Let’s say you want to become a more profitable sales coach in 2015. Take a bold approach and measure the effectiveness of your current sales coaching. Then you’ll have a more focused and profitable approach to your sales coaching improvement.
You can do this by measuring the current results from your sales coaching. As I share the 10 measures of successful sales coaching, you’ll quickly discover the areas where you can improve with measurable results.
The 10 measures of coaching are:
This one is a no-brainer.
If sales are improving, good for you. If sales have improved for your team, identify what it is that you are doing that is contributing to the increase and do more of it.
If your team’s sales are not improving, reach out to your salespeople and engage them in a dialogue of what they need from you to improve their sales results.
Are you imparting your knowledge or coaching your team’s sales thinking?
I typically find when sales are not going up, it’s because the sales managers are focused on imparting their knowledge rather than improving the sales thinking skills of the salespeople. Perhaps this is true for you. If so, adapt your sales coaching accordingly.
High performing salespeople thrive on their success.
When you coach high performers effectively, they sell more. And when they sell more, they become very loyal to you and your company since you helped them do better.
When high performers are not coached effectively, they typically avoid coaching. They continue to get the same results (great as they are) with no improvement. They plateau.
The weakness with this approach is that high performers don’t develop a sense of loyalty to you and/or your company. Instead, they become prey for headhunters.
If this is the case for high performers on your team, you’ll most likely find you’ve reduce their loyalty to the company with the deepest pockets.
When you coach salespeople effectively, they develop more trusting relationships with clients, better meet their clients’ needs and, as a by-product, create higher client satisfaction.
When effective sales coaching is happening, salespeople discuss the details of their specific sales conversations and focus on how to improve those conversations. This kind of targeted sales improvement ensures there is a higher level of client satisfaction.
If clients aren’t expressing a greater sense of satisfaction, consider adding a client-focus to your sales coaching conversations by getting your salespeople to discuss details about their specific sales interactions and how to improve them next time.
These kinds of sales coaching conversations will result in higher client satisfaction.
If you’ve had new members join your team, your coaching of those individuals needs to evolve to match those needs. You get the best results with new team members when you increase the frequency of your coaching and reduce the length of your coaching sessions.
When you coach your new team members this way, it typically takes less time to get them on board and running well.
If you find you are not able to reduce the time it takes to bring a new team member on board, you might want to focus on the frequency of your coaching of those new team members.
When you are a profitable sales coach, you focus on helping your team do a better job of their sales conversations. As you hear your salespeople speak, you discover patterns of what is going on in the marketplace.
Your knowledge of these market changes can become your team’s and your company’s competitive advantage. Discover them and plan with your team (and the person you report to) how you can be more proactive in addressing these market changes.
If you aren’t getting information from your team about market changes, it might just be a sign for you to get more specific in your sales coaching conversations.
When salespeople are coached well, they typically become more productive. They get the same amount done in less time, or get more done in the same time, because coaching causes them to think better and, as a by-product, they become more efficient.
If your team is not more productive, consider asking your team more about how they do things and what they ask. These drivers of their productiveness will help you coach them to be more efficient.
Trust is the foundation of any good coaching relationship. It causes team members to share more of what is working and not working for them so you can be more helpful. As well, when team members trust their manager, they say they treat clients better. Trust becomes not only “nice to have” between manager and salespeople but also essential for increased sales.
Short version: if you focus on the trust between you and your team, their morale will improve as well as their results. A nice win all the way round.
What’s your trust-building strategy?
When you coach your salespeople on a consistent basis, you hear the good and the bad of what is going on in their world. When they talk about the good, help them deconstruct what they did to contribute to their success so they become more aware of their best practices so they can do better by design.
If you are not developing a clear set of your team’s best practices, focus on asking better questions to uncover what is contributing to their success so it is more repeatable.
When you coach your team on a regular basis, it quickly becomes apparent if there are any poor job fits.
I often find that within 1 month of teaching a leader how to coach effectively they discover who on their team is not a good fit. Usually it’s met with surprise and concern when, in fact, it’s a natural consequence of good coaching.
And once you identify the poor job fit, you and your team member can work together to find a solution that works for all concerned.
If you’re not sure if there are any poor job fits on your team, consider coaching the team on a more regular basis. You’ll quickly discover who on your team is not as good a job fit as you may have thought.
Managers often share with me that after they learn how to sales coach effectively, they start to hear about problems that they had not heard about before. Often these managers express this with concern.
I reassure them that this is normal. I typically say, “The problems haven’t increased. Just your knowledge of the problems has. The problems have always been there.”
The good news is: your knowledge of the problems allows you and your company to be more proactive to address any issues and better serve clients.
If you are not hearing about problems, don’t take it as a good sign. Instead, increase your focus on asking better questions to understand the cause of lost sales or irate clients.
Go back over each of the 10 measures of coaching success and give yourself a score from 1 to 10 (1 being you’re not getting results and 10 being you have outstanding results). For the measures that you score lower than 7, develop a plan to help you become a more profitable coach.
Peri Shawn is a sales coaching thought leader who transforms the complexity of getting salespeople to perform better into the fewest number of action steps to help them sell more. Peri’s company, the Coaching and Sales Institute (CSI), has been in the sales coaching business for 25 years and is the sales training and coaching behind the launch of such products as the debit card and Blackberry in Canada. Peri has authored Sell More with Sales Coaching (Wiley, September 2013) as well as the three corporate guidebooks.