Coach Salespeople to Improve Performance

Coach Salespeople to Improve Performance

A critical component to exceptional sales performance is coaching. Unfortunately, not many sales managers (or managers in general) have the right attitude or skills necessary to be good coaches. Or, they mistakenly believe management or training is coaching and all that salespeople need to be successful. To be clear: You manage an operation; you train employees to learn methodology and process; and you coach individuals to success. In fact, coaching is often the difference between winning or losing, hitting or not hitting your number.

What is coaching? Coaching is helping people realize their full potential. Coaching means challenging people to perform at their best and live up to their own great expectations. The test for effective coaching is, are people performing at a higher level because your are involved with them? If the answer is yes, an effective coaching relationship is in place. According to Salesforce.com, on average, salespeople who receive training coupled with coaching boost their revenue performance by 25% and increase their close rate by 70%.

What do great sales coaches do? First, they base coaching on metrics that drive sales wins (e.g., closing). Second, they commit to a regular coaching schedule (e.g., 1:1s). Third, they publically recognize the right activity to motivate and reinforce winning behavior (e.g., win wires). Consistency is key. Consistency includes: a) Creating a culture of coaching, as well as a uniform onboarding and training program; b) incorporating goals and transparent coaching methods into territory planning; and c) reinforcing repeatable behavior to drive predictable forecasting.

Below are ten management actions that directly contribute to effective sales coaching:

  1. Adjusting your coaching style based on the individual;
  2. Aggressively pursuing deal profitability;
  3. Being dedicated to improving both individual and team results;
  4. Building strong relationships with individual team members;
  5. Coaching the core team for performance and its stars for retention;
  6. Delivering coaching in-person and in-the-moment;
  7. Recognizing the importance of job satisfaction in how coaching is delivered and received;
  8. Recognizing the role of specialists;
  9. Spending 3-5 hours per month coaching each individual team member; and
  10. Targeting the best opportunities.

Delivering results while helping salespeople realize their full potential is what great coaches do. Coaching is a big part of effective sales management. Everyone needs a coach, even superstar salespeople. Why? People have a natural ceiling or lid that they ultimately hit over time. Having a coach is the only way to consistently breakthrough that ceiling. The truth is that most salespeople know what they are supposed to do (e.g., build enterprise relationships), but there is a difference in what they actually do (e.g., work small deals). Coaches help address the performance gap.

All contents copyright © 2013, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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