How to Be a Good Virtual Sales Coach

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Coaching is a tough skill for most sales managers. But if you’re used to being in the office and are now managing a virtual sales team, you have some added hurdles. These tips are for you.

(Be sure to keep scrolling to hear my manager coaching tips at the bottom of this article)

#1 – Clearly Define Coaching.

In sales, we use the term coaching too often. We mean it for leaders who use a question-based or learning-based approach. The helpers and askers vs. the domineering tellers. Coaching as a style is different from dedicated rep, skill, or call coaching. When we clearly define when we’re doing sales coaching vs. our regular role of answering questions, running a huddle, or doing a 1:1, it’s easier to identify when to activate coaching skills.

#2 – Dedicate Time for Coaching.

When we were in the office, we could “drive-by coach” when we heard sales reps on the phone doing the good, the bad, and the ugly on calls. Now we need a dedicated hour with each rep one to four times per month. How often, exactly? Coach new reps and “B” reps at least twice a month. Prioritize your “A” and “C” reps next, with the “D” reps coming in last. Beware, focusing on the squeaky wheel!

#3 – Leverage Recordings.

If you don’t have call recording in place, prioritize it now. It will cut the time required for coaching by more than half. Have reps find their own recordings for coaching, mark them, and bring them to the call coaching session.

Listen to an example of a great call coaching session right here. 

#4 – Coach the Rep, Not the Deal.

If you reframe coaching into time to build your reps’ skills, their engagement, and your relationship with them instead of winning deals, you’ll be on the right side of call coaching and have higher-quality interactions and outcomes.

#5 – Use Video.

Zoom works best for playing call recordings. Listen to the call, then do the call coaching. Using video will allow you to connect with the rep, gauge their facial expressions, and have a “face-to-face” conversation where you’re building rapport, not just skills. 

#6 – Rinse and Repeat.

Schedule recurring meetings so you can keep the conversation going. We have a new BDR on the team who gets coached 2-3 times every week. We work on 1-2 skills at a time until we have it mastered and then we move on.

#7 – Use a Standard Model and/or Tool.

If you don’t have a great coaching tool like Ambition, ExecVision, Chorus, or Gong that keeps you aligned to a scorecard and standard of what “good” looks like, create your own scorecard and model. Go nuts and do it with a few managers, if you have access. For every rep skill we teach in The Sales Bar we include a mini Q&A scoring form and coaching questions. We also teach the COACHN℠ model – a standard approach to every coaching interaction that helps things become routine and easier.


#8 – Get Some Skill Training.

You know I sell training right?! Seriously, the number one most difficult skill to train sales managers is call coaching. So get some help deciding what to coach, how to coach, who to coach how often. Build some confidence in your ability to coach (remote or face-to-face) and you’ll look forward to it much more. Funny how it will get prioritized that way.

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