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    A Sales Coaching Methodology: One Level Up

    by Sarah Wirth / November 5, 2018

    Editor's Note: This blog has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on August 6, 2020. Photo by Hattie Kingsley Photography. 

    Millions of dollars and hours are spent each year by sales departments on training, with much of this directed toward teaching sales people a sales methodology and the skills to execute it. So much time and energy is spent here for one simple reason is - because it gets resultsHowever, the best sales methodology and training in the world can lose much of its impact without an effective sales coaching methodology to reinforce it. (Tweet this)  Unfortunately, a sales coaching methodology is a foreign concept to most organizations.

    Part of the reason for this missed opportunity is that many organizations do not know the key activities managers should be doing with their reps. Instead, individual sales managers are left to figure out how to spend their time to help their teams become more successful.  And because there are not defined activities to complete, there is also no accountability around the execution of the sales coaching that can help a team perform at the highest level.  

    Just think, however, if you could have the same clarity and accountability around the execution of a sales coaching methodology that you do around the execution of your sales methodology.  How much more effective could your sales organization be?

    According to EcSell Institute research, there are specific sales coaching tasks, if performed consistently and effectively, which can significantly impact the motivation and performance of a sales team. Our sales coaching methodology focuses on teaching sales managers how to maximize motivation and productivity of their people. 

    5 sales Coaching activities to Maximize Motivation:

    1) One-to-one meetings 

    Regular, individual meetings with reps to discuss personal updates, sales pipeline, customer issues and overall needs/questions ensures that consistent, proactive coaching is happening between reps and managers (Recommendation: complete weekly) Learn more about this activity here

    2) Team meetings 

    Team meetings provide a great opportunity for sharing of best practices, as well as ensure consistent communication of important information. (Recommendation: complete weekly) Learn more about this activity here

    3) Joint call plans 

    Joint call plans with sales people provide a perfect opportunity for sales managers to observe and coach a sales person's sales skills. Be sure to complete a pre-call plan to define goals and roles, as well as do a post-call debrief. (Recommendation: complete every other month) Learn more about this activity here

    4) Career development discussions 

    A manager who helps a rep achieve their career goals is seen as a better leader/coach.  Take the time to learn about what reps want to accomplish personally and professionally to support them in their goals. (Recommendation: complete annually) Learn more about this activity here

    5) Sales call evaluations

    The purpose of a this is to allow the sales coach and the sales person to discuss what took place during a sales call encounter with a client. By doing so, sales people gain insight into what they did well and where they can/should improve during their client interactions. L

    To learn more about the frequency and quality of these activities, click here

    It’s not just enough to teach sales managers how to do these activities. There must be accountability around their consistent execution.  It begins with clarity of expectations.  For example, should one-to-one meetings be completed weekly or every other week? How many joint sales calls should a sales manager do with each rep on an annual basis?  The answer to these questions will depend, in part, on the structure and size of your sales team (the above recommendations are for an outside sales team of 8 sales people per manager). 

    Once expectations have been created, there must be consistent tracking around how, how often and how effectively these activities are completed.  Use consistent forms for completing each activity and have sales managers track their execution of activities at least weekly. A systematic approach, like the one in EcSell Institute’s ONE-UP Sales Coaching Cloud, can ensure that activities are done well and done often enough.

    Take a deeper dive into the EcSell methodology, activities, and research in our best-selling book:

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    Sarah Wirth

    Sarah Wirth

    Sarah Wirth is the president of Ecsell Institute and has over 20 years of experience in employee assessment, leadership development, sales executive coaching, and customer service. She has presented to executives from across the globe with organizations such as Mercedes Benz, Estee Lauder, Ritz Carlton, Cheesecake Factory and many more.