Sales Coaching Plan Guide
A good Sales Coaching Plan is an essential building block for Sales Managers looking to develop and grow sales teams. Numerous studies show that Coaching provides a great return on investment with Harvard University claiming an 88% increase in productivity when combined with training, and Fortune Magazine claiming a conservative return of six times the cost of coaching. The process and art of Sales Coaching is however not that easy and can in fact be very difficult depending on the person being coached and the circumstances. The Sales Coaching Plan below is a proven framework that we have developed over the years and have used thousands of times with thousands of Sales People. We suggest you try our Sales Coaching Plan and if you are still having problems – give us a call and we’ll talk you through it, whether you’re the Sales Manager or the Sales Person.
What is a Sales Coaching Plan?
Sales Coaching is the process of supporting Sales People to achieve improved results. By it’s nature it can then only be successful when you are working on live opportunities, in real life scenarios – if you are not working on live opportunities then this is not Sales Coaching, it is Sales Training and that’s not the same thing. As Sales Coaching should always be supportive this is not a meeting to criticise, discipline or embarrass, but instead an opportunity to build confidence and guide the Sales Person. The Sales Coach is there to show the practical application of what has been taught in Sales Training. This means that the coach should be able to actually do the sales activities, not just talk about them. We appreciate that many coaches will tell you they don’t need to have done something, or be able to do something, in order to coach someone, and then use Tiger Woods golf coach as an example, who wasn’t a top golfer. Maybe you don’t need to, but in our experience in Sales it really does help. Coaching a Sales Person how to make a Sales Call is much more believable for the Sales Person if the coach can actually pick up the phone, and demonstrate by doing it themselves.
In order for your Sales Coaching Plan to be successful it must be supported by data, as without real data you only have one persons opinion versus another’s, and it’s important that the coaching is objective. Gather data from the best performing Sales Person so you have an example of “best practice” to compare with. If you have no hard facts and data to prove that something can be done, try doing it yourself and if you can’t do it then it could be that you are asking for the impossible. Asking Sales People to do something that you either cannot do, or cannot prove that someone else in the organisation can do, will lose you respect and encourage the good sales people to look for another position.
Check the Sales Persons mindset – if they have given up, aren’t engaged, don’t care or think they know everything; stop. You cannot make anyone want to get better and you simply may be too late. You can deliver a motivating talk that peps them up, but the minute you leave the room it’s like pulling a plug from the socket in the wall and the energy starts to leak out and they will quickly revert back to type. Motivation has to come from within, so if the Sales Persons mindset is not right, before you start coaching work on a personal Goal Setting session that ties their sales performance into their personal goals. As a Sales Manager you have a very limited amount of time and coaching C players in most cases is not the best use of your time or theirs. Investing your time on Sales People who want to get better will always deliver a higher return.
The success of your Sales Coaching Plan is as much down to the Sales Managers Emotional Intelligence as it is their Sales skills, experience and knowledge. Treat Sales People like adults, respect them and never judge them. Sales Coaching is mostly conducted on a 1-2-1 basis, however we have experienced equally good results when facilitating group Sales Coaching where Sales People learn from their peers. Group Sales Coaching is a great way to share best practice, share customer stories and build teamwork, however in some cases sales people will be reluctant to participate as they lack confidence. You can download a free .PDF of our Sales Coaching plan by simply clicking here.
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