The power of coaching behind successful sales reps

What can poor or non-existant coaching strategies cost you? It is a question which the top hierarchy of an organisation jostles with! The answers may range from “it can impede the bottom-line by several degrees” to “it can hurt in the wrong places” to “irredeemable cost” to “not sure we have never tried it!”In this article, let me discuss the true power of sales coaching.

Coaching and training are not the same thing

The degree of burn caused by poor mentoring can vary. Inarguably, the performance of sales reps is interminably linked to how well they are coached in the first place. And here, by coaching, I am not referring — not by a long shot — to the routine training sessions but something far profound.

Coaching can help reps realise a new dimension to themselves

Coaching has the effect of enhancing individual skills and ability to consistently forecast accurately and reach revenue targets while maintaining and delivering what’s promised to the client. Sales reps, when coached brilliantly, can come across a refreshing dimension of themselves and gain yards in perspective. It is important to establish that such perspective gains add wholesomely to the ROI, too.

Progressive feedback sessions

Smart coaching has many facets including progressive and regular feedback sessions. Each coaching session is personalised with each rep to know what their strengths are and what may be the vulnerabilities and weaknesses they need to circumvent.

It is important to document each coaching session highlighting the next steps and actions. Being able to demonstrate what each rep has achieved over short, medium and long term is critical to coaching success and ROI.  The sales rep needs to commit and buy-in to the next steps before the end of the coaching session. Ownership by the sales rep is very important otherwise you may be wasting the investment on the wrong person.

Worthy coaching is all about practical reinforcement

Any worthy coaching strategy reinforces key learnings and proven methodologies covered during team training plus incorporates the key learnings in applying new skills to each persons style. Learning new skills is one thing and applying them can be more challenging. Coaching clearly establishes what needs to be done and the steps involved in achieving your desired goal including adjusting or tweaking strategies along the way.

If your reps have just gone through a rigorous session of training, coaching helps to prevent them from falling back into their comfort zones. With no training follow up and reinforcement there is a tendency to lose up to 87% of the new skills within a month.

Before I wrap up, let me tell you that I have only knocked off the tip of the iceberg. Great coaching strategy, can be the difference that gives the term ROI a new meaning.