Sales Coaching – Stop Throwing Away Your Sales Training
How Sales Coaching Maximizes Sales Training
Developing a strong sales team requires a motivated sales staff, solid sales training, experience and support systems to keep the team on track. While sales talent develops from implementing all of these processes, most sales training efforts fail to reach their objectives because of the absence of sales coaching.
Neil Rackham, an internationally recognized leading authority on consultative selling, conducted a study indicating that if there was no sales coaching post-training, no reinforcement of what had been taught, the salesperson lost 87% of the knowledge he or she had acquired during training. (Mathematically, that’s a loss of 87 cents on every dollar invested in formal training). Given this startling figure, the need for the reinforcement of attending sales courses with sales coaching becomes very apparent.
Sales managers are usually in a position where the senior leadership in their company places the high priority on reporting numbers. However, often these number-crunching exercises can produce a false sense of security. Certainly, reporting is necessary but understanding and keeping a strong sales culture is equal if not more important.
What DOES work, and what DOES produce results is focused sales coaching with the sales staff and the sales managers. Sales coaching can be intense and challenging but done well; sales coaching provides the positive results senior leadership needs.
As with traditional one on one life coaching, sales coaching will create favorable outcomes by starting with the establishment of clear goals. Similarly, as in one on one coaching, the sales coach is not responsible for establishing what these goals are or should be.
Rather, the sales coach guides his or her team through the development of goals in conjunction with input from management. With goals in hand, the sales coach also helps the team develop the actions that will help them reach these benchmarks.
Sales coaching requires taking the time to focus on the very specific steps each member of a sales team needs to take to achieve success. This allows the sales coach to establish a close relationship with each sales team member and address individual issues that a team member may have.
By setting goals and actions as a team, the sales coach in partnership with the sales team can create a sense of team ownership for the outcomes. Ongoing implementation of the agreed action steps by the team and sales coach will naturally lead to the achievement of the overall sales goals.
Old style Company Management can make the mistake of thinking that sales coaching is about TELLING team members what they need to do. This old school methodology simply does not work anymore. The best sales coach’s work with their teams to understand current trends and issues, while together the team and the sales coach explore what they feel is working, and what is not working.
In the final step, the sales coach and sales team can take the results of this analysis and make adjustments to their current action plan. An effective sales coach guides their team by continuously asking questions to help team members see the process with clarity, and be aware of when possible new approaches need to be considered.
Unique in the world of sales coaching is the need to focus balancing time on both the early stages of “deals” as well as the late or end stages of deals. Sales people naturally gravitate towards focusing on “closing the deal”, “getting the sale”. However depending on the products sales cycle some goods or services take some time actually to sell through. In professional sales coaching, the coach will monitor this sales process ensuring sales staff are monitoring how and where they spend time.
For example, to be successful in Real Estate sales, the real estate sales agent needs to have homes to show and close sales but must always be prospecting for new listings. If a sale coach sees a team member forgetting the fundamentals of prospecting they can bring it to the agent’s attention.
This certainly is reflected in the effective sales coaching and sales training concept of “low hanging fruit.” Who are the individuals or companies that are ripe and ready to buy now?
There is a myriad of ways sales coaching can take place, and a multitude of formats the sales coach can use. What needs to be remembered is for a company to improve their bottom line consistently; engaging in sales coaching is a long-term and necessary investment that pays high dividends.