It’s inevitable: sales teams aren’t going to hit every single goal all the time. Naturally, sales leaders will take this as an opportunity to hold an “all hands” meeting where they give a pep talk to try to get their team out of a funk.
Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, this isn’t the best solution for getting back on track. When a sales team doesn’t meet their goals, it usually isn’t because morale isn’t high, it’s more likely to be something deeper and more systemic. For best results, sales leaders should focus on coaching reps to perform better so they don’t miss quota to begin with.
For a successful coaching strategy, it’s important to remember that behaviors don’t change overnight. Coaching is a process, it takes time, planning and thought. One approach is to divide a coaching program into discrete steps that are implemented over time. Step one may be to determine the sales competencies you want your reps to improve so you can measure their progress.
Once the competencies are determined, it’s time to put the plan into action. Here’s a four-step program for coaching best-practices:
1. Lead by Example
In order to know how to sell, sales reps need to learn by example. They need to see what “good” looks like and how to mirror that behavior onto their sales calls. So, how exactly do you give them an example? One of the most effective ways is to have a top sales rep record a discovery call or sales presentation to share with the rest of the team. From there, key points can be highlighted, other reps can ask questions and managers can become involved too. Communication across all parties is crucial for reps to understand what a best-practice looks like. Once they cross their t’s and dot their i’s, they’re ready to practice on their own.
2. Respond to Reps
Now that reps have a better idea of how to sell, it’s time for them to practice. Using the tenets of modern learning, reps can rehearse anytime and anywhere and submit their rehearsed videos to their coaches for feedback and scoring. Not only should reps share with their managers, but also with their peers. Doing so promotes additional feedback and can help reps build their skills and confidence.
As a coach, it’s crucial to focus on strengths while offering constructive criticism. Yes, it’s important for reps to hear where they need improvement, but it’s just as critical to let them know where they’re doing well. Providing a score that takes into account how their doing in each key competency helps, along with point-in-time feedback that highlights both good and not-so-good elements of their effort.
3. Rehearse and Repeat
After the first round of rehearsing and feedback, it’s time for reps to practice their pitch until their managers agree they’re ready to take their skills to the next level. In this stage, it’s important to identify and coach the competencies that create a successful effort, so reps know exactly what to do once their training wheels are off. As soon as they’re riding solo, it’s no longer practice, it’s the real deal. They need the experience and confidence to deliver a well-practiced pitch.
4. Measure Sales Results
As time progresses, reps should start to see a difference in their sales efforts and it’s up to you as a coach to measure their growth. However, it’s important to remember that “success” isn’t defined by the number of deals a rep makes; it may be the amount of time that a rep takes to move an opportunity from stage to stage may shorten, or the value or quantity of deals in the pipeline goes up. These small steps lead to revenue gains and most definitely reflect the results of successful coaching. However, if there’s no evidence of improvement, it may be time to revisit the root causes and start back from square one. Coaching is constant, so it’s important to never lose sight of it.
A version of this post was originally published on the Allego Blog. You can read the original post here.