Sales coaching is a crucial part of employee development and sales enablement, yet many companies do not spend adequate time on it. In fact, according to findings from the CSO Insights 2016 Sales Best Practices Study, just 32 percent of organisations believe their sales managers definitely spend enough time coaching individual sales reps.
However, this number rises to 88 percent of businesses when focusing solely on the world-class segment. This clearly highlights the link between carrying out adequate coaching and achieving success. If you are looking to increase your coaching activities, here are some top ideas to put you on the right path.
1. Coach Skills and Behaviours
When it comes to coaching sales staff, many managers immediately turn their attention to opportunity coaching, where they help staff to identify where customers are in the buying process and ways they can move forward. However, developing and reinforcing skills and behaviours is just as important for improving sales effectiveness.
In the CSO Insights 2017 Sales Manager Enablement Report, 47.1 percent of organisations stated that their sales managers currently spend less than 30 minutes per week on coaching skills and behaviours. This means that, despite its importance, it is particularly neglected aspect of sales coaching.
Indeed, that figure is a whole 10 percent higher than the number who reported their sales managers spent less than 30 minutes on lead and opportunity coaching. In total, 74.9 percent revealed that their sales managers spend less than an hour on coaching skills and behaviours, so this is an obvious area deserving of increased focus.
2. Emphasise the Importance of Value
With that being said, leads and opportunities are the most targeted areas for coaching for a reason – because this allows sales managers to assist staff in activities that directly impact business results. Nevertheless, the quality of coaching in this area can be enhanced by emphasising the importance of value.
Most buyers are willing to pay more if they get more, so the focus should be on selling based on value, not price. Work with your sales reps to identify the different stages of the buying cycle and how to add value to each stage. For instance, at the justification stage, you could provide potential buyers with case studies demonstrating the value of the product, while during final negotiations, you may be able to throw in extras rather than reducing the price.
“There are infinite ways to add value at any stage of the buying cycle,” says James Muir, a sales trainer and coach, writing for the LinkedIn Pulse platform. “The point is to be cognizant of where your prospect is, so you can offer the kind of value they will consider the most important at that stage.”
3. Adopt a Formal or Dynamic Approach
Finally, one of the other key findings from the CSO Insights 2017 Sales Manager Enablement Report was that almost three quarters of sales organisations adopt either random or informal coaching processes, wasting valuable resources in the process. Instead, you should formalise your approach, or integrate it with sales enablement.
Across the study, organisations had an average win rate of 46.2 percent. When coaching is left to individual managers, they achieve below average win rates, while informal coaching leads to average win rates of 47.6 percent – indicating slightly above average sales effectiveness
By contrast, organisations with a formal coaching approach achieved average win rates of 51.5 percent, and that figure rose to 59.1 percent among those who adopted a dynamic approach, where coaching is aligned with sales force enablement frameworks and the performance of coaches is constantly measured and assessed.
Despite the capacity for coaching to improve sales effectiveness, most organisations do not adequately coach their sales reps. In particular, most organisations could benefit from spending more time coaching skills and behaviours, from highlighting the importance of adding value throughout the buying cycle, and from formalising their approach.