We hope that you’ll be able to utilise some of these insights to coach your teams to success.
1. It’s all about the attitude
When it comes to what competencies inside sales managers are primarily looking for, the consensus from the panel was that attitude was number one. They were looking for people that are positive, accountable and energised. Skillsets can be developed through training and coaching but attitude is much harder to change.
When talking about specific competencies sales leaders look for in salespeople, we had great inputs from the participants, which introduced the ideas of being tactfully audacious (knowing how far you can push for a sale) and being situationally fluent.
2. Training is the foundation, coaching is the framework
Training is the perfect tool for learning new skills and products but the best way to embed the learning is to provide coaching on a regular basis in its various forms. Research from CEB (now part of Gartner) shows that 3 hours of effective 1–2–1 coaching per month has an impact of 15 to 20% in sales performance improvement.
3. Feedback is the breakfast of champions
In the virtual world many field salespeople have had to adapt to video meetings, emails and phone calls rather than meeting their prospects in person. The number one way in which our sales leaders have facilitated this transition, is to conduct data driven call listening coaching sessions, where salespeople can give and receive feedback on a variety of calls. This allows them to not only gain insights into how to develop their sales skills but also how to effectively deliver and receive feedback.
When speaking about feedback it also came to light that it is important to foster a culture of feedback, meaning it is as important for Sales leaders to be getting/ asking for feedback themselves, on their own leadership and coaching practices.
4. Laser focused coaching
It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to improve as many competencies for our salespeople as quickly as possible. What we find with this approach is that it is easy to lose sight of key development areas and it can be difficult to track. The proposition made at the Sales Coaching Café was to focus on 3 core areas at a time, this will allow you to effectivity focus and track the individual’s development without getting side-tracked by topics which may not be as important. Only after they have achieved the agreed metrics should you move on to the next focus areas.
5. A data driven approach
Most of us are lucky enough to work an environment where vast amounts of data, on any range of activities or competencies is at our fingertips. The difficult part is knowing what to use and how to use it. We need to ensure that the data we’re focusing on is closely aligned with the sales team’s KPIs. It’s also vitally important that you follow up on data insights with coaching sessions throughout the tracking process. Data will also be your greatest asset for demonstrating the impact of your coaching techniques.
6. Mobilising the frozen middle
Speakers at the Sales Café highlighted the way to move the needle in sales performance is to focus on the “B performers” and enable them through coaching to become “A performers.” Most teams have a normal distribution curve of the top 10% high performers (who often bring the majority of your business in), typically 10% poor performers (could be new starters) and 80% in the middle- focus your coaching and training efforts on this middle group to get a significant improvement in your results.
We thank all of the participants, panellists and organisers that helped to make our Sales Café such a great success. We look forward to having many of you join us for the next one… Sales Café: Powerful Prospecting on the 16th July 2020.