4 Steps for Better Sales Coaching

4 Steps for Better Sales Coaching
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Do Your Sales Leaders Know the Steps for Better Sales Coaching?
There is no doubt that sales coaching positively impacts salespeople’s performance. And, according to the McKinsey, a top quartile performing salesperson is 14 times more productive than an average performer. In fact, no other sales productivity investment is nearly as impactful as sales coaching. Our training measurement research found that sales reps who follow specific steps for better sales coaching achieve 4 times higher levels of sales performance.

Consistent, Targeted, and Effective Sales Coaching Takes Discipline
We know from sales management training participants that most sales leaders attain their position after being a top salesperson. But sales leaders are expected to deliver results through others. Their success is not measured by the success of their team. They cannot succeed by trying to close every deal. They need to stop selling and start coaching others to succeed.

6 Steps for Better Sales Coaching
Your goal as a sales leader should be to develop sales reps. who are independent, effective, and self-sufficient. This is the role of a true sales performance coach — building the sales confidence and capability of others.

Here are 6 research-backed steps for better sales coaching:

  1. Have the Sales Rep. Do a Self-Assessment
    Ideally, sales coaching should be data driven using a proven sales assessment tool combined with 360 degree feedback. Whether you have the data or not, the first step in an effective sales coaching process is to ask the sales rep to self-assess where they stand and how they are doing.

    Not only does a self-assessment help your sales rep. to be a realistic judge of their own performance and to improve their work, but it also promotes reflection, self-monitoring, self-directed learning, and self-motivation to improve. Because people are typically tougher on themselves, a sales rep. self-assessment is a great place to uncover what is and what is not working.
  2. Agree Upon the Positives
    During sales coaching, effective feedback can reinforce positive sales behaviors. The more timely, direct, and specific the feedback, the more useful it is. Gallup found that employees whose managers focused on their strengths were twice as engaged as compared to employees whose managers focused on their weaknesses.

    Multiple studies outlined by Psychology Today have shown that focusing on developing strengths increases happiness, confidence, learning, motivation, and creativity. It is also a good next step after the initial self-assessment to either reinforce or highlight what is going well before moving toward next steps.
  3. Agree Upon the Targeted Sales Behaviors that Need to Improve
    As a sales leader, you should come to each sales coaching session prepared with a diagnosis — the targeted behavior that the sales rep. should improve.  The objective is to get the sales rep. to see the same gap in behavior and leave the coaching session with one targeted behavior to improve.  Start by asking questions to see what they think could have been improved.

    Be ready to provide details or examples of what you have observed. Your goal is to agree on and discuss the implications of the behavior and the payoff of improving.
  4. Commit to Next Steps
    Once you have validated what makes sense to work on, your next step is to create an individual development plan that the sales rep. has high levels of motivation and confidence to complete. That means creating a safe learning environment, managing expectations, and reinforcing the desired changes.

The Bottom Line
Smart sale leaders consider sales coaching to be their most important job. They focus on their people and where they can help them to be successful. It may not be easy to resist the urge to dive in and rescue a sales rep. who is struggling, but remember that your job is not to sell but to enable others.

To learn more about how to be a better sales coach, download The Truth About the Biggest Sales Coaching Mistakes

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