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impact of AI on sales coaching
July 2, 2024

Sales Coaching Enters the Age of AI

impact of AI on sales coaching

I’ve been involved in sales coaching, onboarding, and training for well over a decade. During that time, each day has been spent helping sales and commercial leaders increase the performance of their teams. The industries may have been different, but the trends are the same.

As you would expect—and likely experienced yourself—some aspects of sales training and coaching have changed dramatically during those years. Advancements in sales learning technology, driven largely by the sudden need to train and coach sellers remotely, have led to advanced coaching programs, the likes of which we never imagined possible. And as companies incorporate generative AI into their sales coaching software and revenue enablement platforms, we will see even more changes.

At the same time, though, the fundamentals of sales coaching remain the same. These core principles and practices are well established and aren’t going anywhere.

That being said, I thought I’d share with you five areas in sales coaching that have remained the same, five ways sales coaching has changed, and five predictions for how AI and other technology will impact sales coaching.

5 Sales Coaching Principles That Remain the Same

1. Self-reflection and continuous improvement are critical.

True top performers always seek ways to improve their sales skills and adapt to new challenges. They understand that success requires a growth mindset and a willingness to learn from their experiences. The way I see it, self-proclaimed “top sellers” rarely embrace coaching as they think they are already “the best.”

2. Sales leadership is key to fostering a coaching culture.

Sales leaders play a pivotal role in creating an environment where coaching is valued. By prioritizing coaching and consistently displaying the value of continuous learning, they can create a culture in which coaching has a huge impact on their sellers’ growth and performance. They want to see their teams improve and not just to look good themselves.

3. Investing in sales coaching reduces attrition.

Coaching can be a powerful tool for retaining top talent and driving overall sales performance. By providing 1:1 support and opportunities for development, companies can build a loyal and engaged salesforce that consistently performs at a high level. High-performing, recognized, and engaged sellers rarely think “the grass is greener” at other companies.

4. Coaching is the process of helping the seller discover they can improve for themselves, not telling them what to do “better.”

Sales coaching is most effective when it empowers sellers to uncover their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. By guiding sellers through a journey of self-discovery, coaches can help develop the self-awareness and internal motivation needed for lasting change. Saying “next time, do this” is not coaching!

5. Role-play exercises and practice are integral to improving performance.

Role-playing and practice sessions allow sellers to apply new skills, receive immediate feedback, and build muscle memory in a safe and supportive environment. How many leads have been burned by someone practicing on a prospect? Effective role-play is difficult, but it’s so impactful.

Improve Your Sales Team’s Performance

Download The Sales Coaching Handbook and learn what top sales coaches do to boost motivation, increase focus, and supercharge the performance of sales teams.

5 Ways Sales Coaching Has Changed

1. It’s easier than ever to coach sales teams.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and technology have made it easier than ever to coach sales teams. Coaches can analyze vast amounts of data, identify areas for improvement, and provide targeted recommendations to help sellers succeed. Gone are the days of pouring over hours of sales calls. The best tech, such as conversation intelligence, can give coaches everything they need in just minutes.

2. Sellers are more attuned to a coaching mindset.

The benefits of coaching have become more widely recognized, so sellers are increasingly embracing it as a valuable tool for personal and professional growth. This shift in mindset has created a more receptive and engaged audience for coaching. Look at the current trend of coaching cohorts, newsletters, and online courses.

3. Research shows effective coaching increases revenue and reduces deal length.

Until the last five years or so, the predominant text for selling was the SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham, which was published in 1988. It’s filled with case studies and research that prove how coaching sellers on that method improves sales performance.

In recent years, several studies and papers have been published showing the impact coaching can make and the growing appetite sellers have for it. For example, Korn Ferry’s 5th Annual Sales Enablement Study found that “companies with consistent sales coaching and impact measurement see 32% higher win rates and 28% higher quota attainment. From a team perspective, they also see 2x seller engagement and almost 30% reduced voluntary turnover.”

And according to RAIN Group data, successful sales coaching programs increased average deal size, sales activity, win rates, and new leads by 25% to 40%.

Successful sales coaching programs increased average deal size, sales activity, win rates, and new leads by 25% to 40%. — RAIN Group

4. Top-tier sales coaches earn seven-figure salaries, showing that both companies and individual sellers take coaching seriously.

Sellers’ increased appetite for coaching is reflected in the emergence of big-name coaches who earn seven-figure salaries. They consult and practice in enterprise-level organizations, as well as on a one-on-one basis with sales professionals and go-to-market (GTM) leaders.

5. Individual sellers are seeking coaching externally if they don’t get enough or any internally.

As the demand for coaching grows, more sellers are turning to external resources to supplement the coaching they receive from their employers—if they get any coaching at all. Niche coaches, online coaching groups, and eLearning courses are all readily available for sellers who want to take ownership of their own development.

5 Ways Sales Coaching Will Change in the Future

1. We will see a rise in fractional coaching.

Organizations engaging coaches on a part-time or project basis will become an increasingly popular model. This approach allows companies to access specialized coaching expertise without the overhead of full-time hires, making coaching more accessible and cost-effective.

As AI and machine learning continue to advance, technology will play an increasingly greater role in sales coaching.

2. AI will improve the effectiveness of sales coaching technology.

As AI and machine learning continue to advance, technology will play an increasingly greater role in sales coaching. Such technology will be able to pinpoint areas for improvement and techniques to drive change.

Coaches can leverage these tools to gain deeper insights, as well as personalize and scale their impact. And individual contributors can get direct feedback on their performance without the need for external coaches.

3. There will still be the need for a human touch.

As powerful as the technology may be, it will be a very long time until AI has the nuance needed to coax out the changes needed from a seller, rather than a prescriptive “do this instead” approach. The most effective coaches will be those who can successfully blend the power of AI with their own intuition, empathy, and interpersonal skills to build trust, inspire change, and unlock potential.

4. Coaching technology will become more accessible.

We’re already seeing companies offer live coaching on cold calls and copywriting. This will become table stakes in these platforms as new and better ways are developed and adopted. This democratization of tech will enable even small- and mid-sized companies to roll out data-driven coaching.

5. More “traditional” industries will adopt a regular coaching culture.

A “one and done” top-down sales coaching approach is still the method of choice for many manufacturing and financial services companies. But that will change. Soon, we will see those sectors embracing new technology to improve sales effectiveness and adapt to changing market conditions.

Sales Coaching: Technology + Human Touch

Sales leaders must ask themselves when, not if, they will take their coaching into the AI age. If they do that, while also maintaining a human touch, they will be able to drive success in a continually evolving landscape.

About the author: Chris Russell is a Principal SDR at Allego. In his role, he is responsible for generating new business opportunities for the company. He has been involved in coaching sales reps for more than a decade. If getting the most out of your commercial/GTM team is on your mind, email him at, or book a slot on his calendar.

Improve Your Sales Team’s Performance

Download The Sales Coaching Handbook and learn what top sales coaches do to boost motivation, increase focus, and supercharge the performance of sales teams.

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