My friend and colleague, Jim Dickie (https://www.salesmastery.com) recently reported sales leaders stated their top barrier to achieving their 2018 revenue objectives is:
LACK OF COACHING
Furthermore CSO Insights 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Report highlights that those organizations who deliver “dynamic” coaching enjoy a:
27.6% Improvement in Win Rate
For an organization with a $100m revenue goal, simply increasing coaching quality has an immediate return of almost $30m! I would say the argument to improve coaching, and in fact to completely re-think how we create organizational competency relating to coaching, is beyond compelling.
I think to talk about the future we need to look at the past for a moment. We all know coaching is critical. We want it to happen often and effectively. We also know it doesn't happen as well as any of us would like. In fact, 91% of sales leaders say its mission critical and only 11% exceed expectations in coaching.*
Interestingly enough, when we execute diagnostics for our clients, more often than not, sales teams say they would welcome additional coaching. Due to inter-organizational pressure, front line sales managers spend more time on internal reports, analysis and meetings than they do helping reps win deals.
Another issue is coaching skills. Many organizations have made investments in coaching skills for managers. Unfortunately this training often focuses on the human aspects of coaching vs. dynamics relating specifically to your business and the types of deals you transact. Coaching should enable sales teams to sell for themselves but often diverts to the front line sales leader going in and finalizing the deal for them.
What does the future look like:
- Fact based analysis for a specific opportunity
- Analysis happens several times over the course of a buyer's journey from qualify to close
- Be available 24/7 in the cloud
- Collect and leverage best practice coaching
- Build a database of best practice coaching and status of deals coached
We now can we use a simple cloud APP to collect and leverage best practice coaching at every stage of the deal cycle. When most of us think of sales technology/CRM we think of single user focus and process tracking, what one of my partners call a “tax” on salespeople.
We need to move to collaboration/best practice sharing and guided selling. Here is an example of a client we worked with recently who had $1b in their forecast for upcoming renewals in the next 18 months. (Note: this example is for renewals but the same pattern holds true for new opportunities.)
- If coaching happens at all, it's happening inside 90 days of a renewal
- Each front line sales manager, when they did coach, were all defaulting to their own version of a coaching process
- Most managers were not proactively coaching at all, rather the process was triggered by reacting to a client request, usually for some kind of concession to re-up
- All the various stakeholders from AE, to tech support, licensing departments, etc. were on different pages and lacked a renewal plan
- Collect the best practice actions at every phase of the deal cycle for when a new opportunity or renewal goes well
- Determine internal and external stakeholders who need to be contacted
- Script the coaching questions, possible answers and evidence to back up answers for every phase of the sale from qualify to close into the cloud tool
- Begin the coaching process at 18 months before a renewal
- Coach at every phase of the deal process
By collecting and leveraging best practice coaching into a cloud tool, in effect a database exists to standardize coaching across all deals. As new stakeholders, actions etc. are learned that can improve the coaching process, those steps can be updated real time for a living, breathing, coaching machine! At each phase of coaching, the rep is first asked to coach themselves and the system scores their current progress. This self coaching is then submitted to their front line sales manager for virtual or face-to-face coaching. Each deal is scored to assist in determination of forecast probability.