Are you suffering from lackluster sales and struggling to find a way to fix the problem?

Not sure what sales training efforts are resulting in revenue gains (and which ones aren’t)?

You’re definitely not alone!

According to an Accenture survey of sales executives, “more than 41 percent need improvement in growing current revenue streams.”

Guess what?

There is a proven way to improve sales performance and increase revenue. Top performing sales organizations are already using this method to get results.

You could help your company join their ranks. Once you understand what they’re doing differently and why they’re doing it that way, you’ll be able to deliver sales training that gets real-world results.

However, the problem is...

Sales Training Often Produces Low ROI

Let’s be clear.

In many companies, sales reps are simply not meeting quota. Global research and advisory firm SiriusDecisions, predicts that 54% of sales reps won’t meet quota this year.

Why?

Many sales reps’ selling skills need improvement but existing training isn't resulting in behavior change.

As you may have noticed, often there is little or no transfer of knowledge, skills and attitudes following sales training. In other words, behavior in the workplace hasn’t changed as a consequence of training. This issue has been a thorn in the side of L&D professionals.

Here are two more reasons you may not be getting the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to sales training:

  • If you’re using event-based training, participants forget much of what they have learned shortly after the training event. When you rely on event-based training without enough post-training reinforcement, you’re setting your sales force up for failure.
  • Successfully changing specific behaviors requires a process, not a one-time event.

High-performance sales organizations know this, so they instead of delivering training and development opportunities sporadically, they keep frontline sales managers actively involved in the training, reinforcement and measurement process.

But here’s the thing. Often sales managers are not prepared to handle that responsibility. They don’t have the skills and knowledge required for success as a sales manager.

That’s why more and more companies are training sales managers to be effective sales coaches.

Bottom line: The #1 way to improve sales effectiveness is to train sales reps properly, reinforce that training, and observe them in the field putting it to use. To be successful, that process must involve regular sales coaching by the sales manager.

What Is It About Sales Coaching That Makes It So Valuable?

So what’s the big deal about sales coaching?

After all, a sales rep can either sell or they can’t right?

Wrong.

There’s room for improvement, even among professionals. That’s why professional athletes have coaches. Let that sink in. Professionals at the top of their game that have been playing the same sport competitively for a decade or more have coaches.

Why?

Obviously, the athlete knows the rules of the game. The coach probably isn't teaching them anything new about the sport. The coach likely isn’t even better at the sport than the athlete they're coaching.

So what's the point?

The point is coaching helps you master what you’ve been taught and perform at a higher level.

Consider this video on John Wooden - a highly revered coach:

"Execute what you've been taught."

A coach's job is to help you get better results. They work with you to overcome obstacles and help you achieve your maximum potential. And just like professional athletes need coaching to stay on top of their game, sales pros need coaching too.

In fact, according to research from the EcSell Institute, coaching has the single biggest impact on a sales rep’s motivation to sell more and managers either promote or hinder performance by how well they coach.

That’s a shame because proper sales coaching is uniquely positioned to address the problems plaguing reps and dampening sales performance.

A sales manager who has been trained on how, when, and where to coach can help salespeople overcome obstacles and develop necessary behavior changes.

Still not convinced?

Research shows that effective sales coaching can increase top-line revenue by up to 20 percent and sales managers can improve the performance of 60 percent to 80 percent of the sales reps through sales coaching.

5 Easy Tips For Better Sales Coaching

So, let’s see how you can avoid wasting your time and money and get bottom line results from sales coaching.

  1. Invest in sales management training. Specifically, get managers trained on how to do tactical sales coaching that helps your sales reps polish their selling skills and close knowledge gaps that are hindering their success.
  2. Put in the time. Sales managers have many responsibilities. Don’t let administrative tasks get in the way of revenue growth. Sales managers should spend 25-40% of their time on sales coaching.
  3. Use sales coaching to connect sales training to the real world. Make sure reps follow your company's sales methodology and account planning processes and apply the lessons taught in training.
  4. Integrate sales coaching with sales training and business processes. Develop a coaching methodology that is structured, tracked and measured for effectiveness.
  5. Sales managers add value to instructor-led training. When you train sales managers on how, when, where to coach reps, they can help reinforce the ILT. For example, by accompanying a rep on a sales call or using video to capture their sales presentation, sales managers can pinpoint specific areas where the rep can improve.

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(image credit: Anthony Sills)

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