Coaching Sales Force

There is an old saying which says, “Give a man fish and you will feed him for one day; teach him to catch fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.”

Performance of the sales team is of utmost importance to all the companies as sales is the driving force behind all the activities done by any company. If managed well it can surely change the fortune of the companies and if not managed properly even the biggest companies can scramble down and be out of the business.

When it comes to the sales targets almost all the companies use upward down approach wherein the top management decides about the sales targets and gives these to sales force to achieve. So the performance of the sales force is very critical for the success of any company.

The sales managers face a lot of challenges in managing the front line sales force as they are not only responsible for the sales productivity but also to coach their front line. Sales managers can’t achieve their sales targets if their teams are not fully equipped and are not ready to face the market realities.

A lot of Sales Managers push their teams for the productivity and ignore the other part of their job i.e. COACHING the sales force. Sales Managers usually accompany their new recruits during sales calls and bring business and assume that their team member has seen him making a sales call and is ready to go on next call and even if they share the secrets/rules of the sales GAME they hardly keep a check on their force’s future performance during sales call. We have a point here – Just asking about the business and sales closures in not enough, we also need to check the experience, the problems faced and the learning.

To coach and help sales force be efficient. Sales managers use many sales training programs focused on sales process and closing. Still find some gaps in their performance.

All this happens due to the assumption if the sale executive has attended a training program on the sales process he is ready to sell in the market. But as it’s said TELLING IS NOT SELLING, selling involves a lots of other things which are usually left in a controlled training environment. So the question comes how to make the sales executives do sales calls properly.


Hand-holding is good for a sales trainer. And it is amazing if you can do it individually. With that sales training tip, let us explore a very effective technique called ‘ODD- Observation & Demonstration Drill’ and Rule of 3 + 7 wherein the Sales Trainer/Coach accompany the sales executives and do 3 Demonstration Calls with them and during the demonstration process they follow all the steps of the sales process. After the demonstrations are over they accompany their executives on next 7 Observation Calls wherein the entire sales process is handled by the sales executive and the sales manager observes him selling. This is a wonderful practice as ODD’s not only give a firsthand experience of the sales calls to the new recruits but it immensely help them to understand the steps of sales process and enable bonding between the manager and team members.

Rules for Demonstration Call:

  1. Brief the executive before the call and ask him to observe and if possible make notes.
  2. Follow all the steps of sales process properly.
  3. Don’t focus on closing each and every call as you are on a coaching mode and not selling mode.
  4. While your focus should be on the customer at same time sales executive should not be ignored.
  5. Post meeting ask the executive his feedback on the meeting. Ask him the good, bad and the areas of improvement. Also ask him what he would do in a similar meeting and what he can do differently to further improvise.
  6. Motivate the executive and tell he can do even a better job.

Rules for Observation Call:

  1. Motivate the executive as he will be leading the sales call and will also be under observation.
  2. Tell him not to ignore the sales process at any point of time.
  3. Observe the executive make notes/mind notes and discuss it post the meeting.
  4. While debriefing discuss all the points of the sales process he followed and not followed.
  5. Use PCP (Praise-Criticize-Praise) technique during the debriefing. Always start with praising the executive and tell him all the good points of the meeting. Then share the grey areas he needs to take care during future meetings. Always end the debriefing session on high note by telling him how he could do better.
  6. Use touch technique during the debriefing session.

Remember if call is not going the way it should be, don’t handle the call yourself. You may win the customer but will surely lose the executive. Let him learn from his mistakes.

Hope this will help you in coaching the sales force and take them to next level. In case you need any more help feel free to write at