What do the New York Mets, Philadelphia Flyers, and FC Barcelona all have in common?
They’re all sports teams, but more importantly: they’re all well-known sports teams headed by an expert coach. In fact, perhaps a few coaches! The truth is that every successful team needs a coach, whether we’re talking about sports or not.
In this article, we are going to cover the topic of sales coaching performance, that is how sales teams can actually measure the effectiveness of their coaching efforts.
What is sales coaching?
Sales coaching is a responsibility that managers take on to enable sales reps to achieve goals, improve performance, and develop necessary skills. Rather than just telling team members what to do, a coaching manager will offer ongoing guidance personalized for each sales representative.
Think of it as a kind of mentor that helps everyone on their team to score. This person (or people, if the team is large enough) focuses on self-assessment, self-improvement, discovery of natural strengths, and goal-setting. He or she also (ideally!) ensures that any training is effectively absorbed and put to use by salespeople.
Teams need a sales coach because…
Companies spend a lot of money on training, but research indicates that this training doesn’t produce the desired results. Implementing a sales coaching model will better ensure that sales training is continually reinforced instead of falling by the wayside. Sales coaching also affects employee retention; in fact, 60% of sales reps are more likely to leave their jobs if their manager is a bad coach.
It’s crucial that sales performance coaching be carried out dynamically and effectively in order to have the most beneficial impact.
Sales coaching tips
There are a lot of different sales coaching techniques; every industry, organization, and team might find one or another most practical. Some coaching models are report-oriented, some are focused more on methodology, and some are very structured. Find a flexible model that can be adapted to fit your sales process, and mix and match what works for you and your team. Meanwhile, keep some basic practices in mind:
- Keep a keen eye out for areas where reps need help.
- Use sales data to determine where to focus.
- Engage in one-on-one as well as group coaching.
- Focus on motivating rather than micromanaging.
- Identify top performers and give them opportunities to lead others.
For anyone unsure about their sales coaching technique, these tips are a great place to start.
Why is it important to measure sales coaching performance?
As with any coaching position, it’s critical to measure the quality of coaching taking place on a sales team. If sales representatives are underperforming, are uninspired, or consistently fail to meet quotas, it’s a strong indicator that good sales coaching is missing from the team.
Measuring sales coaching performance will tell you where there are pain points and where sales managers are leading well. Yet studies show that with the right coaching companies achieve almost 17 percent more annual revenue growth; and that those with dynamic coaching have 28 percent higher win rates.
Challenges of measuring sales coaching performance
When it comes to the challenges of measuring sales coaching performance, where should you begin? It’s not at all like using a meter stick to determine your height at the doctor; there are a multitude of factors to look at.
For starters, measuring coaching effectiveness is more difficult when there is a large team being coached. Studies show it’s difficult to maintain relationships with more than 150 people. Well, with that many people to get to know, how do you accurately determine if each and everyone is being coached effectively? And beyond that, how can you figure out what the problem is if some reps are doing great and others not so much — but all are being coached by the same manager?
Next, if you want to observe sales metrics to determine how well sales coaching is progressing, which ones should you look at? For example, should you place more importance on pipeline metrics or conversion rates; do you look at all sales or just high value deals? How do you go about organizing and comparing the information?
With so much to consider, it’s no surprise that many sales leaders are lost when it comes to tracking the impact of coaching and some don’t bother at all. Unfortunately, without seeing what changes coaching actually makes, it’s hard to keep it focused on driving more revenue.
That’s why we’re hosting a webinar with sales management experts Dr. Howard Dover and Jason Jordan about How to turn ad-hoc coaching into quota attainment.
On March 25th, they’ll be discussing the fine details of coaching for quota and getting measurable results. Come see how your sales team can get more ROI for time spent coaching!
The role of data in sales coaching performance
One thing’s for sure. Tracking sales performance for coaching requires good data. Typically, the best sales coaching software starts with — you guessed it! — customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM tools let sales representatives record more than just customer and prospect information, a flexible CRM like Salesforce can be used to store all of the touchpoints that occur throughout each sale.
That data can then be analyzed to understand where reps are performing well and where they’re having trouble. But it isn’t possible to just look at the raw data and see where things need to be improved—that’s where sales coaching software comes in.
Sales coaching software
There are a variety of different software platforms for sales coaching, with varying capabilities, but they have one goal—to help teams get bigger results from coaching.
Sales coaching software should help you track individual reps’ performance, first of all to see where reps need guidance, and then to see how much coaching is making an impact on their performance. More advanced platforms go even further, using AI to coach reps through deals with notifications about what to do next and contextual reminders about how to keep deals moving forward.
In our latest research on quota and coaching, we found that most sales teams are still using minimal tech stacks to support their coaching and still struggling to keep coaching focused enough to have an impact. 50% of the sales leaders we surveyed admitted that their coaching was completely ad-hoc.
To find out more about where most sales teams are going wrong with coaching and get the insights you need to coach your team towards revenue attainment, download the white paper.