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Want Your Sales Talent To Thrive? Why High Quality Sales Coaching Is Urgent Now

To create a dynamic sales force ready for 2022 and beyond, organizations must invest in continuous high-quality coaching efforts. Most of us realize that closing deals is an art form that involves intense mental and emotional footwork throughout the sales cycle.

As sales professionals wind their way through the longer, more complex technological maze of the “new normal”, they are dangerously vulnerable to future shock, burnout, and lost opportunities.

The average cycle for complex sales is more than 6 months long (and growing longer) with more than 6 people involved in a typical transaction. To manage this complexity, sales organizations need more than scattershot coaching efforts.

We all know high-quality sales coaching matters, but most companies still don’t implement reliable strategic coaching programs.

The Performance Gap – Knowing The Value Of Strategic Sales Coaching Isn’t Enough

The vast majority (76%) of companies identify high-quality sales coaching as a critical component of success, yet research indicates that coaching practices are mostly informal, infrequent, and ineffective. 63% of complex sales organizations follow a random approach to coaching and most organizations do not hold managers accountable or set standards for consistent, professional sales coaching practices.

Use the checklist below to determine if your company has the makings of a coaching culture now:

The Five Strategic Foundations of a Coaching Culture

  1. Robust onboarding program – typically lasts 90 days and includes time for sales talent coaching as well as coaching services for managers. Coaches need coaches, too!
  2. Clearly defined sales process which is mapped to the CURRENT buying process. In this “new normal”, it’s extremely important to re-assess and update your sales cycle. Sales Managers can then coach sales talent to recognize and seize opportunities during predictable stages of the sales cycle.
  3. Leading and lagging indicators of success are defined. Sales Managers and CRO’s can leverage these indicators to identify coaching requirements and drive the coaching dialogue.
  4. Access to an opportunity scorecard or another tool to determine the likelihood of closing deals with different prospects.
  5.  Skill gaps are addressed with personalized and standardized diagnostic tools and processes. There are abundant opportunities to review KPIs and observe salespeople in action.

Best Practices – Creating And Maintaining A Thriving Sales Talent Coaching Culture

  1. Integrate coaching time and quality as a KPI in managerial performance reviews. Create coaching strategies, tactics, and goals for managers and other leaders.
  2.  Be open to outside coaching when necessary. Remember, leaders at every level benefit from professional executive coaching. In a complex sales organization, coaching expertise in different areas is a must-have.
  3.  Train leadership and sales talent to evaluate failure and success in terms of processes and procedures. Consider mindset, data provided or not provided, preparation habits, and more. In a well-balanced coaching program, sales talent and sales leadership see “failure” as an opportunity to change, not an opportunity to blame, and success as the result of good leadership, consistent coaching, hard work, and access to performance support tools.
  4.  Encourage peer-to-peer coaching. Partner high performers with less experienced sales professionals to foment new relationships and create more confidence and motivation within the sales teams.
  5. Establish a system to measure the ROI of sales enablement tools. Track coaching efforts and techniques and note increases or decreases in performance, engagement, retention, and internal perception of the organization as a trusted and valued place to work.

Consistent Sales Coaching Produces Wins And Unlocks Talent

When sales organizations invest in high-quality consistent coaching, salespeople and their managers become more confident as their “wins” increase over time. To see how quick early wins transform organizations, read Harry Dunklin’s recent post. In addition, self-coaching skills enable sales talent and leadership to improve relationships and habits both professionally and personally.

“Skilled coaching involves “unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance.” – Sir John Whitmore

Clearly, high-quality consistent coaching is a worthwhile endeavor. Leadership roles have changed. Coaching reflects a demand for talented managers who can inspire and motivate sales professionals struggling to succeed in the “new normal”.

For more information about sales effectiveness assessments and the value of sales talent coaching, contact Harry Dunklin or Karan Douglas at Oak Island Associates.