Want Sales Performance? Coach Sales Behaviors

What makes a great racing bike? Anyone can tell you it’s a bike that rides fast and maneuvers well. But if you want to actually build your own great racing bike, this information is not helpful. You need to know about materials, weight, the wheels, tires, and which work best together on different terrains. Now what makes a great salesperson? Sure, it’s someone who sells a lot of stuff; but if you want to assemble a high performance sales team, this is not helpful. You need to understand the behaviors, actions and techniques of your top performers so you can coach them to the rest of your sales team as part of your sales performance program.   What behaviors and techniques are your top performers exhibiting that others are not? To build this team of super sales people, you must be able to answer that question and promote your sales performance management program.

Measure Selling Behaviors to Coach Selling Performance

To turn your B players into A players, you need to understand what your A players are doing. Perhaps they take more training. Maybe they have better phone techniques or more effective selling tools. Maybe they’re more efficient - according to Gartner’s 2012 report How to Analyze Your Sales Processes on Efficiency Versus Effectiveness, sales reps spend only 45% of their time actually selling. Once you quantify these attributes, you can see where the rest of your sales team is falling short. Here are some features that are key to a successful coaching program:

  • Transparency: The right coaching program allows you to see what each of your sales reps is doing over time and throughout the sales cycle. When you and your sales reps are looking at the same sales performance data, it creates accountability and an honest look at sales performance. Use an automated sales performance management product so you can gather meaningful data without being in the weeds with your reps all the time.
  • Consistency: Keep an eye on performance metrics over time and keep a running diary from listening to phone calls and ride-alongs. This will give you a performance baseline so you can measure progress and adjust your coaching as your reps improve. CallidusCloud research shows that reps who receive at least three hours of coaching per month from their first-line sales managers achieve 107% of quota on average.
  • Specificity: At each coaching session, set specific behavior tasks. Require a rep to take certain training sessions or listen in with another rep on a phone call. Make these goals specific to each rep’s improvement needs. Then set improvement milestones so you can measure improvement.
  • Accountability: If your reps have completed their behavior tasks, you need to close the loop and assess whether they have improved, if not why not, and next steps. Reps that do improve should move up in your sales organization. The rest should probably find a job somewhere else.
  • Compensation: Offering spiffs or other monetary awards for reaching goals is a great and popular way to incentivize your sales team. But did you know that 60% of sales professionals are motivated by internal recognition? So use a system of internal announcements, badges and other awards to honor your reps publicly as top performers.

Proper coaching is a science that improves sales performance over time. Be consistent and tenacious across your team and pay attention to each of your sales people. Use automation to capture the metrics you need without taking all your time, and you will soon build the team of super sales people you need. Leverage your reps’ competitive spirit with a dashboard of sales rep performance for all to see and provide incentives for your top performers based on revenue and also on behaviors. Gamification techniques promote engagement, individual and team goal attainment, and constant improvement. Visit our website for more information on coaching and sales performance management and gamification. Listen to our recent recorded webcasts on sales coaching and gamification and compensation.

By Giles House | March 26th, 2013 | Sales Performance Management (SPM)

About the Author: Giles House

Giles House

Giles House is Executive Vice President, and Chief Product Officer, SAP Sales Cloud.