Structure Your Sales Coaching For Greater Impact
The role of a sales leader is to manage a business’s sales operations and take responsibility for the sales team’s overall performance. It may involve sales planning, sales reporting, recruitment, careful management of certain sales processes and activities, as well as leadership by example.
However, another crucial aspect is the development of sales talent. Salespeople are not resources that can be “managed”, as such, so they must instead be “coached” to maximise their full potential.
Sales coaching involves the development of sales staff through the use of metrics and meaningful conversations. The job of a sales coach is to help employees identify areas for improvement, create a plan to address any problems and motivate staff to reach the goal. Areas for improvement may be specific sales skills or more general behaviours.
Coaching differs from more traditional sales training, because it is a continuous process, with a more personalised approach. A sales manager should coach individuals, rather than the team as a whole.
The Importance of Structure
A common problem with sales coaching is a lack of structure, meaning that coaching only occurs when somebody is producing an overall poor performance. However, research from CSO Insights shows that informal coaching processes have no real impact on performance, while formal coaching produced a 17 percent increase in win rates.
“Quality coaching is strategic and proactive,” says Graham Scrivener, writing for Sales Initiative. “Taking a long lens approach to coaching means it can be used to constantly develop a pipeline of talent that the business needs.”
Developing a Framework
The best way to create a formal coaching strategy is to divide coaching into different areas. In much the same way that sales training will focus on different aspects of the job, sales coaching should too. Creating an organised framework can help to ensure that coaching takes place before more costly performance issues arise.
Generally, it makes sense to divide coaching into distinct areas. For instance, you may separate behaviour coaching from lead and opportunity coaching. For each area, establish key metrics and step in if salespeople are falling short.
Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company. It specialises in providing exceptional sales coaching and helps organisations develop business strategies to achieve sales success. Monika enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to provide better sales and leadership skills training.