There are three topics often neglected by sales organisations: coaching, change management and stakeholder engagement.
Coaching is generally thought of as a one-on-one process by which a sales manager guides a sales professional to higher performance. Coaching is, in essence, a form of education, and, like education, coaching is most successful when it is linked to a goal.
Coaching is less popular than it should be. Sales management is, after all, about managing people, and coaching is at heart a people-management skill. Yet, coaching programs are often poorly planned or delivered, or poorly integrated into the sales organization.
One reason is that coaching is the simplest way for sales organisations to standardize the selling behaviors that their top performers use. Sales managers can coach their top performers, and their top performers can coach their subordinates, and the end result will be that salespeople everywhere will behave in the same way.
The coaching process need not be complicated. The supervisor defines the desired results, the salesperson agrees on the actions needed to achieve them, and then the manager reviews progress towards the goal.
Coaching can be more effective when it is linked to the goals. For example, managers could coach their top performers by asking them how they were going to use the skills that salespeople everywhere were learning, and by rewarding them for using the new skill.
Coaching is not a replacement for sales training. Sales training, for instance, teaches skills, but coaching is a measure of how well the skills are being used. Sales training also addresses internal issues, such as motivation, that are often neglected in coaching programs.
Yet, coaching by itself is usually not enough. Sales organizations also need more structured
This article appeared in the March 2018 edition of The International Journal of Sales Transformation, authored by Simon Dale of MapR.
Reproduced by permission of the International Journal of Sales Transformation. ©2018.