How Can Coaching Help to Improve Sales Performance?
Written by Geoff Winthrop
As good as your sales team might be, when set against another sales team with an active sales coaching program, how well can your team compete? It’s easy to see how a new sales hire might benefit from guidance by those with more experience and knowledge. Yet even seasoned pros become better at their jobs after taking part in progressive training from a sales manager, designed to refine or strengthen their skills and work goals.
When sales reps get better at their job, the company they work for prospers as well.
Sales coaching isn’t restricted to improving an individual’s sales skills. Coaching also benefits businesses that are:
- Entering a new market
- Executing a new product launch strategy
- Expanding the range of products or services
Just as importantly, businesses leverage sales coaching to more clearly define strategic goals and link what individual salespeople are doing with the growth of the company.
With that said, here are 5 key reasons why sales coaching has become so important for any type of business:
It can move medium performers to “A-Player” status
In many businesses, there are sales superstars, under-performers and the rest. It’s the cadre of “decent” reps who can benefit most from coaching (though even the best can improve, too). When sales managers reserve a dedicated time — once a week or once a month — to listen in on conferences or ride along to a face-to-face client meeting, these men and women will gain powerful insights into the tweaks and adjustments that take their skills to the next level. That’s likely to also result in a greater number of sales conversions.
It helps to focus on what’s not working
Depending on the workplace culture and environment, some sales reps get caught up in quotas, number of calls, volume of sales, etc., and lose sight of the all-important customer relationship. Others get locked into unproductive sales techniques and don’t have the individual will (and time and resources) to change. Sales coach Alice Heiman notes other lurking problems for sales reps: “Do they need to improve their writing skills? What about their presentation skills? How about dealing with difficult situations?”
Whatever the issue, effective sales coaching hones in on what’s not working and provides a fresh perspective and insights that change undesired behavior.
It helps keep your team up to speed with changes in the Marketplace
Whether it’s the B2C or B2B landscape, conditions “on the ground” are always changing. The needs and preferences of buyers grow steadily more sophisticated. A truly adept sales rep might get there on his or her own, but in the vast number of situations, a coach with in-depth knowledge and experience can help sales reps keep current with evolving buyer expectations and demands.
It can boost sales reps’ morale and productivity
Too many sales reps decide to abandon their employers when left too long on their own, without the resources and support their competitors have. Sales coaching is a “loud-and-clear” statement from the business where developing the team’s skills is a top priority. Like any other employee, a sales rep responds favorably to this kind of support. Sales reps’ morale and productivity will blossom in an atmosphere based on ongoing learning and collaboration.
It contributes to improved talent retention
If your salespeople are coming and going, you obviously have a big problem. The time and expense of replacing sales reps can become prohibitive, not to mention the ground lost to competitors in the meantime. As your sales reps are re-engaged through coaching, they recognize the investment a business has made in them and — if there’s clear evidence of the broadening of their skills and knowledge — they are far less interested in exploring alternative employment.
As a way to accelerate sales rep performance, coaching has many clear-cut benefits. For many organizations, it’s become a must-have component of success.
Author bio: Geoff Winthrop serves as Partner and Executive Vice President at Acquirent, LLC. He brings a strong background in new business development, sales strategy and sales management to Acquirent and its clients. Today, Winthrop is highly involved in building and managing many of Acquirent’s client accounts.