In past articles, I shared sales coaching strategies centered on coaching preparation and where to apply precious coaching time. All of this is based on my experiences with a large technology company who conducted a major coaching development program for over 400 sales managers globally. With a large, complex sales organization, it is a real challenge to ensuring coaching becomes a strong component to sales success.
Recent studies show that sales coaching is an important management tool for improving sales effectiveness. The same studies also show that transferring selling skills from training and coaching efforts loses out from a lack of management reinforcement, inadequate selling models of what it takes to make successful sales, and too much focus by sales leaders on strategy, or “deal” coaching, versus skills development.
To overcome these challenges, the organization I worked with worked to incorporate its sales process, selling skills, and coaching training into one integrated program. They also established a comprehensive set of performance standards unique to their business to increase the overall impact of coaching efforts on the job.
Here are some of the specific strategies used:
- Defining for sales managers the high-impact coaching activities for each stage of their sales process and business areas.
- Linking selling skills training to their established performance standards to create clear selling expectations and targets for coaching feedback.
- Requiring sales managers to participate in sales training sessions by playing customers and coaches during sales rep skill practices.
- Monitoring and balancing, by senior sales leadership, the amount of time sales managers spend coaching opportunity strategies versus skill development.
- Incorporating sales automation and support tools into all sales and strategic training.
Other efforts focused on simplifying and streamlining these strategies to keep everyone focused and involved, all helping to increase the adoption of the behavior changes they were looking for.
Try to implement any of the performance standards above into your sales coaching efforts to see if they will help improve the results your team experiences.