Part Three: Sales Coaching and Training
We’re continuing on our series aimed at outlining the five areas of sales performance management (SPM) and ways you can improve your company’s SPM strategies using all the tools at your disposal. The third step to SPM success is focused on sales coaching and training.
A sales manager shouldn’t be a “super sales rep”. They should be ensuring every member of their team is performing to the best of their ability. Appraisals and coaching are important for the continued growth of your sales team, and yet, they’re areas that are often neglected.
The reason? Creating a meaningful appraisal system is difficult do to the lack of data with insight into reps behavior and techniques. You’d think that your CRM would have this data, but really all it shows you is how many calls a rep made, how many meetings they attended, number of quotes generated, etc. It doesn’t tell you the quality of their work.
What are their techniques on the phone? How are their presenting skills? What key behaviors are driving deals to closure? There are key performance indicators that can and should be tracked and measured in order to understand where there are deficiencies.
Real-Time Sales Coaching and Training
Coaching programs that look backward at performance and assess progress against quota often lead to underperformance. A successful coaching program needs to be proactive, not reactive. Proactive programs are possible when the most pertinent data needed to measure performance is available, up-to-date and measures more than quantity.
By having this data you’ll have insight into the behavior and practices of your top reps. That means you’ll be able to rank your reps according to these KPIs and see where you need to coach your B players in order to turn them into A players. This kind of insight means you can create custom coaching programs with specific goals so your reps are always improving in the right areas. According to our research, reps that receive at least three hours of coaching per month from their first-line sales managers see a 17% increase in quota attainment.
But coaching on behavior and techniques isn’t the only requirement for sales performance success. You have to ensure your reps are trained on the latest products and messaging. More often than not, sales teams get together once a year for their annual kick off where they spend days in conference rooms listening to presentations on products and messaging. That’s great, but it’s often forgotten as soon as they leave the hotel. Real-time training is the key to success. Mobile learning programs are a great way to ensure every rep is trained appropriately. Having a way to assign courses in real-time based on observations in the field and those KPIs you’re tracking means you’ll be able to ensure every rep is selling to their full potential.
Sales coaching and training is a critical component to sales performance management success. Once you've hired and on-boarded the right reps, and provided them with optimized territories, you have to focus on performance. Having systems that help you track sales performance for both sales coaching and sales training can drive results in your organization.