How to Ignite Sales Performance with Coaching

How to Ignite Sales Performance with Coaching
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Ignite Sales Performance with Coaching
Most companies enjoy a boost in sales performance from good sales managers independent of the sales skills of their team members.  If you want to ignite sales performance with coaching, sales management matters.  In fact, based on over 800 sales training measurement projects, we know that sales managers who effectively coach their sales teams make a 4-to-1 difference in sales performance.

Effective Sales Managers Lead, Manage, and Coach
It would seem a no-brainer that if you want to ignite sales performance with coaching, you need sales  leaders and managers who can effectively lead, manage, and coach their sales team. So why did research by find that 45.2% of sales reps have received less or no sales coaching in the last two years?

  • Sales Coaching Problem #1: Mindset
    Too many sales managers try to keep selling and do not fully embrace that their success is now dependent upon the success of their team.  You will know this is a problem when sales leaders and sales managers spend the majority of their time selling, solving sales rep problems for them, or serving as escalation points versus building the capacity of their sales team to sell or solve problems on their own.
  • Sales Coaching Problem #2: Time
    Too many sales managers resist sales coaching because they perceive that they don’t have the time coach others.  But the most engaged and productive sales reps report that consistent and scheduled sales coaching sessions make the most difference.  You will know this is a problem when sales leaders downplay the importance and impact of regularly scheduled coaching sessions.
  • Sales Coaching Problem #2: Skills
    Too many sales managers have have had no formal solution selling training or sales management training. They earned their stripes for excelling at sales as individual performers and never learned what it takes to excel through the performance of the team they lead.  You will know this is a problem when sales leaders do not know how to accurately assess sales effectiveness or close sales capability and behavior gaps.

Steps Ignite Sales Performance with Coaching
If your sales managers and leaders do not have the mindset, time, or skills to raise their team’s performance through sales coaching, consider these three steps:

  1. Create a Sales Coaching Mindset
    Effective sales managers and leaders ensure sales team members embrace the overall sales strategy and are intrinsically motivated to change and improve.  Because most of us default to self, our natural approach to leading diminishes receptivity.  Sales leaders and sales teams are only motivated to change when the change is aligned with achieving their personal goals.

    Invest the time and energy to ensure that sales manager and sales leader success is based upon and rewarded by team success.  Then help them to learn how to serve and lead others.

  2. Rationalize Sales Coaching Time
    The hard truth is that not everyone needs or warrants sales coaching.  To ensure sales leaders and managers are leveraging their most valuable resource (time), it is imperative that they know who to coach.  Effective sales coaches categorize team members into quadrants based upon their performance and desire to be coached.

    They then invest their sales coaching time and effort into two types of sales reps who both have a strong desire to improve and grow — we call them “Achievers” and “Strivers.”Achievers (Invest a medium amount of time and effort)
    Sales reps who have a strong desire to improve and grow who are currently meeting or exceeding performance expectations.

    Strivers (Invest a high amount of time and effort)
    Sales reps who have a strong desire to improve and grow who are currently NOT meeting or exceeding performance expectations.

    In addition to saving a lot of time and frustration by not coaching sales reps who do not have the desire to grow or improve, focusing on “on the spot coaching” before or after a sales call can often have a far greater impact than a formal 1-hour coaching conversation well after the fact.  Take advantage of teachable moments.

  3. Invest in Sales Coaching Skills
    Effective sales coaches are prepared and willing to help others.   They remember that coaching should instill confidence and strengthen the relationship.  They know that deep change happens 1-on-1, one capability, and one behavior at a time.

    Top sales coaches follow a proven sales coaching process that enables them to consistently and effectively to:

    — Diagnose: Accurately assess individual and team sales effectiveness
    — Align:  Accurately expose sales capability and behaviors gaps and get commitment to change
    — Develop:  Seamlessly implement an individual sales development plan to close the gaps

The Bottom Line
Low performing sales leaders tend to see sales coaching as time spent away from selling.  High performing sales leaders coach their sales reps to higher performance.  Unless you are selling the next iPhone, profitable revenue growth takes more than letting sales reps work their accounts with occasional coaching when they ask for it or when they mess up.  

Want to up your sales coaching game to improve the solution selling skills of your sales team? Read about the Biggest Sales Coaching Mistakes to Avoid.

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