By David Wuensch.
“Helping small B2B Business Owners make their sales team better” is the primary goal of my business. As the Sales Manager of your small B2B Business, a great way to improve your existing sales team is effective Sales Coaching. Here is what Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson shared in The Challenger Sale:
“The data from our research suggests that the median performers on your sales force could see a performance boost of as much as 19 percent given a significant improvement in the coaching they receive.”
“What the data tells us is this: Good coaches make people want to stay. Bad coaches, on the other hand, create a fundamentally demoralizing environment and drive people from the organization. This is true not just for our low performers, but also for our core and star performers.”
There are three hurdles that we need to clear to be successful sales coaches.
First, we must make time to coach our salespeople. Sales Managers frequently struggle with this, and if you wear the hat of small B2B Business owner and Sales Manager, it makes it even tougher. There is no more valuable activity you can do as a Sales Manager than taking time to meet with your salespeople one-on-one. There is no magic here. You simply must make it a priority.
Second, It’s not about you. Sales Coaching is all about the other person. Sound familiar? Just like selling, sales coaching is more about the other person than it is about you. At the beginning of your relationship with each salesperson, it is important to get to know what makes them tick through your interviews and assessments. Learn as much as you can as fast as you can. Encourage them to complete an Individual Goal Setting Exercise. What is their why? Continue to get to know them by spending time with them and observing them in action.
Third, you need to work at being an effective Sales Coach. Just as your salespeople need to always be improving their sales craft, we always need to be improving our sales coaching craft. Here are five ingredients to aid your sales coaching success.
1. Enroll them in the coaching process. Coaching is about helping them be a better salesperson. Are they willing to discuss how the two of you can work together and how you can support them so they can achieve the results they want? Until they are willing to do this, it may not be worth your time. They need to be enrolled in the process.
2. Seek to understand their current situation. Take time to gain answers to these two questions. What is going on in their world? What is on their mind?
3. Gain their ideas and path to the desired results. Help them define their goals and strategies that will tap into their purpose and optimize the results they seek. They need to be able to articulate their view on “how” to execute their “why”. As a coach, you are there to help them, not do it for them.
4. Guide them, not govern them. Listen, advise and help develop them along the way. This may be toughest step of all. Sometimes you will want to tell them what to do and how to do it. Other times you will want to do it for them. The goal is to refrain from telling and doing as much as possible and guide through good questioning.
5. Motivate and inspire them. Inspire them. Motivate them. Tap into their “Why”. Catch them being successful. Encourage and support their growth while holding them accountable to their plan.
Enrolling your salespeople in regular one-on-one sessions and using these five ingredients will help you make your sales team better one salesperson at a time.