Sales is at an inflection point. Buyers are engaged later, sales reps are less experienced, and on average, they only make 68 percent of their quotas. This all means that sales coaching is absolutely critical to proper training reinforcement, skill building, knowledge development, accurate forecasting, and ultimately sales success.
Top sales organizations excel by taking advantage of formalized sales coaching frameworks. These companies experience 58.8% win rates for forecasted deals, an increase of 13.5% over those using an unstructured coaching process. That’s a significant performance boost, and could be the difference between a company that thrives and one that struggles. So what exactly do these sales coaching models consist of?
Well-defined coaching areas
Coaching isn’t only about generating leads and opportunities. The only way a rep can be a great seller is if they can close deals. Therefore, sales coaching must cover skills like:
- How to advance leads and opportunities through each stage of your sales process.
- Funnel coaching for accurate forecasting.
- Skill and behavior coaching to keep up with ever-changing buyer habits, behaviors, and requirements.
- Customer retention, relationship building, upselling, and cross-selling skills for reps in success roles.
A proper sales coaching plan specifically defines, addresses, and educates reps in each of these areas.
Alignment of coaching and sales processes
Effective sales processes mirror the customer’s buying processes and therefore your coaching processes should as well. For greatest impact, coaching should always be based on the sales process so all necessary skills, techniques, knowledge, and insights are consistent.
Development of sales management skills
Sales coaches need to be coached as well, as a team led by an unskilled manager is destined for a difficult path.
The best managers are the ones who are always learning and developing their own skills so that they can better serve their team. This is even more significant for managers who were promoted from an account executive position, as they likely only have experience being coached, rather than coaching.
Periodic reviews and updates
Industry happenings, competition, buyer purchasing processes, economic trends prospect interests, buyer habits, and purchasing processes. Therefore successful sales coaching programs include a mechanism through which the program itself and be reviewed and adjusted in order to meet the needs of sellers.
Use of technology
Technology facilitates productive coaching. It automates the gathering of key data and call recordings and simplifies report generation to easier to identify key coaching moments. It also provides easy access to predictive analytics for coaching based on leading indicators so problems can be identified before they begin. This allows course corrections and improved success rates.
Instead of sales training that uses teaching instead of discussion, today’s high-performing sales leaders implement coaching that involves significant input from reps. Coaching goals are set and agreed upon by both the coach and team members. This increases rep participation and buy-in, resulting in greater outcomes.
One size does not fit all. That’s why the latest sales coaching models focus on each individual rep. Not every rep is at the same skill level, has the same amount of knowledge, or the same needs as the next. Therefore for the greatest impact on team performance, each must receive individualized coaching.
Leveraging technology allows easy access to metrics that facilitate projections based on previous performance and trends. Viewing performance and activities through this lens makes it possible to proactively make adjustments instead of doing so after-the-fact, accelerating sales rep growth and improvements.
Incorporating a formal sales coaching model that includes all these elements will boost sales rep performance, productivity and bottom line results. Have you implemented a sales coaching program like this? Let us know in the comments below.