How to use your CRM’s sales process to coach your sales team

While the biggest advantage of defining and automating a sales process in your CRM is to give your sales reps a roadmap for what to do at each step of the sale, the value of sales process extends far beyond directing activity for your team.

Your CRM’s sales process can be an effective tool for understanding customer behavior and coaching your sales team—and not just around their numbers.  

How a sales process reinforces good habits

Sales coaching is about building habits and encouraging the right behaviors. The goal is to get your representatives consistently doing the activities that have been proven to lead to sales in your organization.

"Managers need to work with individual team members to address the specific part of the sales process they are weak on,” says Jacco van der Kooij, founder of Winning by Design.

A CRM’s sales process allows you to see the specific part of the sale that a given team member is having the most trouble with. This allows you to more easily create custom coaching plans targeted at each reps’ weaknesses.

How a sales process helps reps buy into the coaching process

Having the information provided by a CRM can help your team better understand the specific impact of their sales behavior, which can make them more receptive to coaching.

Find a CRM to suit your sales processes with this comprehensive CRM vendor directory

"Without a formalized sales process, you have nothing to benchmark or compare individual performance, behavior or activity against, and so any attempts to improve performance will inevitably come across as random acts," says Bob Apollo, founder of Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners.

Many experienced salespeople or top performers may be resistant to coaching because they believe their abilities are good, or, at least, good enough. Your CRM can help them see places where they could improve, and quantify the potential results of those improvements—larger sales and higher commissions.

How a sales process encourages reps through a sales cycle

 In his New York Times Bestselling book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business, Charles Duhigg describes the Habit Loop: “First there is a cue, a trigger...Then there is the routine...Finally, there is a reward.”

This loop is a three-part process that must be repeated over and over again to build any habit. The more complex a behaviour or action is, the more time and repetitions are required for it to become a habit.

Sales behaviours, of course, are more complicated than self-improvement habits like drinking more water or going to the gym—which means they need more repetition to get down.

This is further compounded by the lack of swift payoff involved in longer sales cycles. There is no instant gratification for better qualifying a client, outside of the vague sense of knowing that a deal that will be more likely to close in several months time. By that point, the cue and the reward (the closed deal and subsequent commission) are no longer mentally linked for your team members.

A CRM can help here by automating the cues and reminding your team of the steps they need to take (the routine), then providing some sort of reward when each individual milestone is reached.

A Harvard study found that spontaneously telling your employees they’re doing a great job can increase creativity, enhance problem-solving skills, and reduce stress. So even a quick email saying “awesome job getting that big prospect out of the Meeting stage” can help your rep stay motivated to keep pursuing the sale.

By automating the cues for your team using your CRM’s sales process, you’ll help your reps build good habits more quickly, and execute them more efficiently—which benefits everyone involved.

Want to learn more about building a sales process? Read How to build a sales process: the complete guide, or download Nutshell’s simple sales process worksheet to start creating your own.

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Ben Goldstein

About the author…

Ben Goldstein is the content marketing manager of Nutshell, an award-winning CRM that helps sales teams close more deals faster. Ben enjoys playing drums, kickboxing, and watching Jeopardy! Please connect with him on LinkedIn if you want to talk shop.

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Ben Goldstein