Five Sales Coaching Techniques Needed to Lead Salespeople
As sales teams become more diverse, it has never been more important to sales coaching techniques that speaks to everyone. Developing this kind of leadership means knowing how to understand the motivations of each seller and how to address them. Sales leaders need the following range of skills to accomplish this.
Turning Sales Coaching Techniques into a “Sprint”
Modern coaching seeks to develop, not direct. The future of sales is constantly shifting, meaning sellers and sales managers need to be agile. In a setting that demands flexibility, sellers need to adopt a coaching style that embraces change. The answer is to work at a “sprint.” A sprint is a cycle that ensures coaching is constant and progress is continuous. They consist of three parts: prepare, engage, and advance.
First, coaches need to prepare. Sales leaders must know the purpose of their coaching conversation by identifying where the greatest opportunity for the seller’s improvement lies.
Second, coaches must engage the seller. They must establish a collaborative setting that is free from interruption. Next, they need to coach by assessing what must change, analyzing the underlying issue that causes a performance gap. Finally, they seek the seller’s commitment to the next steps.
Third, the coach must advance their coaching process by seeking the seller’s feedback on the coaching experience, keeping a record of what was discussed, and ensuring regular follow-up. By shifting sales coaching techniques into a sprint, leaders influence continuous performance development within their sales teams.
Conducting Vital Conversations
A vital conversation is what happens when the conversation gets real. Without a model, these conversations can become emotional, contentious, and disorganized. Consider research from Gallup which shows that “when top producers leave companies, 70% of the time it is because of a breakdown in their relationship with their direct supervisor.”
An effective model prepares the manager by focusing their efforts on five key questions:
- Is a vital conversation necessary?
- Is the issue supported by facts and data?
- Is there a clear talk track?
- Is there confirmation of the plan?
- Is any prework needed?
Leading World Class One-on-Ones
To create a successful one-on-one, the sales manager must make the time meaningful. To get the most value out of a one-on-one, manager should focus on two objectives. First, they need to address the seller’s skills and how to advance them. Second, the conversation should help build a more trusting relationship between manager and seller. To combine these efforts, the most effective one-on-ones answer six key questions.
- What is The Big Picture?
- Sales leaders should give the seller an opportunity to discuss a strategic goal or an aspect of their selling that spans a long period.
- What is Working?
- Feedback only works when it is balanced. Before the sales manager discusses areas for improvement, they need to discuss what is working well.
- What is Not Working?
- While this part of the one-on-one might seem negative, it can be presented as an opportunity for the seller to alleviate the stress that comes from an unmet challenge.
- What Has Been Achieved?
- What progress has the seller made against the action plan discussed in the previous one-on-one? Sales managers can ask about new relationships formed and highlights from sales pursuits.
- Where is Help Needed?
- It is important for the sales manager to first ask if the seller can make these changes on their own because intervening can become taxing on the manager’s time and diminish the seller’s sense of control.
- What is The Action Plan?
- Here, both parties seek to identify what specific actions can be taken to address the issues, what the specific goals for the coming month are, and what expectations the manager has of the seller.
Managing Different People Differently
Driving the individual’s performance is about understanding what drives them. Sales managers need a framework for recognizing and addressing the numerous parts of each seller. This idea not only makes intuitive sense, but it also underpins the most engaged sales teams. Research from Catalyst shows that 76% of employees who work with empathetic leaders report feeling engaged at work, as compared to only 36% who feel engaged when they experience less empathy.
Fostering this sense of engagement means taking the time to learn more about each seller. After all, the team’s performance is simply the aggregate of several individuals all of whom are guided by a different set of principles. Learning about these individual principles and responding to them means doing four things.
First, sales managers need to broaden their thinking and consider the seller’s individual traits. The key is to recognize that one person has many dimensions.
Second, it is critical to examine how these individual traits influence the way in which the seller responds to their work. Through conversations the manager can learn about the seller’s personality, what they value in their job, their skill strengths, and weaknesses, and what motivates them.
Third, the coaching routine must be individualized. Managers must determine how often they must meet with each seller, the format that is best for coaching them, how much recognition is needed to motivate them, and the amount of feedback they need.
Fourth, an individualized coaching plan is an iterative endeavor. Managers must observe where and why certain areas of the seller’s performance falters. With these observations, the manager can adjust, as needed.
Motivating Sales Professionals
Motivation is a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. To properly motivate a seller both their intrinsic an extrinsic motivation must align with the same goals. Many sales manager believe they can only influence the seller’s extrinsic motivation. The truth is that intrinsic motivation can in fact be influenced when the sales manager understands the seller’s individual drivers.
Sales managers who understand the differing needs within a seller are equipped to properly motivate them with communication that resonates.
The Need for Power
This need is motivated by the need for reputation and self-esteem. Those who are motivated by power enjoy being in charge and having a sense of agency.
The Need for Achievement
Those with a need for achievement have an urge to compete and are motivated by challenges. They take personal responsibility for finding solutions.
The Need for Affiliation
Affiliation is about developing strong interpersonal relationships. Those with a need for affiliation get motivation from working in a collaborative environment.
These five techniques transform the traditional role of a manager. Instead of being the expert who directs and tells, a manager becomes a coach who inspires. In turn, their sales teams have increased self-motivation to learn, change, and improve results. Download the brochure today to learn more about Richardson’s Sprint Coaching program and how to elevate your sales management skills.
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