Millions of dollars and hours are spent each year by sales departments on training, with much of this directed toward teaching reps 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 results. However, the best sales methodology and training in the world can lose much of its impact without an effective sales coaching methodology to reinforce it. Yet, a sales coaching methodology is a foreign concept to most organizations.
Part of the reason for this missed opportunity is that many sales organizations do not know the key activities sales 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 execute:
- 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)
- 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)
- Joint sales calls – Joint sales calls with reps provide a perfect opportunity for sales managers to observe and coach a rep’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)
- 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)
- Sales skills audits – Giving a rep feedback and improvement ideas about their sales skills is key to helping them improve performance. Document their progress and offer specific recommendations on all key selling abilities. (Recommendation: complete annually)
It’s not just enough to teach sales managers how to do these activities however. 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 reps 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 Platform, can ensure that activities are done well and done often enough.
To learn more about One-Up, check out this short video: http://www.ecsellinstitute.com/one-up