Stop lists you created to coach your B Player toward higher effectiveness. You still want to have a great dialogue and developmental coaching session to do that, but you’ve laid the foundation with the analysis.
Make a “Fuel” of Yourself with Comparative Analysis
Here’s another angle on pipeline analysis. With the benchmark of A Player averages, compare your B Player’s conversion stats, from left to right.
In this example, you’re comparing the conversion of Leads to Contacts. Your A Players, on average, make contact with the lead 73% of the time. This B Player, only 37%. What are the possible causes of that? Is it raw effort? Does the B Player reach out once? Do they call three days in a row, at the same time each day, and then quit? Do they combine emailing and calling, or just one method? Do they reach out through social media, such as LinkedIn? And how does this all compare to what your A Players are doing?
Notice that the questions are not just about whether they ARE doing it… but HOW and TO WHAT LEVEL.
In later stages, the differences in skill levels can be more pronounced than at this stage. You can focus not only on the action or activity, and how and to what level, but also on deeper levels of behavior and skill. What sales process, sales methodology, frameworks, models and skills are the reps using? How well are they using them… how does their application and skill level compared to the A Players? All great fodder for coaching. Focus first on whether your rep is doing the right things, then on whether they are doing those things right.
In addition, can look across the entire pipeline to see where the greatest gaps are and determine where you might get the most lift or return, and prioritize those areas for improvement. You can also come back to the pipeline and compare velocity, as well.
With this approach of pipeline analytics, comparing B Player practices to the A Players (your top-producer practices analysis), and coaching the Bs to improve based on what the analytics are doing – you can make an excellent impact with your B Players, in a relatively short amount of time.
Closing Thoughts on Great Sales Methodology Coaching
Let’s close with a reminder about how you coach for results. Even though you have made some possibly accurate I say “maybe” because the analysis helps you form some hypotheses about the gaps. Honestly, based on the poor state of coaching today that puts you a leap ahead of the pack, just by doing some pre-coaching diagnosis and reaching a hypothesis to test. But let’s close with a reminder about how you coach for results. Even though you have made some possibly accurate deductions… yes, even if you have the right answers… you won’t have much of an impact on your B Player if you just sit her down, compare her to the top-producer averages, and spit out your pearls of wisdom. Especially when you’re coaching sales methodology, comparing well-documented behavior, it will be tempting to just tell your reps what to do, to get better results. Don’t.
This is where the pre-coaching analysis ends and great developmental coaching takes over. If you want your B Players to “own” the solutions and outcomes, you need to have an open, authentic, helpful and partnership-oriented dialogue with your rep. You need to use questions effectively, to either lead them to the same conclusions as you, or uncover additional information that: 1) shapes the conversation, 2) more clearly identifies the gaps, and 3) jointly fosters solutions even better solutions, to close the gaps. If you transparently share your top-producer data, and lead a great dialogue about what your B Players are doing in comparison, many times your reps will reach the right conclusions and find their own best answers. Strive for that.
Great coaching is more about leading others to brilliance, than sharing your brilliance. There are plenty of great posts and reading about coaching, though, so rather than completely reinvent the wheel, I’ll refer you to some here, and also offer other related reading below, for pipeline management.
More on Sales Coaching:
More on Pipeline Management:
About Mike Kunkle
Mike is a training and organization effectiveness leader with special expertise in sales force transformation. He is currently responsible for product development at Richardson, a global sales training and strategy execution company that partners with leading organizations to increase their sales effectiveness and drive business results. Visit blogs.richardson.com or connect with Mike through LinkedIn or Twitter.