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ATD Blog

Sales Coaching Programs

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Tue Jul 21 2009

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Why doesn't sales training work?

Top performing salespeople are often in many different companies in any given day during any given week. Each person they interact with expects a certain level of integrity and also a high level of performance. Sometimes this is hard to juggle.

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While the salespeople are meeting the high expectations of buyers, their own organization expects them to drive results by selling as much as possible. Sometimes what their client's need and what the company is asking them to do can come to a crossroads -- this is where the highest level of personal integrity (character) is expected --- and this is where sales coaching come in.

In the realm of sales coaching there are a number of skills that come into play with the sales person. They have presentation skills, rapport building skills, territory planning skills, and sales process skills. There are so many skills involved in selling that it's hard to list them all. But instead of creating a long list of essential sales skills, a good coaching sales program should concentrate on three very important pillars. Like anchor points that keep a boat from drifting away, these pillars will enable the sales coach to keep their focus on bringing the best out of their sales team. This is the power of sales coaching... an approach such as this can help tap into (and improve) relevant sales skill instead of trying to cram someone else's knowledge and abilities into the salesperson (as some sales training programs tend to do).

The three anchor points of sales coaching are:

  • Observation

  • Motivation

  • Developmental Feedback

Keeping these anchor points as the base of the sales coaching program will help keep everyone on the right track, with the right focus. Let's face it, the desire to "make plan" can sometimes create overzealous selling behavior. Coaching can help keep everyone on track and focusing on the development of salespeople.

Think about it: Salespeople have been given certain expectations as far as sales quotas and revenue. They're kind of taught to do whatever it takes to meet those expectations. We've all heard and taught that sales is a number game, selling is really simple, you've got to be able to take rejection, overcome objections, and keep your head down in order to keep plowing through -- but how far are salespeople willing to go? Where do they draw the line?

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Sales Coaching can help sales people accomplish their objective while keeping their eye on important (and potentially reputation saving) issues such integrity, ethics, and supporting buyer behavior. More importantly, coaching can help salespeople understand that buyers need to make their own business successful and make a relationship on the way, and balance that understanding with the overall goal of driving revenue.

Make sure you find a way to properly conducted sales coaching activities based on observation, motivation, and feedback. Don't underestimate the power of well documented tools, checklists, and job aids that can help salespeople juggle the many demands of multiple organizations. When you approach sales coaching with these types of tools, you are able to help the salesperson become a more integral partner to the buying organization. At the same time the salesperson will become a more integral part of your own company (you know, the company that is asking them to "sell as much as possible"!)

Proper sales coaching, with the right tools, provided by the right experts can help you and your sales team embrace the challenge (and therefore the opportunity) of juggling multiple demands; especially if they're built on observation, motivation, and feedback. This helps you drive revenue, helps your sales team become more confident, and helps your clients succeed.

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