Question: Has your Sales Organisation implemented a formal metrics-based coaching programme where your sales managers coach sales executives – and do your sales managers conduct monthly coaching sessions to highlight gaps, focus areas and track progress over time?
According to our research at ThinkSales Global, only 25% of Sales Organisations have implemented a formal metrics-based coaching programme where sales managers coach sales executives.
In addition, 24.9% of companies rate their confidence as Outstanding that their sales managers conduct monthly coaching sessions to highlight gaps, focus areas and track progress over time.
The ‘Sales Coaching’ Problem
We know coaching improves performance but there is often confusion around what ‘coaching’ is exactly – does it cover inspiration, motivation, training or activities? As a coach, are you a cheer-leader, mentor or shrink?
This is compounded by the fact that most sales managers have not been trained in exactly how to implement metrics-based coaching programmes that yield real results.
Without effective coaching programmes in place, it is difficult to encourage, guide and track individual improvements across the sales force, leading to lost revenue opportunities that could be avoided given the right advice and direction.
Coach your sales team to improve sales results
When it comes to sales, the truth is that effective coaching programmes that move the revenue needle are scientific in approach – methodical, structured and metrics-based.
According to research conducted by the Sales Benchmark Index, proper coaching and development improves sales:
- Spending 3+ hours per month on one-on-one coaching improves an individual sales exec’s target attainment by over 22%
- Individual coaching and development improves a sales exec’s close-rate by more than 14%
- Sales staff turnover decreases by up to 12%
- Overall sales target attainment typically exceeds 67% across a team.
Chris Lytle, author of The Accidental Sales Manager says it best: “You’re the sales manager but you don’t manage sales. You must coach the players to do what it takes to win instead of trying to coach the score.”
Metrics-driven sales coaching
So, how do your sales managers become coaches to your sales executives without simply telling them what to do, which is micro-managing, not coaching?
Mark Roberge, the chief revenue officer of Hubspot Sales Products and author of The Sales Acceleration Formula, uses a methodology he calls metrics-driven sales coaching.
Here are his top three lessons to keep in mind when implementing a metrics-driven coaching programme:
- Don’t make the common mistake of picking too many skills to focus on simultaneously. All that happens is that you overwhelm the person you’re trying to help. Effective coaching focuses on one skill at a time.
- If you try to train a sales exec across a spectrum of skills, the result will be that no skills are developed at all. The best sales managers identify one skill that will have the biggest impact on a sales exec’s performance, and then customise a coaching plan around developing that skill. Once that is mastered, move onto the next skill.
- The real skill is using metrics to determine which one skill you should be focusing on.
At Hubspot, every sales manager involved in coaching subordinates had to answer these three questions asked by senior management:
- What skill will you work on this month with this salesperson?
- How did you decide on that skill?
- What is the customised coaching plan to develop that skill?
Your aim is to help your sales managers create an approach that maximises buy-in and empowerment of the salesperson. It should teach sales executives to be their own independent coaches, and to reflect on their deficiencies and improve their skills on their own.
Here is a framework that your managers can use for their monthly coaching sessions, based on Mark Roberge’s methodology:
How do you think you did last month?
- What did you do well, and what do you believe you could improve on?
- Here are the call-metrics for the entire team. What are your observations about your performance?
- What about the team’s connect rates? What are your observations about your performance?
- Reflecting on your qualitative observations about what you did well and where you could improve, as well as the metrics we’ve just run through, which skill do you think we should work on this month that will have the biggest impact on your numbers?
- What exactly do you think is going on in this area? Why is this happening, what do you think the reasons are?
- What activities and goal would you like to set for yourself for the next month in relation to this specific activity / development area?
- What would it mean to you personally if you were able to achieve this goal?
- What stands in your way of achieving this?
- What do you think is the best way to handle this?
Assess the health of your sales organisation
A formal metrics-based coaching programme where sales managers coach sales executives and conduct monthly coaching sessions to highlight gaps, focus areas and track progress over time are two of 322 measures of a world-class Sales Organisation.
ThinkSales Global is a specialist revenue engineering consultancy.
We assist our clients to deliver market-defying results through strategic and tactical intentions within a Sales Organisation Maturity Model that addresses the five key pillars of high-performing Sales Organsations, namely:
- Competitive Strategy
- Customer Engagement
- Sales Talent
- Sales Management
- Sales Enablement
How does your Sales Organisation stack up? Find out by taking the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.
This first-of-its-kind 360-degree gap analysis report enables your Sales Leadership team to assess its strengths and detect weaknesses and impediments to revenue growth across the five pillars.
Click here for more information on the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.