Sales Coaching Blog

Sales Coaching Part Five: The 5 High Pay-off Coaching Tools

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

April 9, 2014

Bill_Eckstrom_Headshot_2014_sWrapping up the sales coaching series today by sharing the tools a manager must use to help make the transition to a high performing coach. 

If you’ve been following this series, here is what you have hopefully learned to date:

  • Part one:  Why the sales leadership role has been grossly neglected
  • Part two:  Sales coaching research
  • Part three:  Developing a sales coaching methodology
  • Part four: The high pay-off sales coaching activities

Not in much of a “fluff” mood this morning, so I’ll get right down to the five high pay-off coaching tools used by high performing sales teams. 

Tool #1, Pre-call plans:

In order to make this tool effective, a sales producer must fill it out for each joint call where the coach is along, and the coach must review prior to every joint call. The elements to making this tool successful are:

  • Sales manager role in joint call—observer, support or lead
  • Detailed list of attendees, with links to LinkedIn profiles attached
  • Stage of sales process
  • How meeting was obtained
  • Goal of meeting/call
  • Any other items the sales rep wants their manager to be aware of

Tool #2, Post call feedback:

We know that oral feedback needs to occur after every joint call, but objective feedback also needs to occur a minimum number of times in a given year.  The factors that impact frequency are inside versus outside sales, number of reps on a team, geographic location of the reps/coach, etc.  EcSell has members that fill in objective feedback after every joint call and some that do so twice yearly with each rep.  Those are both extremes with most residing somewhere in the middle.  Though less than twice yearly is too little, the quality of the feedback is also critical.  We suggest rating the following on a 1-5 scale:

  • Quality of pre-call plan
  • Competitor knowledge
  • Industry knowledge
  • Sales methodology skills (break out each stage of your sales methodology and grade quality of each stage)
  • Administrative/reporting compliance

Tool #3, Career development plans:

Do you know the professional goals of those whom you coach?  Do you know what they want out of their life and career?  The #2 motivator that causes a rep to produce more is if they feel like they are making progress towards some career objective.  The challenge is that most coaches don’t know the goals of those on their team, and if goals are not known they cannot assist in their achievement.  Here are some questions that need to be documented with each member on your team at least annually:

  • What are your passions and motivations?
  • List your greatest talents and skills that should be utilized in your role
  • What is the most effective way for you to set goals?  How can coach assist?
  • What personal goals do you wish to share?
  • What do you get paid to do?
  • What is your personal production goal for the current year?
  • What obstacles could prevent you from achieving your goal?
  • What (fill in this blank with sales, coaching, etc.) skills do you need to further develop that would allow you to achieve that goal?
  • What other professional skills would you like to enhance/learn?
  • Is there anything else you would like to accomplish this next year?
  • Are there certain people/departments with whom you would like to work more closely?
  • Define “success” within your current role
  • Do you have a passion or goal to teach/develop others?
  • What areas of interest should we consider as we watch your career develop?
  • As you see things today, what are your professional aspirations?

Tool #4, Sales skills audit:

When doing joint work with reps, most coaches don’t have the chance to witness all the skills that sales reps must possess and execute against to maximize performance.  This is why a minimum of yearly coaches must provide objective measurements, along with examples and action steps with respect to each required skill.  This is not likely something you will get from your HR department, so create a spreadsheet that encompasses everything on your post call feedback form along with anything else required for reps to succeed. 

Tool #5, Sales activity calculator:

Perhaps the most basic tool coaches need to have their reps execute.  This takes what a rep wants/needs to produce and through a mathematical equation breaks it down to a common denominator activity set.  It may be phone calls, phone appointments, needs analysis meetings held, etc.  For example, if a rep has a $1,000,000 goal, what does that mean in daily phone calls?  How many meeting with new prospects does one need to have?  How many meetings with existing customers does one need to hold?  Some reps may not need this level of detail, but many do.  Whether used or not, having reps walk through this exercise is at the least, enlightening for both rep and coach.

All the above should not be optional tools for any manager.  Remember, a sales manager gets paid to “hit a number”, but the essence of their job is to always maximize performance.  So, whether you are on plan or off plan should not be why a manager needs to execute the above—it is because a manager needs to act like a coach, and coaches always want to win!

To see how leading sales management teams are instituting a coaching methodology that employs the above tools—click here to see the new ONE-UP coaching cloud.

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