaching versus sales training

While both sales coaching and sales training are vital for a sales team’s growth, they serve distinct purposes. 

Sales training is centred around teaching new knowledge or skills. It’s usually done in a formal way through off-site training sessions and e-learning modules. Sales training is a great way of informing sales teams about new products and policies. Sales training typically occurs when there’s new information or skills to be learned and may be managed by sales enablement teams. It assumes that everyone is starting from the same knowledge base.

Sales coaching focuses on improving existing skills and capabilities over an ongoing period. Sales coaching is focused on the behaviours of individual sales team members and ensures that sales representatives focus on areas needing improvement. It assumes that everyone is starting from a different point and has different key skills and capabilities. It aims to build on those through tactical coaching that is individualised. 

In sales coaching, instilling confidence and improving the conversations and pitches that reps have with customers is emphasised. This type of training isn’t usually covered by formal training.

Sales coaches can provide individualised support and ongoing feedback to enhance sales representatives’ performance, whereas in group-focused sales training, everyone in the sales team will be given the same information to learn. This is what makes sales coaching a critical part of a sales rep’s development.

Key components of sales coaching

A successful sales coaching program revolves around three key components: clear goal setting, personalised action plans and regular feedback. These components ensure continuous improvement and provide a road map for sales reps to achieve their sales targets and other objectives. 

Goal setting

Goal setting provides direction and milestones. It gives reps a clear path to follow. 

To make goal setting effective, it’s crucial for coaches to observe individual sales rep performance to identify areas for improvement. A sales coach should work with an individual sales rep to define what they’re working towards and develop clear goals. 

Personalised action plans

Once an individual assessment has been done (capturing sales strengths and areas for improvement) and goals have been defined, the next step is to create a plan outlining a tailored coaching approach. 

The personalised action plan should include the resources and tools that the sales rep will need along with mechanisms for accountability, such as regular check-ins or performance tracking, to provide ongoing support and adjustments as needed.

Regular feedback

Regular feedback from a sales coach helps to keep the focus on coaching goals. It helps in assessing sales reps’ progress and making adjustments to their sales approach during coaching sessions.

Check-ins with a sales coach will encourage sales reps, helping to keep motivation strong.

Sales coaching techniques

Let’s look at some effective coaching techniques.


By simulating real-world sales situations in a controlled, stress-free setting, role-playing allows sales reps to gain practical experience and build confidence.

Role-playing gives reps the opportunity to:

  • try out new behaviours
  • deal with diverse customer personalities
  • improve persuasion skills.

This makes role-playing one of the most effective sales coaching techniques.

Three people in a discussion at an office
Use different techniques to get the most out of your sales coaching strategies

Tactical coaching

A sales coach can focus on the key tactics that are used by sales reps throughout the sales process and provide focused suggestions for individual sales reps.

Tactical coaching allows sales reps to work on key skills like:

  • building rapport
  • qualifying leads
  • introducing new products.

This type of coaching focuses on specific skills that can improve an individual rep’s performance and outputs. The focus here is on the behaviours that will drive the outcome.

Strategic coaching

There are times when it’s worth using coaching techniques for big-picture topics and as a way to follow up on more formal training. This is useful in situations where there are changes to the entire sales process or when a new sales strategy is introduced.

It can help embed new complex customer processes or deliver results in new markets.

Build a sales coaching culture

Creating a sales coaching culture is a strategic move that can significantly boost the effectiveness of your sales coaching program. It involves the consistent support and reinforcement of the importance of sales coaching by senior leadership. This ensures that sales coaching becomes a sustained effort rather than a one-time event.

Sales managers can foster a culture where coaching is viewed as a tool for growth and performance enhancement by:

  • committing to a regular cadence of coaching conversations
  • practising active listening and asking open-ended questions
  • providing constructive feedback on performance issues
  • creating a tailored coaching approach to help individual reps
  • keeping the focus of coaching on soft skills and behavioural inputs
  • being encouraging and supportive
  • observing and intervening before a rep fails to meet targets.

Ready to making coaching a daily habit?

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YakTrak and sales coaching

YakTrak was developed to track coaching conversations and goals. It is an essential tool for any type of coaching practice – whether you’re role-playing, focusing on strategic coaching or tactical coaching. YakTrak can be used to help identify capability gaps as well as keep the focus on coaching for new behaviours. 

Track sales conversations

Use YakTrak to record a leader’s observations on the conversations sales reps are having with customers. Observing sales calls can help to identify where sales reps need support.

