Your weeks are jam packed and you’re challenged to squeeze in the amount of individual coaching that you know you should. The ever growing size of the typical sales team certainly doesn’t help. The Bridge Group found that the average manager to rep ratio increased by 12%, to 8 reps per manager. Do you spend more time helping reps close more deals or working with them to elevate their selling skills in general? They need and deserve both, but you only have so many hours in the day, week, and month. Well, you aren’t alone. According to a study by the Sales Management Association, managers spend under four hours per week coaching their entire team. That adds up to less than half the suggested 3-hours per rep per month. But, you know that consistent coaching increases rep productivity and of course you want those results. But how can you do that without cloning yourself? One great option that’s gaining popularity is peer-to-peer (P2P) coaching.
What is P2P coaching?
Peer-to-peer coaching is exactly what it sounds like. It’s where your reps have a chance to provide feedback and advice to each other. If you’ve been coaching your team members, they already know what to look for. Plus, they all do the same job and are able to understand the challenges each other face on a daily basis. P2P is a lot like what new hires often do when shadowing an experienced sales rep, except they aren’t necessarily watching each other while they are actually working.
What are the benefits?
- Is relevant, useful, and sticky – When reps help other reps solve real-time problems they’re facing at the moment, feedback is applied immediately. This makes P2P coaching a form of real-time training, resulting in a higher learning retention rate. The fact that the rep with the problem needs to use the information right away provides them with immediate practice that reinforces the lesson so it’s easily remembered.
- Allows your ‘B’ players to learn from your stars— Your sales team has its star players who consistently crush quota and others who are constantly striving to improve their performance. What better way for your ‘B’ players to learn than from your top performers? They can get answers to their questions, listen to their call recordings, and receive feedback on their performance. This gives them an easily-accessible resource, examples of approaches, responses to emulate, and the ability to improve faster.
- Reinforces and rewards excellent performers –Adding call recordings to your library of examples, for new and improving reps to learn from, is a wonderful way to reward and recognize your top reps. Asking them to coach their peers is another terrific method of positive reinforcement as well.
- Takes pressure off you, the manager – As I mentioned earlier, you’re stretched thin enough already. Having P2P coaching relieves some of the pressure to increase your sales coaching activities by supplementing them. It allows you to focus your efforts on other coaching activities with individuals and your entire team.
- Increases rep engagement – A recent study by Quantum Workplace and Fuel50 revealed that reps who prefer coaching from peers are 8 percent more engaged than those who don’t. This means your reps will be more involved and enthusiastic. Who doesn’t want to have team members that feel that way about their work?
- Creates trusted relationships and a stronger team – When your reps work together to help each other improve, they develop a trust in one another. You’ll have a stronger team in terms of their relationship and their results.
- Makes reps more self-aware – When peers coach their peers they become more aware of their own knowledge. As a result they pay closer attention to what they say and do as well as what they don’t say and do. This can influence their actions and behaviors, helping them improve their performance.
P2P helps scale sales coaching and promotes a coaching culture
I’ve talked about how to scale sales coaching effectively previously, but how does peer-to-peer coaching help? When team members locally and globally are encouraged to coach each other it becomes a habit. This promotes a coaching culture. I mentioned the sharing of call recordings above. An excellent way to do this is by creating a searchable library of recordings that reps can access on demand. This is an easy way to share best practices across your team or your entire organization. Include examples of the best prospecting calls, the best pitch, an effective discovery call, how to handle common objections, how to qualify or disqualify prospects, how to close the sale, and more.
Peer-to-peer is a great addition to regular, consistent sales coaching. It also frees you up for higher level skills development or tactical discussions during individual coaching sessions. You may not be able to provide the quantity of coaching needed with an ever-growing team but with P2P you’re able to provide better quality. P2P coaching helps fill in the coaching gap so that your reps receive the proper amount without you having to provide it all.
Are you ready to give peer-to-peer sales coaching a try? If so, watch for my next article, where I’ll be discussing tools and strategies to facilitate P2P coaching for your team.