Our sales coaches work with sales development reps (SDRs) to develop their skills, build confidence, and establish best practices for outbound prospecting. Coaches also work closely with sales leaders, helping with hiring support, SDR training, playbook creation, and more. The result is a more productive and successful outbound sales team.
So, what does a typical workday look like for a sales coach? We sat down with our Head of Sales Coaching, Sarah Hicks, to ask her all about it.
The path to becoming a sales coach
Beginning as an SDR
Sarah started off as an outbound SDR at Predictable Revenue, where she was given the freedom to come up with her own strategies. As she tested different sales tactics, she learned quickly what worked and what didn’t, and worked to continually refine her prospecting process.
Over time, she learned to work smarter and not harder, and book more meetings with fewer cold calls. The key to this success, Sarah says, was to make lots of mistakes and then learn from them.
Her greatest learning opportunity came when she was asked to take over the Predictable Revenue podcast. Interviewing top thought leaders in the industry provided lots of inspiration for her own growth. Sarah regularly tried tactics from the leaders she interviewed, again noting what worked and what didn’t.
Moving to a Sales Manager position
As Predictable Revenue grew to offer fully outsourced SDR Pods, Sarah became an SDR Manager. She led a team of 12 SDRs and learned the ins and outs of prospecting at many different companies over a short period of time. This was a great opportunity for her to expand her knowledge on a wide variety of outbound functions and go-to-market strategies.
Becoming a Sales Coach
In 2021, Sarah moved into coaching, using her expertise on how to build and scale outbound functions to teach other revenue leaders. At the same time, she worked closely with me to re-release Predictable Revenue’s sales development methodology and solidify the company playbook.
A day in the life of a sales coach
Sarah’s day starts early, with clients located across the world in different time zones. First, she hosts one-on-one management meetings with sales leaders to talk about how things are going with the engagement.
Next, there will be meetings with the client’s entire team, including leaders, SDRs, and account executives (AEs). These calls are used to work on the tactical side of things, like building the client’s playbook, working on ideal customer profiles, buyer personas, sequence writing, and call scripts.
There may also be one-on-one coaching sessions with each SDR, where Sarah will practice active listening, role play, and conducting call reviews–all skills she learned from her time as a sales manager.
Check-ins with the Predictable Revenue Coaching Team
In the afternoon, Sarah meets with the other sales coaches to discuss the best way to help their clients’ companies achieve outbound growth as quickly and sustainably as possible. Getting together regularly with the other coaches helps ensure everyone stays on top of best practices, shares what they’re learning and that each client benefits from diverse perspectives.
Prep for the day ahead
The final part of Sarah’s workday is “offline” time, which she uses to prepare for work the next day. On any given day, she might use this time to work on a client’s playbook, look for helpful resources, or identify the best tools for their company.
The best part of being a sales coach
Sarah’s favorite part of being a sales coach is being able to help sales leaders avoid the common mistakes that so many companies make.
“Especially when a company is building their sales development function for the first time,” Sarah says, “We help them build stable and strong foundations so they can grow month after month. Companies that try to do it on their own miss those foundational pieces, and end up spinning their tires with tough problems down the line.”
The most critical time to bring on a sales coach is when your company is still building the sales playbook or establishing those foundations. Problems in those foundations can impact the entire sales funnel down the line.
“When we build those foundational pieces with a company, we get to see everything snowball in a good way,” Sarah says. “Everything picks up traction so much quicker.”
Impact in action
One recent case study illustrates the power of those foundations. Cost Certified was building its outbound function for the first time, and the Predictable Revenue coaching team worked to build their playbook and call scripts.
This preparation allowed Cost Certified to hit the ground running, booking meetings, hitting quotas, and hiring 10+ SDRs within the first few months. You can read the full case study here.
“It’s so rewarding to be a part of that,” says Sarah. “When leaders come back and say they learned so much, and it’s really working.” Not only does the coaching result in a stronger outbound sales function, but those key pieces are able to be pulled over into other functions of the business, like marketing and customer success.
The traits of a successful sales coach
Like SDRs, it’s important for a sales coach to be curious. They should be strong listeners and keen information gatherers. Sarah recommends sales coaches act like a doctor, and ask lots of questions before diagnosing the problem.
It’s important to take in a company’s goals, history, budget, average deal size, and current outbound process. All of those details will impact the playbook and the recommendations of a sales coach.
“You need to stay curious,” Sarah says, “because markets change, job functions change, and budgets change.” A good sales coach is always ahead of trends in the industry.
You also need to be confident in your recommendations. “People come to you because they want guidance from someone who’s been there before,” Sarah says. Offering vague or uncertain advice doesn’t do anyone any favors.
Of course, it’s an iterative process–no one can pick the right messaging or perfect subject line on the first try. But you can make an educated decision based on research and the data. Once you’ve made a choice, stick with it.
The benefits of working with a sales coach
External coaching benefits even the most experienced salesperson. For example, someone who has been at the same company for many years is well reversed in that particular company’s process; but in that same period of time, a sales coach has worked with dozens of different companies, and been able to see what works and what doesn’t across a wide range of markets.
A sales coach can take the most up-to-date and effective best practices, and distill them into a process that works for your company. Click here to book a free discovery call and learn how our coaches can help you build or scale your outbound sales function!
“The goal of bringing on a sales coach is for you to spend more time doing what you’re good at,” Sarah says. “You might have great negotiation skills, so we help you finetune the systems and processes, so you can spend more time playing to those strengths.”
Oftentimes experienced salespeople are great at prospecting and closing deals, but they lack systemization in the form of a playbook. Having those systems in place allows you to sit back and relax. Knowing the admin work is taken care of, you can handle more leads in the pipeline and manage more deals at once, leading to more scalable revenue.
Advice for aspiring salespeople
As a sales coach, Sarah works with a variety of salespeople, including new SDRs, seasoned sales reps, AEs, and revenue leaders. All of them are looking to build more pipeline and close more deals. Sarah’s advice is the same for anyone working in sales: “You need to know your customers more than you need to know your product or service.”
Regardless of where you go in your career, it’s more important to be an expert on your customers than the product. Do your research and know what your customers care about, what their day-to-day looks like, what their goals are, and any potential roadblocks to those goals.
“Those are things you can impact,” Sarah says, “and that’s what people care about.”
For information on our coaching services and to meet the team, click here.
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