We examined the most important factors to remember when deciding to engage in sales coaching for sales teams and managers.
When combined with effective management and ongoing training, sales coaching is highly effective in increasing sales and building a customer base. It also provides a measurable, positive changes in any organization.
By setting goals for the coaching staff, who are typically managers, it is an effective technique to create a culture of accountability in any organization.
If your managers are not qualified to lead, train and coach your sales team, consider enrolling them in one-on-one sales coaching sessions to provide them with the necessary tools to effectively lead your sales force.
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Measuring the Effectiveness of Sales Training
The most common way to measure the effectiveness of sales coaching is to look at the performance of the sales team. This means keeping accurate records of both individuals as well as group performance and comparing that across the entire team against set standards or expectations.
Another equally important factor to remember is the retention of the top performers in any sales force. With sales coaching in place, there will be an upward movement of the mid-to-low performers on the team, often taking the pressure off of the top performers to meet team or unit quotas.
It also prepares coaches, who are already in upper levels of supervision or management, for increased responsibility and accountability as they move up the corporate hierarchy.
Benefits of Sales Training
With this support and recognition, overall top performer retention will increase as these professionals feel more involved in the direction of the company. This also ties in with company loyalty and feelings of working as a team rather than being left to try to manage all challenges on their own.
Morale will increase, and the entire sale team will work together more efficiently. An effective coach will work with individuals on communication and even conflict resolution within the team itself. This doesn’t mean there won’t be conflict, but conflict can become an opportunity for growth rather than for division.
Increased use of best practices and sales strategies will be one of the first measurable changes noted. This includes changes not only from the sales team, but also from the coaches. When the management team is talking to employees as a coach, or getting feedback from the coaching team, the “in the trenches” issues become obvious and can be addressed in structured, effective way.
Increasing the level of understanding of the challenges sales professionals are facing allows the management team to provide more effective training, to address problems outside of the sale’s teams control, and to have a good idea of trends in the industry or the market.
Boosting Performance of the Middle
According to the Harvard Business Review, the effects and positive impact on sales coaching is not lost on the best businesses in the country. In fact, in the Review, it is reported that in the past five years top businesses have focused more on developing coaches to work with sales reps than has been done in the last 50 years.
What this research found was that the bottom 10 percent of the sales force, and the top performers, have minimal gains in production with coaching. This is not a surprise as the top performers are already high achievers, and the bottom performers may simply not be in the right career choice.
The real benefit of coaching is significant and is in the middle group of sales reps. The report further finds that top quality coaching will improve the results of the middle 60 percent of a workforce by up to 19 percent.
Surprisingly, even with less than optimal coaching, the results can be as much as a six to eight percent increase per sales professional, which can be a significant boost in sales volume throughout the department, team, or unit.
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5 Step Process for Effective Sales Coaching
Step One: Providing an Outside View
The first step or process involved with effective sales training comes from the sales coach observation. When you hire a professional for sales coaching you are hiring someone to come in and take a look at your company and your sales professionals to provide a third party, unbiased, outside view of your team and how you operate as sales professional.
Step Two: Bridging the Gap
Your sales coaching professional will use their observations to tell you how far removed you are from where you should be and help you to bridge the gap so you can cover lost ground and reach your goals by bridging the gap between where you are and where you should be as a professional.
Step Three: Developing Skills
Your sales coach will also take a look at individual and team skills, tell you how to play up the advanced skills that you and your team members already have and teach you how to develop the skills that still need work. In addition to providing insights and suggesting changes; your sales coach will likely have you do different one-on-one training sessions designed to help develop skills.
Step Four: Training
A professional sales coach will then offer training for you and your team so that you can not only thrive individually but thrive as one. They may also observe you during the day to provide on the job training and providing you with direction when you encounter issues with certain tasks like cold calling. Typically the right sales coach will keep on with the training until you get it right.
Step Five: Ongoing Mentoring
Once your sales training and coaching has completed the right sales coach will provide you with important ongoing mentoring to help you continue to improve. This way your sales coach will be there to provide you with suggestions and insight as your company grows.
Final Thoughts on Sales Coaching
The decision to train managers in sales coaching, or to find qualified outside coaches to provide the one-on-one performance based training needed for improvement in a sales force, is clearly favored by top businesses.
Emulating these top businesses in including sales coaching into your business model is critical to increasing your bottom line, assisting with top sales professional retention rates, and in positively changing the culture of your business.
Sales coaching is a management and employee friendly practice that can be incorporated with top training, mentor programs, and with effective and selective bonus programs. It is not a stand-alone or a one-time component, but a way to effectively move your sales team from where they are to where you need them to be.