According to the Corporate Executive Board, 90% of business organizations will train their frontline sales staff on their coaching skills. Indeed, business organizations are starting to realize the impact of effective coaching to achieve greater ROI. In fact, more companies have invested in sales coaching as compared to other forms of training investments to improve sales. One other route that organizations are headed to is to hire a sales coach or external consultant. They are one of the most prized services in the business industry due to their ability to significantly improve sales performance.
However, like any consulting efforts in the business world, the service of a sales coach is only as good as how you make use of them. This is a framework that you can follow to avoid the common pitfalls associated with improving sales outcomes by tapping a coach’s services:
• Avoid generic coaching. Even though sales coaches follow a pattern when it comes to their coaching programs, the training content should be tailored to suit the needs and goals of your business organization. One approach that has proven effective for another business organization does not guarantee will work for yours. You have to consider the target market, the type of business you are in, and your existing products, and so forth. It is also important for a coach to heed the go-to-market strategy that your sales team has already in place. They can make suggestions to improve on these strategies to achieve the return of investment desired.
• There is a lack of coherence in the coaching approach. One other common pitfall with sales coaching is that sales managers often see coaching as a sequence of separate events. However, coaching training should be an ongoing process wherein you pick up where you left off from the last session. After all, the elements are closely linked together and you need all cylinders to work together to ensure overall success.
• The absence of effective coaching infrastructure. Once the organization has committed to hiring a coach to improve frontline sales management team, there should be sufficient support given to them. Without a supporting infrastructure, it will be difficult to sustain the long-term benefits of the coaching process. This is one way to ensure that whatever the sales managers have learned from the coach will be applied and developed moving forward.
• Inability to adapt. One of the common mistakes that sales managers do is to assume that the sales tactics they used before (and have proven effective) will ensure sales in today’s sales environment. However, the business landscape has changed dramatically with sales coming from various sources (the advent of social media and the internet has contributed to that). Adaptability is, therefore, an important trait to have. Your coach should teach you about how to observe the buying behavior of your target market and appeal to that. You should not be fixed solely on one area or approach to sales.
Matthew Pollard is an author and speaker who has extensive experience with business and sales coaching. You can read about his portfolio and how his services as a sales coach can launch your business to where it needs to be.