Coaching Sales People to Success

distribution-sales-management-coachingAccording to a recent CEB advisory brief coached employees are 17% more likely to achieve their goals than employees who receive little or no coaching. In the same brief, sales people saw their productivity raise from 22% from training alone to 88% with training and coaching combined.

Sales managers must wear many different hats. They must manage a team and help lead an organization. They must train their reps in various sales techniques and product details. Finally, to drive success they must coach their sales people individually. Yet, sales managers frequently rate their own customer and product knowledge very high, they often rate their coaching abilities critically low.

Both Coaches and Players Need Playbooks

Coaches don’t coach individual touchdowns; coaches coach the plays that lead to individual touchdowns. Many sales managers try to micromanage every deal. This leads to a dependence on the sales manager and also insecurity among your sales reps. But sales managers often lack the tools to be great coaches. Coaches and players need playbooks.

Here are three ways a robust CRM solutions can help you create, maintain and deploy your sales playbooks:

  • Outlining the steps of your sales cycle: Every organization has a different approach to their sales cycle, but all prospects must make a journey from unaware suspect to loyal customer. Your team needs to know what the stages are in your sales culture, how will you measure those stages and what activities are expected of them in each stage. Your CRM system is a powerful ally in this process because it allows you to quickly enter and track specific behaviors that you know will lead to success.
  • Create and deploy marketing and sales assets: You have a variety of assets at your disposal—emails, elevator pitches, call scripts, brochures, demonstrations—and you need to make sure that each of your reps can quickly and easily deploy them in a consistent manner. A CRM system helps you get the right message to the right prospect at the right time.
  • Focus on constant improvement: By tracking the stages, activities and success rates, you will be able to consistently improve the performance of your entire sales team. What behaviors do top reps have in common? What are lower performing reps missing in their playbooks?

Coach Based on Metrics and Behaviors

Obviously, a powerful CRM system gives you push-button access to the metrics you need to manage your team. But a CRM system can help with coaching in other ways as well.

The metrics you track demonstrate that you are objective and open in your criteria for judging the performance of your sales people. You also remove barriers to performance because your reps have access to the same information that you do. Good data creates the perfect environment for open conversations and collaboration, both hallmarks of great coaching.

Establish Cadence in Your Coaching

When you use your meetings for opportunities to coach your employees, you not only remove their frustration and add value, but you also re-recruit your best sales people. They remember why they went to work for you in the first place. Sales meetings become a consistent opportunity to raise their skill levels on a regular and recurring basis. They learn from you and each other how to target the best opportunities, how to build long-lasting relationships and how to improve deal profitability. Most importantly, the higher the job satisfaction the better they will represent your company to your customers.

Celebrate Wins to Reinforce Behavior

Let’s face it, winning is a lot more fun than losing. Yet we lose as many as four deals for every win. Life is too short not to celebrate those wins. Sales is hard and rife with rejection and frustration. Most sales managers don’t celebrate often enough. Maybe they only celebrate the big wins or they celebrate once the quarterly numbers are in hand. But that keeps the focus on large deals and top reps rather than the entire team.

The best managers know how to use their CRM system to help track many things to celebrate beyond big wins. Things like:

  • Increased margins
  • Month-over-month sales increases, regardless of total volume
  • Increase in net new business
  • Bringing lost customers back into the fold
  • Best new product launch
  • Highest on-time payments
  • Lowest cost per order

Get creative to show your team that you are emotionally invested in their success and you’ll be rewarded with consistently improving results.

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