Many first-line sales managers don’t really know what to do when top performers on their team stumble. Most of them feel comfortable when coaching rookies or average performers. However, they aren’t as confident about how to coach an experienced seller with a strong record of success, especially when a high performer falters.
The reason for this is simple. Most sales managers, especially those new to the position, mistakenly believe that coaching is equivalent to providing good advice based on their own past success and experience. As a result, when working with someone who already has a good sales track record and considerable experience, many sales managers are at a loss about how best to coach a veteran performer.
Providing useful advice is certainly a desirable outcome of coaching, but most sales managers need to rethink how they go about doing this. Effective coaching starts first with establishing standards of excellence and coming to an agreement with sales people about what those standards require.
Coaching sales behavior against agreed-upon standards enables managers to help each sales person, regardless of their performance history. This will help a sales person come to their own realization of what they can do to improve.
It is first important to have agreed-upon expectations for how your sales people should engage with customers and how your sales managers should engage with their sales people.Standards for effective sales engagement should include:
With clear standards, your sales managers then have objective criteria against which performance issues they will need to assess and diagnose, regardless of any sales person’s tenure or experience.
By examining each seller’s pipeline shape, managers can identify skill, time and activity management issues. Standards enable your sales managers to proactively identify issues and prescribe corrective action before emerging issues grow into big problems.
Effective coaching entails observing what happened relative to a standard, knowing why it happened and then reaching an agreement with the seller on how they can comply better with expectations.
If the manager’s diagnosis is based on objective criteria and accurate observations, then a high-performing sales person will be more open to listening and acting.
Good coaching is both a science and an art. While coaching to objective standards is important, there’s also a human side to coaching. It’s important to understand the preferred work style of each sales person, so that the sales manager can coach them effectively. Using an assessment tool like DISC can help sales managers better understand each seller’s preferred style and how to best align with those in their charge.
Too many sales managers rely only on informal, on-the-spot coaching. The best sales managers also establish a regular pattern for formal review of pipelines and opportunities, taking the time to prepare for each coaching conversation.
This comprehensive 70 page ebook will answer every single question you have ever had about sales coaching.
Included in this Ultimate Guide to Sales Coaching are detailed approaches, features, benefits of sales coaching programs. Plus templates, worksheets, and more - all to help you identify your sales coaching needs. We've also included reviews of the 15 most popular sales coaching programs to help you decide which sales coaching company is right for you.
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