Sales Coaching Blog

Back to the Basics: The Importance of Coaching to the Sales Process

Posted by Sarah Wirth

March 14, 2013

Sarah WirthMy 8-year-old, Miles, is on a traveling baseball team and this Spring they are selling raffle tickets to raise money for their uniforms, tournament entry fees and other expenses.  My husband, always in his “Sales VP” mode, decided this was a great opportunity to develop what he is sure is our son’s budding potential as a future sales superstar.  Excited about his plan, I listened in as he coached Miles through each step in the sales process.

First, Miles had to identify his target market.  Like any astute kid, Miles knew right away who was likely to most easily part with their money for him – his big collection of grandparents!  After he had identified his prospects, Miles’ next step was to create his sales script.  My husband helped him think through what he wanted to say about his purpose and the benefits of what he was selling.  Next, Miles did a little role play with me and I had to laugh when he finished his pitch by saying “How many raffle tickets can I put you down for?”  Miles took my laughter as him doing something wrong, so I reassured him that I really liked how he assumed the sale, rather than asking for it.  Finally, Miles practiced his upsell by letting me know that I could increase my chances of willing by purchasing another ticket, which also drew a chuckle from me, but one which I quickly stifled so he wouldn’t think he was doing something wrong.

Role play with mom went well so Miles was off to make his first call.  My husband, the ever present sales coach, decided to listen in so he could offer feedback.  Suffice it to say, Miles made his dad very proud by sticking to his script and even using his upsell technique to get another raffle ticket sale out of his grandmother.  With a little feedback between each call on what he did well and what he should tweak between the next call, Miles ran through his entire prospect list.  And by the time he was done, he had exceeded his sales quota and was planning to order more tickets.  Most importantly, he was beaming with pride and thinking that selling was really fun.

Now I’m telling you this story not to brag about my son (well, not ONLY to brag about my son – I’m his mom, I can’t help it!), but because I think it’s a great reinforcement of the coaching basics that easily get lost between putting together territory plans, ensuring CRM usage and analyzing projected sales numbers.  EcSELL Institute research tells us that these kinds of things are important, but they are way down on the list of what really impacts your sales.  Instead, it’s effective sales process coaching that has the strongest correlation to both the increased motivation and, ultimately, the sales success of your reps.  So as you finish reading this blog post today, take a few minutes to consider the following questions?

  • When was the last time you rode along or listened along on a sales call?
  • When was the last time you walked through the key steps in the sales process with a rep and gave them in-depth feedback on their execution of them?
  • When was the last time you reviewed their sales pitch with them?
  • When was the last time you role played the close and the upsell with them?

If you are not doing all of these things on a regular basis with all of your reps, you are missing the most important aspect of being a sales manager.  There is nothing you will do on a day-in and day-out basis that will have a bigger impact on your team’s ability to hit their sales goal than effective sales process coaching.

Topics: sales training, collaborative leadership, Sales Coaching Model, sales processes, Leadership Development, sales coaching

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