What is Development Coaching?
Development Coaching is all about providing your sales team with help, support and guidance to grow their skills and abilities, to enable them to increase their sales figures. Most companies have a Sales Management function which checks figures and sets targets, but usually does not have the time to coach the individual team members. Development Coaching is a long term undertaking to offer regular sessions with sales staff, guiding them through all aspects of the sales function and solving problems together to build confidence and skills.
The Problem – Maintaining the momentum of hitting targets
Many companies experience the problems of sales staff not consistently hitting their targets. Their skill sets seem high and they show glimpses of genius on occasions, but they do not deliver consistent figures. As time progresses their averages get worse and they fall into the comfort zone. Their ambition suffers and their confidence diminishes.
Development Coaching – A Solution to grow sales figures
The sales process is largely a pro-active role, relying on organizational skills, imagination and sound strategy. It is therefore one of the hardest roles to deliver consistently high performance.
The addition of a development coaching function to your company can help to turn this situation around. The coach’s role is to provide each sales person with the option of regular weekly or bi-weekly sessions, to work together on jointly identified areas of weakness. The result should be a fully rounded, motivated and capable sales person.
To be effective it is vital that the coach is viewed as an equal, not a boss. It is also vital that the coach and the sales person jointly identify areas of weakness and plan ways to strengthen these areas. Along with regular coaching sessions the coach should also assist each sales person with specific tasks such as meetings or proposals to get a more accurate view of their skill sets.
The results from development coaching can pay huge dividends and help to turn an under performing, mediocre team into a team of sales champions.
Areas to focus on
To be effective a sales person needs to be well rounded in a range of different areas. A good place to start with the coaching process is to produce an account strategy plan. This is the process of going through all the accounts in the sales person’s data base and discussing what the opportunity is and how best to move them through the sales cycle. This process provides clarity and enables the sales person to tier their accounts to ensure that they put the most time and effort into their best opportunities.
Once this process has been completed the next stage is to produce a long term pipeline to see if the sales person has enough opportunities to hit their targets. Many sales people do not find the time to map out their pipeline, or tier their accounts which reduces their effectiveness.
With a pipeline and an account strategy the sales person then has direction and focus to close business. However it is vital that this process is done regularly and kept up to date.
The next areas to focus on are to check that the sales person has enough new opportunity leads to hit their targets and they have enough accounts to cross sell. These variables will change with the nature of the business, but an analysis of these variables is to key to ensuring the success of the team.
Further areas to focus on are time management skills. Ensure that the sales person has a routine of activities each day to focus them on the actions that need to take place. Without a developed routine sales people can waste a lot of time reacting to interrupts and chatting too much with their peers.
The coaching sessions are also vital to develop skills in the everyday sales functions such as:
It is quite possible that a sales person may not feel comfortable with one or two areas of the sales function, or suffer from poor time management / organisational skills. Once these areas have been identified and addressed the individuals sales figures can grow significantly.
Therefore an investment of time in sales coaching can provide a very high return.
Development coaching is a long term investment in sales staff to provide them with a support framework, enabling them to reach their maximum potential. Sales coaching skills can be taught to sales managers or outsourced to enable a specific consultant to work directly with your team.