Coaching Your Sales Team from the Virtual Sidelines

COVID has forever changed the office and has drastically changed sales. The needs have not changed but the way to address and meet the needs, both of your clients and your sales team, have changed. Whether you are hybrid or virtual or even meeting daily in the office, you need to know how to empower and train your team virtually. You aren’t going to be on the ground for the bulk of your sales.  

Here are some lessons from the sports field to implement from the virtual sideline. 

  • Make a playbook: You probably do not have one version of a sale cycle. Your approach varies based on the buyer persona, product, quantity, etc. Proactively codify the scenarios and provide the basic plays: who to turn to for an assist, setting a pick, etc. You can include sample recordings of various steps. You want to make it easy for your team to learn, feel empowered and confident, and without having to wait for a check in. Bonus: Focusing on asynchronous communication makes onboarding new staff easier and suitable for all time zones.  
  • Practice! You can only study how to play it out so many times. Have sales scrimmages. Set up practical scenarios to let your team role play. Practice your game face and your resting pitch face. When team members role play as the customer, this helps them identify with their perspective in a more meaningful way.  
  • Team huddle: Using the term “huddle” intentionally here. This is a time to share critical information that cannot or should not be relayed in an email or written document. A huddle is not frontal. A huddle is participatory. It is for everyone in the huddle to share, problem solve, and get fired up! You should determine the frequency of the team huddle based on the size and nature of your team and your team’s needs. You may set a cadence for one season and switch it up for another season.  
  • Be a straight shooter: Flag problem areas and strategize how to approach them as a unit.

“Tough love is better than false praise. Reps respond to honest feedback (both good and bad) and see through insincere approaches that ignore reality to spare feelings. Be upfront, direct, and transparent to maintain credibility.”

Ted McNulty, VP of Sales at AdDaptive Intelligence
  • “I got it!” Communication is important. Remember how it was drilled into you to scream out when you were going to dive to catch the ball in little league? Same here! You don’t want your teammates colliding. Make your sales division a team sport. Encourage collaboration and input from the entire team. 
  • Buddy up: Encourage new (junior) team members to join in on varsity players’ calls and meetings. The best type of training is to witness the real deal. (Pun intended.)  
  • Accountability: It is difficult to stay on task without accountability. You’ve set your KPIs, but make sure you are measuring progress towards reaching them. Create milestones with due dates. As you pass the agreed upon terms and dates celebrate the small wins and successes along the way.  

Last but not least, have fun! This also holds true to the sports analogy. Of course you want to win, but you want to win having fun playing the game and closing deals. The mood and tone start from the top. Bring it!   


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