By Kendra Lee
Sales as sport – the comparisons abound. Sales TEAMS look to WIN business. Top salespeople are often recognized with TROPHIES. The list goes on. However, there is one connection to sports that often gets overlooked – COACHING. More specifically, coaching sales reps how to better convert inbound leads into sales-qualified opportunities. Sales coaching is critical for getting the highest results out of your salespeople.
Take the following 4 steps to change the GAME and create sales CHAMPIONS.
Sales Coaching Is Necessary to Get More Wins
Marketing campaigns, cold calls, website forms, pay-per-click ads – these all generate different types of leads. To successfully convert leads into sales, reps must tailor their follow-ups to the type of leads they receive.
The more information a sales rep is given, the better prepared they will be to engage with the prospect and create a strategy best suited to closing the deal. The more training, practice, and sales coaching
they receive, the more comfortable they will be at any stage of the Client Buy Cycle, and the more effectively they can pivot with the needs of their prospects.
The Sales Coaching Steps
Step 1: Coach the Client Buy Cycle and Lead Sources
When sales reps are uncertain where leads originate or where prospects are in their buy cycle, it’s harder for them to know which inbound lead follow-up strategy will be most effective. A lead from a website download form might not be as warm as a prospect responding to a lead generation email.
When they aren’t able to convert those inbound leads, your reps may start believing that certain leads just “aren’t good.” Suddenly they don’t take any new leads seriously, and your team stops following up altogether. Yikes.
Set your salesperson up for success by setting lead generation expectations:
- Where are leads originating from: online form, SEO search, email campaign, or Google Ads?
- Based on the lead source, how warm should they expect the contact will be?
- Where can they expect the prospect to be in their buy cycle?
Having the answers to these questions will give your sales reps insight into how hot – or not – an inbound lead is and how best they should follow up.
Step 2: Coach Prospects' Mindsets
In the Client Buy Cycle, Awareness and Interest are the two easiest stages for sales reps to handle. This is because prospects in these stages are more willing to spend time talking in depth about their problems and needs. Your salesperson can build and nurture the relationship and be the first person to recommend
the best solution. And contacts will listen, eager for the advice.
Prospects in the Desire and Action stages require a very different approach. They’ve decided they want to find a solution and are actively looking for one. Their timeline to buy is more immediate. They don’t want to talk at
length about their problem because they think they have it all figured out – even when they don’t. They want to know their options, the price, and then make a buying decision.
These bottom cycle stages are more challenging for many sales reps. No relationship. Just the price, please. Your reps need tenacity, grit, and a different skill set to convert more inbound leads.
- Convert prospects who want immediate answers and great prices without giving up much information about their situation
- Pivot the conversation to gather critical information
- Establish trust, reframe the need, and sell value
This training is especially important when you can’t compete on price. But even when you can, why would you want to? Your close rate will below, and repeat purchases are in short supply.
Step 3: Coach Message and Approach
Every plan needs a starting point, that’s what scripts are for:
- What information will prospects need?
- What information does your salesperson need to gather?
- What objections can they anticipate? How will they handle them?
- What recommendations will your rep offer?
- What’s the next step once the prospect agrees to a meeting?
Scripts are only a starting point. They are the guide your rep needs to have an effective conversation, qualify the opportunity, and generate enough interest to set an appointment. You aren’t looking for your rep to close the sale in the first conversation with an inbound lead. Nope. You just want them to qualify and set that first appointment.
Creat scripts that align with your different lead sources, and the point prospects will be in their Client Buy Cycle based on that source. Now your reps have a road map to convert a higher percentage of leads.
Step 4: Practice, Measure, and Praise
Practice makes perfect. Practice the plays. Put in the work off the court. Pick any sports or practice phrase you like. They’re all analogous to sales and sales coaching.
Whether you have one salesperson or a team, they all need to frequently role-play various inbound lead follow-up strategies. Practice all your different types of leads and scripts. Coach your team on how to quickly pivot and meet prospects on any level of the sales funnel, and guide them through your sales process.
Practice may not be the most glamorous side of the game, but it will separate the winners from the wannabes. So often, I see business owners and managers ignore role-play coaching. For whatever reason, they allow it to drop. If this is the case, engage us and we’ll coach your reps. You will see a difference in your salesperson’s performance.
Measure the correct activities
Set KPIs for inbound leads:
Measure the actions your sales reps are taking and monitor them.
Use the metrics to identify areas where reps are still struggling. Is there a certain stage of the Client Buying Cycle that they have difficulty working through? Are they not exhibiting the consultative selling skills needed to convert leads into sales? Once you evaluate the areas of need, you can focus your sales coaching and tailor your approach. We can help you evaluate you reps’ effectiveness and coach and train them.
Praise to reinforce
Praise. Praise. Everybody does better when they know what they’re doing is the right thing. Praise what your salespeople do well. Be specific so that reps know which actions they should be repeating. When reps know what you are looking for and how to adjust for that across any type of inbound lead, they will convert those leads at a much higher rate. Sales coaching is the key to your success.
Reach out to me directly to find out how we can help evaluate your sales reps’ results and coach them to be more successful with their lead follow-ups.