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Why the Best Sales Coaching Happens in Real-Time

5 min read
Updated Aug. 4, 2021
Published Mar. 20, 2017

In most sales organizations, sales coaching most often falls into two categories: real-time coaching where a manager will sit with a rep and listen to their calls, or recording calls and providing coaching on those calls at a later time.

Both techniques have advantages and disadvantages. But as sales managers become busier and busier each day, guess which one often falls by the wayside? You guessed it. Real-time coaching.

And it’s not the fault of sales managers. When you’re faced with more responsibility and higher expectations every day, coaching from recordings that you can listen to on your own time is the logical choice. It allows you to still provide feedback to your team, but at a time and place that’s convenient for you. But this approach also assumes that those two styles of coaching are different sides of the same coin and are roughly equal, which is a serious miscalculation.

Real-time coaching provides a whole host of benefits that you just can’t get from call recordings. Let’s look at a few of those benefits and see if it might be time to reprioritize your real-time call coaching.

Make the Most of Every Call

It’s no mystery that getting a prospect on the phone is a big deal. Phone is still the most effective sales channel, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. But with all the forms of communication available today, and your prospects increasingly busy lifestyle, getting a prospect on the phone is a rare occurrence.

By providing coaching only from call recordings, you’re essentially throwing your hands up on those calls and saying “let’s roll the dice and see what happens,” and dealing with any problems that arise after the fact. Given how important every connected call is to your sales organization, this approach seems crazy in hindsight. By sitting with a rep, or being notified of a call and listening in, you’re able to provide feedback that could save a call or turn it into a massive win. Every call is valuable. Real-time coaching helps you make the most of each one.

We Learn Better on the Job

Learning theory and research have consistently found that learning through experience or by “doing” result in higher learning gains and retention. Providing feedback and suggestions to a sales rep in the moment allows them to put your teachings into practice right away and experience the positive feedback loop that will help them internalize that insight and make it a habit.

Coaching from recordings allows you to take the time to provide well thought-out and customized feedback that is invaluable to the growth of your reps. But for those insights a sales rep can apply quickly and effectively, only coaching from call recordings puts a number of roadblocks into the learning process. You have to provide the insight, your reps have to remember it, they have to identify appropriate situations to employ that insight, and then they have to leverage it correctly. In real-time coaching, that feedback is streamlined and seamless.

Coaching With Intent and Support

While coaching from recordings will always have a place in modern sales organizations, there are certain cultural drawbacks to only providing feedback after the fact. When feedback is provided in real-time, sales reps feel more supported. They feel like they have a safety net to try new things and make mistakes because you are right there to help if things go wrong. You are part of their support structure.

Without real-time call coaching in the mix, every call becomes an opportunity for a mistake that they fear will later be scrutinized and criticized by you as the sales manager. It’s much harder to make your team comfortable and receptive to feedback in this environment. Even supplementing call recordings with real-time feedback can help tip the scales back in the supportive/collaborative direction.

The best modern sales teams will always use both sales coaching techniques: call recordings and real-time feedback. The key is to find a consistent balance between the two and to not let real-time coaching fall by the wayside as you get busy.

If finding the time to provide real-time coaching is still a challenge, check out Salesloft’s Live Call Studio, which allows you to coach in real-time from anywhere. Listen-in, provide feedback, and even join the call. Live Call Studio enables you to deliver the best sales coaching possible, easier, and more consistently than ever before.

Looking for some real work ways leaders are coaching more effectively to gain time back in their day?  Don’t miss our FREE eBook on Effective Sales Coaching: How Experts Leverage Technology.

Effective Sales Coaching: How Experts Leverage Technology