What is Microcoaching?

BY C. Lee Smith
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If you’ve given your reps the best sales training and coaching and something seems to be missing, consider adding microcoaching to the mix. What is microcoaching? And how does it connect to traditional sales coaching?

Defining Microcoaching

I define microcoaching as short, frequent bursts of sales coaching, personalized to the individual’s specific needs, that fill the developmental and motivational gaps from existing 1‑on‑1 coaching sessions. The bite-​sized guidance is ideal for reps who are overwhelmed or easily distracted. The ability to automate sales microcoaching through AI is ideal for sales managers who are too busy for more 1‑on‑1 coaching and believe their reps need frequent reinforcement on key sales principles and practices.

Differences Between Microcoaching and Traditional Sales Coaching

The differences between microcoaching and traditional sales coaching comes down to how and when it happens and to what’s covered in the sessions. A traditional sales coaching session can take place in a one-​on-​one meeting. It can also happen during a ride-​along. As you and your rep approach an account’s office for an in-​person meeting, coaching will include a strategic discussion. These sessions usually take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. They are often focused on deal coaching, or reviewing the rep’s pipeline, at the expense of skills building and motivation, according to research from the Sales Management Association.

Microcoaching, on the other hand, involves the delivery of one key piece of information. These sessions last between two and six minutes. This is the sweet spot of attention for the typical learner, but for easily-​distracted salespeople, they should be closer to the two-​minute mark. When a rep receives a microcoaching feed in an email or chat message, they can quickly review a basic principle such as the need to research the prospect before reaching out. After reading the statement, reviewing a blog post or short video, they can build their knowledgebase by reflecting on and responding to two questions that come with the feed.

And automated sales microcoaching works well when it relies on AI driven by the results of the rep’s sales assessment. In these cases, a feed will summarize a detail about the rep’s work habits or process as it relates to sales or interacting with others. The rep then reflects on and gives brief answers about how they can adapt their practices to improve sales outcomes. Microcoaching is best suited for tactics, but can be very effective for developing skills and their mindset. These topics are often neglected in standard one-​on-​one meetings.

Systemizing Sales Microcoaching

Through four years of testing and development at SalesFuel, we created the first sales microcoaching platform, SalesFuel CoachFeed. It contains four essential elements for upskilling your sales reps. 

Needs analysis – Every successful sales professional knows that their sales outcome will only be as good as the needs analysis they conduct on their prospect. Microcoaching emphasizes how to conduct effective needs analysis.

Sales coaching – Microcoaching doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The material should supplement the topics managers and reps cover in their regular one-​on-​one sessions.

Adaptive coaching – Every sales rep is at a different point in their professional development. They come to their positions with unique strengths and weaknesses. Microcoaching platforms can target each rep’s unique needs by tapping assessment results. They then merge the results with knowledgebase information into effective suggestions and thought-​provoking questions.

Microcoaching – Regular topical feeds address a rep’s sales skills needs and their mindset based on assessment results. Additional feeds address account-​based coaching. First, reps identify the accounts they want to land or grow. Then, they receive feeds containing intelligence about those accounts and advice on how to proceed.

Are You Ready for Microcoaching?

You know how to coach your reps. And if you had more time, you could turn some of your average sellers into superstars. When you turn to microcoaching, you don’t need to find more hours in the day. Both you and your reps will benefit from using microcoaching to supplement the coaching you’re already providing.