Corinne Zudonyi

Green Bay Packers' coach Vince Lombardi once said: "Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all-time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing."

Although Lombardi was referring to football, his sentiment can be applied to almost anything. In the case of sales, you want a team that does things right all the time and makes closing the sale, aka "winning," a habit. And just like in football, getting there is going to take some coaching.

Doing the right thing as a sales manager means selecting the right person for the right job. Some experts argue that this is the first and most important step in sales coaching. Positioning people appropriately will boost performance and bottomline sales.

Once you have the right people in place, focus on creating clear sales processes and follow up with reps to conduct sales pipeline reviews. These reviews will offer reps guidance on shortening the sales cycle and get them into the habit of managing their own pipelines.

Just like Lombardi reviewed game tapes, strong sales coaches should hold debriefings with sales reps after meetings with customers. Use this time to evaluate sales strategies and how execution ultimately affected the outcome. Discuss what went well and what improvements can be made.

When there are lessons that will benefit the masses, sales coaches should hold an all-team meeting. Coaches can use these group discussions for several purposes. First, they are a great way to build camaraderie and build moral support. Nothing binds a group quite like a shared victory or opportunity to air frustrations. Second, team meetings are an opportunity to learn from one another and share best practices. They create an opening for teammates to help each other overcome challenges.

For more tips on how to coach sales teams on their approach, techniques to obtaining new business and closing deals, check out our cover story.

Whether it's preparing for a Sunday football game or prepping sales for the week ahead, strong coaching is essential. As Lombardi also said, "Some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will all be judged on one thing: the result." Is your company getting the winning sales results it wants?