Who Makes the Best Sales Coaches? You Might Be Surprised [New Research]



Training is essential to developing fundamental sales skills. There's just one problem -- training is often a singular, one-off event. What happens when the seminar is over?

That's where sales coaching comes in. Ongoing coaching ensures that skills learned in training are continuously reinforced and refined. 

"Research has consistently demonstrated that unless training is followed by post-training reinforcement this type of event-based sales training produces limited results," according to Sales Readiness Group. "That’s because successfully changing specific behaviors requires a process. Behaviors can’t realistically be changed in one or two days, especially since sales professionals routinely forget most of what they have learned within 30 days of the training event."

Makes sense. But who should be tasked with this regular coaching? While the responsibility often falls into sales managers' laps, new research from Richardson and Training Industry reveals that managers might not always be the best choice.

When asked what types of employees made the best sales coaches, 26% of survey respondents chose top-performing sales reps. This was the number one response, narrowly edging out sales managers/leaders with 24%.

The full results:

  • Top-performing sales reps - 26%
  • Sales managers/leaders - 24%
  • Experienced sales reps - 22%
  • Professional coach - 22%
  • Other - 6%

Does this mean that sales leaders should take coaching responsibilities away from managers and give them to star sales reps? Far from it. The report authors pointed to the slim margins between each response as an indication that many types of roles can effectively deliver coaching.

"There was no single role best-suited to being a sales coach, with respondents indicating that a sales manager/leader, experienced sales representative, top-performing sales representative, or a professional coach have all been effective at supporting sales employees," according to the survey report. "All endorsements of the 'other' category were further qualified by respondents in comments to specify that their company uses a combination of individuals in these roles."

Who delivers sales coaching at your organization? Do you think top sales reps make better sales coaches than managers, or vice versa? Share your thoughts in the comments or talk to us in real time on our new Slack channel

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