Asuccessful and sustained sales team usually requires a dedicated and constructive coaching system that defines targets and interprets the skill level of each and every salesperson on the team. Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the entire sales team is paramount in crafting and transforming a good salesforce into an award-winning sales team. The coach is usually the one behind the scene assessing the entire scope of a company's overall business model and its relationship to its salesforce.
Moreover, the size, reach, and diversity of a company’s product line within the marketplace may also impact how an effective coaching system needs to be crafted. In that, a multifaceted company with a diverse product line of goods and services may have several different divisions within the company, with perhaps each having its own sales goals, which may require a different coaching approach than a company producing one product line.
However, the core principles in crafting a successful salesforce don’t change in that although a sales strategy may require a different approach for a particular product or service, the fundamental tools needed in successfully selling remain the same. Most sales managers know that effective sales coaching begins with understanding the marketplace, identifying and measuring accurately critical sales data from each team member that will impact the overall performance of the entire sales team.
Knowledge is power
No doubt we’ve all heard the phrase “ knowledge is power” in that the more information gathered in identifying the sales goals and aspirations of your customers, the easier it becomes in creating an action plan tailored for their individual needs. Today’s changing business environment requires regular and structured reinforcement of both the sales team and managers. Sales development initiatives are critically important in establishing a viable coaching methodology that can quickly identify and resolve problem areas.
This requires everyone working as a unit, in short, “working on the same page.” Issues need to be well thought through before ever engaging the customer to maximize a successful closing. The sales coach should work in partnership with the manager in analyzing the customer’s product line(s), craft a compelling sales script, role play with the team, anticipate and respond to customers' concerns and complaints, utilize and embrace state-of-the-art coaching software. Moreover, as stated previously, the fundamental principles of developing an award winning sales team lies with understanding the five basic elements needed within every coaching program in assuring a successful salesforce:
Collect and assess critical data
Much like a good detective, an effective and successful sales team needs to assess critical data. This requires an honest approach in gauging the performance of each individual rep, analyzing their individual strengths and weaknesses. This means collecting empirical data, which would be factored into developing a coaching strategy. Without indisputable data to guide the overall process in tracking the performance of individual reps, the entire sales operation becomes flawed.
Identify and reward top performers
On every sales team, there are top performers, those individuals that continually and successfully close deals. Evaluate and discuss their performance with the other team members, explore their sales approach. For example, one team member may have excellent negotiating skills; however, their presentation skills may be lacking, and conversely, another sales rep may be a strong “closer” however may lack the temperament in working within a highly regulated sales environment.
Develop a personal approach
It’s called the “likeability factor.” Research shows that having a good personal relationship with your customer is the best way to retain continued business. Sales reps that continually “service” their customers, follow up on orders placed and take care of minor disputes beyond the initial sales and advocate on their customer's behalf are usually rewarded with repeat sales.
Finalize and implement the sales coaching plan
We’ve put into place the top three elements needed in creating an award winning sales team. However, just as important is building some flexibility within the overall coaching structure, in that no two individuals assess an issue or solve problems in the exact same way. Therefore it’s extremely important to personalize your coaching strategies targeted for those individuals requiring additional training support in areas that need improvement. Personalized coaching interactions with individual sales reps show that you understand their needs.
Continue the coaching process
Simply developing a one-time coaching strategy isn’t enough; if you want to continue developing an award winning sales team, you need to continue the process. Many coaching strategies fail simply because those in charge lack the desire to maintain a continuous coaching program.