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Professional Athletes rely on Coaches – do Salespeople?

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

How is your coaching game plan?

You could boost revenue by 25% and increase close rate by 70%.

In any sport, athletes and teams have access to multiple coaches with various areas of specialty to help them reach their full potential. Consider the Los Angeles Lakers, for example. Frank Vogel is the Head Coach, and there are six Assistant Coaches, all of these are additionally supported by specialists for health and nutrition.

For much of the sales world, it’s no different. The notion that sales coaching is an essential ingredient in improving sales organisations is never disputed, but most sales leaders (if they’re honest) will tell you that they barely have time to manage their sales teams – and they simply don’t have time to coach.

With that reality as the backdrop, we want to pose this question – what if you could reduce your coaching time considerably and get better results?

How, you might ask?

Firstly, one must be committed and see “coaching” the team as more important than “managing” the team.

This means moving away from time managing – the sales numbers, reviewing spending, watching over the cost of sales, keeping tabs on the attrition rate of existing accounts and chasing customer post sale incidents – to a realignment of one’s time and priority. Which means spending 20% to 45% of time actively coaching individuals:

  • Based on observing and identifying areas for improvement.

  • Utilising data to accurately decipher where the best resources should be deployed.

  • Knowing strengths and weaknesses and putting them to good use.

  • Ensuring individuals have the appropriate access to sales enablement, technical support and tactical backing whenever they need it.

  • Being there throughout the entire sales journey rather than simply setting targets and reviewing them at the end of the quarter.

  • Getting involved directly with a deal but never selling for the salesperson.

  • Helping individuals navigate through the company to leverage its full potential

  • Establishing regular coaching session cadence with two-way agreed SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound) objectives driven through a coaching journal or platform.

Secondly – and this is the key – simplify the sales coaching process and minimize the time it takes by only coaching the right salespeople.

For the sake of clarity, do not coach the “left-hand side” of the performance bell curve. Coach and develop “core” performers. Research by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) clearly indicates that no other productivity investment comes close to improving overall performance:

“Reps who receive just 3 hours of coaching per month exceed their goals by 7%, boosting revenue by 25% and increasing close rate by 70%.”

Thirdly, home in on key competencies like a golfer would on putting, rather than their full “short game”. Do not waste time measuring and coaching on exhaustive lists of sales behaviours.

Understand exactly what competencies need development for each salesperson and collectively for the team by engaging Fresh Perspective Sales.

Finally, like the Lakers, establish a coaching team that can supplement one’s coaching conversations in specific and varied areas. This extended coaching team could include star performers, other managers, business mentors, or contract Fresh Perspective Sales as your interim coach!


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