As a player-coach on a sales development team, you often feel like you’re dialed in all the time; you know what numbers you have to achieve and what your teammates are responsible for. But there’s more to being a successful player-coach than hitting your number and helping them reach theirs.
In fact, a big portion of your success stems from using the right sales coaching techniques to lead your sales development reps.
The best coaches I’ve had didn’t just coach to the sport or project at hand. They saw the bigger picture, too. They coached to the “why” behind whatever we were doing, demonstrating how it would benefit me in the short-term and long-term and showing genuine interest in my personal success.
As a sales development team lead, I approached coaching by keeping my rep’s numbers, their individual careers and personal lives in mind – and that has made all the difference. Here are 4 sales coaching techniques that will help drive better performance from your SDRs.
Connect with SDRs on a Personal Level
Sales reps know when you’re feeding them blanket statements. But when you understand where they are in their personal lives - and where they want to be professionally - you’ll have the insight to motivate them effectively and tailor your coaching in a way that resonates with them.
Building this type of rapport can be as simple as spending time with your team members outside of work, where they are more likely to open up about day-to-day lives and long-term goals. I’ve learned a lot about my team, some of which I now call friends, simply by listening to them and sharing my perspective.
Don’t Overlook the Basics of Business Etiquette
The SDR role may be an entry-level position at your company. But even if it isn’t, the experience of your team may vary greatly from rep to rep. In some cases your less-experienced salespeople may not know what is and isn’t appropriate at your business – or in front of your buyers.
It’s your responsibility to proactively coach them on how to be successful in a business setting. That extends to the basics, such as showing up on time, communicating directly and politely, showing an appropriate level of formality and keeping your commitments.
Put Sales Management's Perspective in the Rep's Terms
To some degree, the player-coach is a middle man. Although you oversee daily rep activity, you’re also the direct line between sales management and the reps, which means you need a strong understanding of your manager’s goals and line of thinking.
Why? Too many reps have “Drake-like” moments: they get caught in their feelings, often because they do not understand the thought-process behind certain management decisions.
The player-coach should be able to empathize with both sides and, most importantly, help the rep better understand their manager’s feedback, coaching and decision-making. Help them understand the “why” behind management’s message if it’s not immediately clear.
Help SDRs Prepare for Their Next Career Move
Professional development and career pathing should be a priority for any sales development team, because your SDRs are already thinking about where they want to take their careers (and wondering how to get there).
SDRs will work harder to achieve their immediate goals if they understand how it will help them further their careers, whether their next move is internal or external.
Take time during your 1-on-1 meetings to discuss the types of roles that interest them, educate them about the roles they may not know about, and show them how to best position themselves for career advancement. It’s even helpful to do a mock interview, in order to keep their interviewing skills fresh and build greater trust with your reps.
This can be a scary thought, especially when thinking about the ongoing “war for sales talent.” But one day, your reps may become your customers or prospects; the fonder memories they have of you, the bigger champion they could be.
How do you approach coaching sales development reps? Engage me on LinkedIn and let's have a conversation!
Learn more about how better sales coaching, training and career pathing can improve SDR performance in our exclusive brief.