We’ve done a lot of research recently about sales coaching. Our research, and that of many others, would suggest that effective coaching is one of the most effective investments a sales organization can make. However, we’ve found that while most people understand the importance, rarely does this topic move from the ‘important’ to the ‘urgent’ pile. [That, by the way, was why we added Dealmaker Coach Me to the Dealmaker sales performance automation platform.]
I’ve recounted the benefits before, but they are worth restating. According to the Sales Executive Council, when coaching is added, sales productivity is improved by 88%. As a result of coaching Return on Investment in sales goes up 27%, according to Gallup. And, where sales coaching is involved, customer loyalty improves by 56%.
One the interesting things we’ve measured is who gets coached. Usually it’s those who ask for it – and typically these are the folks who are most interested in self-improvement, and in truth, are the people who need it least. The other group who receives sales coaching attention are the worst sales performers, and unfortunately sales coaching is rarely going to be the panacea that solves all of their ills.
Our research would suggest that the greatest return you get from your coaching efforts happens when you ‘coach the core’, that 60% or 80% of performers who are in the middle of the performance distribution curve. Typically they have inclination and work ethic that are necessary to success, but they just need some guidance. The good news here, of course, is that this group represents the bulk of your sales team, and if you can improve their performance, the results can be dramatic.
Here are 10 ‘best-practice’ guidelines we’ve learned that you might consider.
- Don’t target lowest or highest performers
- Transform coaching from “important” to “urgent and consistent”
- Differentiate coaching from performance management
- Continuous must be a process – embedded in normal workflow
- It’s not “informal” sales training
- Specify behavior change: Don’t teach sales tactics
- Don’t take over the deal
- Formulate a standard approach based on infrastructure
- Focus on highest-value activities
- Leverage intelligent technology for a consistent approach and to improve the baseline of common coaching. [Blatant promo for Dealmaker Coach Me]
I’d love to know whether you are actively coaching – and how it’s working for you.
Please let me know.