You Won’t Find Great Sales Coaching in Binders: What Makes a Good Sales Coach?

My first day in the “real world” was not how I thought it would be. 

I had been preparing for my new sales career starting in recruiting. I was ready to hit the phones, help people find new jobs, and soar to the top of the leaderboard. My bright eyed, excited, recent college grad self was quickly let down when I learned the training program I was promised to attend for two weeks was canceled and replaced with two weeks of studying alone with a 5-inch thick, 3-ring binder. 

Meanwhile, the rest of my friends were attending recent grad sales training programs with other early twenty-somethings across the country. There was no sales training curriculum or sales training courses for beginners at my new company. Just me and the binder! Of all the different types of sales training programs out there, I had zero. 

For the next few months, I was told to “check the binder” for any questions I had on how to be a good recruiter. I felt left in the dark and without a coach. There was very little direction and essentially no one to show me the ropes.

As someone who is pretty good at using her resources, it still felt incredibly daunting and near impossible to reach my potential when I was alone.

Here’s what I learned from that experience

For new reps joining the world of sales, it’s crucial for their long-term development and their ability to hit quota that they have a personal sales coach. Everyone needs one-on-one sales coaching, especially early on in their career. Reps need someone to model for them exactly what good looks like and someone who can tweak their sales strategy and approach as they grow and evolve in their roles.

When you first graduate, you’re a sponge! Soaking up all the information around you, learning from many different sales styles, and just trying to find your own sales voice.

Ultimately, the lack of leadership and training was not how I wanted to start my career, so I left. I found a company that invested in it’s people and where I could learn from those around me!

Great salespeople are made, not born

Hockey players are not born with all the skills they need to win the Stanley Cup. Doctors don’t just wake up one day ready to perform heart surgery. Architects won’t build the Colosseum on a whim. 

It takes time to become great, and behind every good player is a dedicated coach! Someone who poured blood, sweat, and tears into helping their players reach great heights. Where would Tim Duncan be without Gregg Popovich? Or Michael Jordan without Phil Jackson? 

The world of sales is no different than the world of sports especially when it comes to sales training and skill development. It takes guidance, patience, and tons of feedback. 

A good coach will push you to put your foot down on the pedal when you think you should be slowing down. You hit quota? Time to double it! You’ve mastered handling that objection? Great, what’s the next most common objection you hear? 

My greatest coaches have not only been the ones who lift me up and encourage me with positive feedback, but they’re the ones who have also pushed me. Through individual sales coaching, they have given me the hard feedback that I needed to hear in order to level up my skills. 

How boring would work and life be if we all got perfect scores all the time? The majority of sales reps will tell you they enjoy the constant challenges a career in sales provides. And it’s on coaches to continually provide those challenges and refine their team. If you’re interested in learning more about what sales coaching in action looks like, just click that link back there and check out our resource, Major League Sales Coaching, with insights from 15+ sales coaching leaders at places like Zoom, Salesforce, Drift, and more.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, sales reps—and especially eager new grads—want someone to give them specific coaching tips and feedback so they can learn and get better. Being a part of a sales org that invests in sales coaching tools and recognizes the time and effort it takes to make employees 10x more motivated to win is remarkable. I’m so lucky and grateful to have found Lessonly early enough in my career to truly know what good looks like and experience world-class sales coaching (through both my managers and through our sales training software, Lessonly) in my career so far.


Are you ready to roll out better sales coaching? 💛

The future of sales enablement and sales coaching imagined for a company now is in no way the absolute future that it will be. But you have to start somewhere, right? That’s where Lessonly comes in. See how sales teams like yours navigate the ever-changing sales industry and pivot with our software in this quick preview.

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