4 sales coaching questions to help you get the best out of your team

Back to blog 11 May 2018

It’s a fact: great sales leaders take the time to coach their teams. If you want to improve your team’s skills, performance and results, then finding the time to coach your sales team is crucial, especially as it ultimately improves your company’s bottom line. And if you’re feeling lost, you’re not alone: given that 50% of sales managers need improvement when it comes to coaching, training and mentoring their staff, it’s clear that people are struggling to find the right way in which to motivate their team.

It might be time to turn to a new coaching model, like GROW. Focussing on the importance of learning through experience, GROW encourages the employee undergoing coaching to identify their problems and actively come up with ideas for solutions. Consisting of four steps- Goal, Reality, Options and Will, the GROW method has been adopted by many sales leaders since its development in the 1980s, and is considered to be one of the most established and successful models in today’s marketplace.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, GROW could be the method for you. Here, we show you the basics of the system, condensed into four sales coaching questions that will help you get the most out of your one-to-one sessions and really motivate your team.

G- GOAL: What areas of importance do you want to improve further?

To start the process, sit down with your team member and identify, together, the types of behaviours that you want to change. Ask them: what are the benefits of improving your performance in certain areas? How will you know when you’ve reached your goals? By having an open discussion about what your employee wants to improve, you’ll be able to encourage ownership of their decisions, and of their goals. Indeed, given the 17% performance difference between sales people who are coached and those that aren’t, it’s clear that taking the time to sit down with members of your sales team in order to help them strive to improve pays off.

It’s vital that you set the right kind of goals that will encourage growth and stimulate motivation. Use SMART as a guideline, focussing on making those goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound to ensure that they’re well rounded-out and achievable.  Furthermore, to create targets that will address all areas of their lives, your team member should consider their personal career and wider business goals; ideally, their goals should be a healthy mix of each. These goals should also be medium to long-term, which you can then integrate into a formal review process and check in on periodically.

R- REALITY: What is stopping you achieving your goal right now?

Once you’ve established their goals, the next step in the process is getting your team member to think about how they can achieve them. The ‘reality’ phase of GROW involves analysing the barriers that are currently stopping them from reaching their full potential. What examples do they have of obstacles that have impeded their process previously? Is this the same for every situation? On the other side, what’s gone well: what did they do to improve, and what can they learn from those situations?

By helping them to understand exactly where they are now in terms of their attitude and behaviour, as well as the resources and processes that they already have in place, you’ll be able to put together a framework that will allow them to start working on their goals. Your support is vital here: though they may have already started taking steps to achieve it, your advice, encouragement and impartial viewpoint may make all the difference in giving them an extra boost- especially as 46% of sales reps say that coaching by the sales manager is one of the best ways to reinforce new sales skills.

O- OPTIONS: What changes can you make to impact your performance?

Once you’ve helped your sales team evaluate which goals they want to set, and where they are on the way to achieving them, then it’s time to see how you can move forward together. Brainstorm with your sales people, but encourage them to come up with most of the ideas themselves: after all, your role as coach is to guide them, and 74% of leading companies say that coaching is the most important role that a front-line sales manager can play in the workforce. Keep nudging your employees to come up with ideas until you have a long list to work from, and then evaluate their options.

Ask them what else they could be doing, or what they would do if the obstacles they saw weren’t there anymore. Decide what criteria you will use to evaluate their milestones, and the pros and cons of different options they can use to go forward.

W- WILL: What actions will you take, and when will you start to implement?

Having analysed all the options, it’s now time to bring everything together and start working on an actionable plan alongside your team member. Using the SMART system to set goals will also benefit your team member as they must decide exactly what they’re going to do, against a specific time frame, further increasing their motivation to deliver their targets on time.

This is the time for your team member to take action. What steps will they take to achieve their goals, and what steps will come after? What challenges and objectives will they face, and how will they overcome them? Using ‘Will’ is just as much about planning for the future as it is maintaining morale, and with the right coaching your sales team will be able to do just that.

Find the best with BMS Performance.

Knowing how to coach your sales team effectively can make all the difference when it comes to closing deals: with 70% of companies citing improved work performance, and 80% citing improved self-confidence amongst employees who benefit from regular, high-quality coaching, taking the time to invest in your workforce is well worth the effort.

Whether you’re looking for professional advice or training, we can help. Take a look at our training academy and performance coaching, or talk to our team of experts for actionable insights that will help improve your sales team.