"Gartner research shows that only 40% of sellers report they work within a well-established coaching culture at their organization," a Gartner press release states. "This may be driven by the fact that only 42% of sales reps report managers at their organization are actually held accountable for providing good coaching," it continues.
Many would say sales coaching is an incredibly valuable part of a sales manager's job, so the statistics above are shocking. Through sustained coaching efforts, sales managers play a huge role in helping their sales representatives improve. "In fact, effective coaching from sales managers can unlock an 8% improvement in sales performance," the Gartner press release states. Additionally, when managers coach successfully, their direct reports are 40% more engaged and exhibit 38% more discretionary effort.
But when coaching in today's virtual world, sales managers are confronted with significant challenges. The inability to be physically present with team members can diminish a manager's efforts to have productive coaching sessions. A lack of experience with virtual selling and coaching skills may play a part as well.
A sales manager's ability to leverage the potential and skill of each salesperson on their team is critical. With less time to devote to sales coaching and more time developing business opportunities themselves or leading their team through business changes, sales leaders might need some help with their approach to this important aspect of their job. Relief may be available in this "get-to-the-point" coaching approach called "QUICK Coaching," which sales managers can utilize after observing or participating in a sales call with one of their sales reps.
QUICK Coaching has three outcomes that can benefit salespeople and sales managers:
- Developing sales skills and behaviors
- Reinforcing learning
- Achieving sales call objectives
Whether enacted in-person, over the phone, or in a virtual setting, QUICK Coaching provides a memorable set of guidelines for efficiently and effectively taking advantage of sales call activity to improve sales performance, both tactically (by the call) and strategically (by the opportunity).
Consistent with its name, here is a "quick" overview of QUICK Coaching:
Question more, tell less
More learning and awareness occur through self-discovery than through other-directed information. In addition, self-discovered learning endures longer. That is not to say if the wrong learning is taking place, one should not correct it, but the default approach is most optimal when questions are used in place of statements. Simple questions like "How did you think that went?" or "If you did it over again, what, if anything, would you do differently?" and "Where might we learn from this particular experience?" can result in far more applicable development than merely telling a person what we think.
Use commonly understood terms, models, and concepts for discussion
For clarity and understanding, there is no substitute for a commonly accepted set of terms, models, and concepts when discussing behaviors, skills, and results. If such do not exist, agreement should be reached before any discussion to avoid misunderstanding and unpredictable outcomes.
Inspire confidence (genuinely) & stay positive
The point of coaching is to build confidence and competence. Negativity does little to advance knowledge, skills, and behaviors and suppresses the openness that is critical to exchange information and perceptions that can be helpful to improvement.
Confirm a next step
Productive sales interactions should be identifiable within a broader strategy to achieve a specific objective. Lacking that characteristic in planning and execution has the potential to delay the advancement of the sales process and diminish sales effectiveness overall.¬† As with top-ranked chess players, top-ranked sales professionals tend to have a strategy that identifies several action steps in advance by which they manage their effort and gauge their progress.
Keep focused on one skill at a time
For the best coaching results, mutually identifying one specific skill or behavior allows both the coach and the salesperson to have greater focus on the skill or behavior being examined without distracting from the sales call and desired outcome.
With time and results at a premium for all sales professionals, a high-impact method for coaching sales performance can result in more consistent application and better results. So, with this in mind, let's do more coaching and be QUICK about it!