By capturing and analysing conversations, you’ll be able to find immediate opportunities for coaching, making YakTrak a vital part of the sales coaching process.

Embed micro-learning 

YakTrak helps you embed short sales coaching conversations into your day-to-day work. Bite-sized coaching sessions help to reinforce knowledge and behaviours effectively making them a great tool for sales coaching. YakTrak is designed to drive behavioural change through continuous learning.

Micro-learning can be used for both tactical and strategic coaching practices. 

Measure impact

Measuring the impact of your sales coaching program is crucial to understanding the quality and effectiveness of coaching interventions. You can use YakTrak to track the behavioural metrics that impact outcomes. Match these with feedback and outputs to gauge the success of your sales coaching program. 

Changes in the behaviour of sales reps should lead to an increase in sales performance metrics like:

  • sales revenue
  • conversion rates
  • customer satisfaction
  • cross-selling and upselling.

The changes should also result in decreasing sales cycle lengths.

Tools like YakTrak provide the necessary data for the comprehensive analysis and visualisation needed to evaluate and fine-tune sales coaching programs.

Build sustainable high performance

Coaching isn’t just a nice-to-have. YakTrak ensures that you build capability where it matters – in the day-to-day work of your sales force. YakTrak:

  • includes reporting and review mechanisms that will help you understand the impact your coaching activity is having
  • involves employees in the coaching process
  • provides a central location for documenting employee behaviour and coaching activity.

Ready to unlock the potential of coaching with YakTrak? Get in touch with us today to find out more about our employee coaching software.

Ready to making coaching a daily habit?

Get in touch for a demo

Sales coaching tips

Here are some of our sales coaching tips for keeping your team engaged in development and maintaining the focus on continuous improvement. 

Share sales strategies

If one rep is performing well or has made vast improvements, ask them to share their learnings with the whole sales team. Ask them to be clear on the behaviours that have led to their success.

Asking a rep to share their learnings with the sales team can reward the individual sales rep and motivate the rest of the team. 

Track performance data

Track your team’s performance data after coaching. This helps to quantify outcomes from sales coaching and is great feedback to give to your sales coaches. Share this information with the team.

Two people at a desk, talking and gesturing at a computer monitor
Track performance data to measure the success of your sales coaching strategies

Select the techniques to use

Your team is made up of unique individuals. Don’t follow a one-size-fits-all approach to coaching. Consider what people need. A new staff member might need to focus on learning sales processes, whereas an experienced staff member might need to focus on making minor adjustments that make small improvements. Spend time preparing coaching plans and making time for coaching sessions. 

Where possible, focus on one behaviour at a time when coaching; that way you can be really clear about which behaviour improvement creates the desired result.

If you notice there are members of your team who need the same type of coaching in a specific area, you can prepare information around the topic to share with the team.

Ask your team 

In addition to finding areas for improvement through observation (and performance data), ask your sales reps what they’d like to develop. This provides your team with a sense of ownership over their professional development.

Reward people

Make sure you keep people motivated and create a great sales culture by acknowledging the efforts of your team and where they have made changes that have had a positive impact. Get creative about how you reward people. Reward people individually and reward the whole team. 

Ready to making coaching a daily habit?

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Frequently asked questions

What is the importance of sales coaching?

Sales coaching is crucial for cultivating a growth-oriented environment, improving performance, and fostering innovation and self-confidence among sales teams. It contributes to the overall improvement of sales outcomes in retail organisations. 

How is sales coaching different from sales training?

Sales coaching focuses on refining and improving existing skills over time, while sales training is focused on teaching new knowledge or skills. Sales coaching sessions focus on the key skills and behaviours that will improve an individual’s performance. 

What are the key components of a successful sales coaching program?

A successful coaching program includes clear goal setting, personalised action plans, and regular feedback to ensure effectiveness and improvement. It uses different sales coaching techniques tailored to an individual sales rep. 

What role does technology play in sales coaching?

Technology plays a crucial role in sales coaching by enhancing efficiency and effectiveness – this leads to improved coaching outcomes. Tools like YakTrak embed coaching into the day-to-day operational model ensuring that the focus is on ongoing improvements. Tools also provide management and HR with visibility over coaching conversations and can be used to measure the effectiveness of coaching sessions. 

How can you measure the impact of sales coaching?

You can measure the impact of sales coaching by tracking sales coaching metrics like activity, outcome, behaviour and feedback metrics. This will provide a clear understanding of its effectiveness. YakTrak’s dashboards provide you with powerful visibility so you know where your coaching is making a difference.