An effective sales coaching program is key to developing a high performing inside sales team. At SalesRoads, we built a rigorous sales coaching program where everyone on our inside sales team has a regular coaching from their designated manager. We found that our appointment setting reps would emerge from their coaching session with many new ideas and actionable concepts, but after a few days most, if not all, of these key takeaways were all but forgotten. As a result, our coaching program did not have the impact that we wanted on sales and appointment setting performance. We knew that there had to be a better strategy for sales coaching.

It was not until I read Gary Keller’s phenomenal book, The One Thing that I realized what we were missing when it came to our sales coaching program. Keller argues that the key to success in business and life is not to do more things, but rather to focus on The One Thing that will have the biggest impact on achieving your goals. When reading his book, a light bulb went off for me as a sales coach.

We’re trying to do too much!

In sales coaching we typically try to diagnose all the issues a rep has and then come up with solutions for each of these issues. We somehow feel that in one session we can miraculously fix everything that is not working; that if the reps just follows all of our suggestions, they will walk out of the coaching session and break all appointment setting and sales records. Of course, these miracles rarely happen, but it’s not because the talent or effort isn’t there. It is simply because we are trying to do too much. Successful coaching comes not by analyzing (and attempting to solve) all the issues a rep is having, but by finding and prioritizing the One issue that, if changed, will have the greatest impact on their sales success.

Keller’s book shows how we can achieve the most extraordinary results– not by trying to find solutions for every issue, but by identifying the One Thing that will have the greatest positive impact on everything else. He writes, “Achievers always work from a clear sense of priority.” We realized that once applied, that One Thing would become that priority, and be the key to improving rep performance, allowing them to exceed their sales and appointment setting goals. To that end, we developed a process that applies The One Thing to all our coaching sessions.

So, how does it work? 

  1. First, our managers will ask many questions throughout the coaching session to help the reps identify the some of their biggest challenges, and then have the reps define for themselves, the One Thing that will have the most impact in the coming month to help them reach and exceed their individual performance goals.
  2. Then, we review metrics with the rep to confirm that The One Thing identified can clearly improve performance results and boost appointment setting and sales productivity. This process can be challenging in that there are often many things that could be improved or changed. However, the coaches main job is to help the rep prioritize what the One most important thing is they need to work on.
  3. Finally, once the coach and rep both agree on The One Thing, they memorialize their One Thing on their coaching sheet. The rep also commits the One Thing to a post-it note, white board or some other visually prominent reminder that is always accessible. We reinforce the One Thing in meetings, live chat sessions, and in every opportunity for communication.


Surprisingly simple? Surprisingly powerful.

The prioritization of issues to determine The One Thing has become one of the most effective tools of our sales coaching process. This process has been the key to steady improvements in areas that have the most impact on our agents’ appointment setting and sales quota. By implementing The One Thing, we have seen agent performance dramatically improve at SalesRoads. Most importantly, The One Thing has helped us to build more successful sales and appointment setting campaigns and provide better service to our clients. The One Thing seems surprisingly simple, but it is often the simplest things that have the power to unlock the most powerful sales results.

David Kreiger is the Founder and President of SalesRoads, a business-to-business appointment setting, lead generation and sales outsourcing company. He has been named as one of The Most Influential Leaders in Sales & Lead Management by the SLMA the last four years in a row. David has lead SalesRoads through significant growth and the company was twice listed on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing privately held companies. David is consulted by some of the largest and fastest growing companies to help their organizations accelerate their sales through proactive teleprospecting.

David has been featured in Fortune Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor and CNN/Money Magazine. David holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from The Wharton School.