Sales managers often become sales managers because they were successful sellers. They know how to get the job done. Believe it or not, sometimes that ability to get things done is exactly what gets in the way of their sellers making quota. How is that possible?. They do what they shouldn't do; they TELL their sellers the answer, what to do, how to handle the situation.
This approach does not allow the seller to build their own skills. What’s more, it makes them dependent on the manager for all the answers, and it prevents reps from becoming agile and independent when dealing with clients. There is a better way, though.
Enter Sales Coaching
Multiple research studies show that coaching is the best way to increase a sales team's quota attainment. Coaching is about growing your seller, making them excel on their own, about being facilitative in the relationship, rather than directive.
A seller will become more self-sufficient and effective when they learn to solve their own dilemmas. If a sales manager tells them what to do, they may not remember it for the next time, and they don't truly learn how to solve problems for themselves. But when a seller is coached, she will take ownership of her actions and she is unleashed to succeed!
When sellers are coached three or more hours per month, they can go from failing to meet quotas to exceeding their quotas. Just three hours per month will change the equation for a sales team. Multiply that by each seller in an organization and this changes a business. IBM believes that sales coaching is a bit different from other business coaching, and we have developed a specific advanced sales coaching approach to sales coaching that takes the unique needs of a sales team into account.
Power of Questions
If you make one change towards coaching, implement the most impactful technique: questions. Powerful questions make sellers think—think about how to solve their own issue. This act of thinking through options creates the neurological pathways that will stick and allow even more learning and performance to occur.
What are powerful questions? Powerful questions have the following characteristics:
- Open ended, requiring the seller to think
- Not leading, it doesn't point the seller to a specific answer
- Makes no judgement, does not serve the coaches personal agenda or make the seller feel they are wrong
- Is relevant to the situation
- Gets to the heart of the issue
- Stimulates reflection now and in the future
Using powerful questions is just one strong way a sales manager can coach their seller. When creating a culture of coaching there are many other techniques that prove impactful. IBM's Advanced Sales Coaching program is implementing a vast array of sales coaching techniques in our efforts for mastery and a culture of coaching and we are using innovation to do it.
In our session at ATD 2017 International Conference & Exposition, Mastering the Universe – Advanced Sale Coaching for Managers, you will learn what is needed for a successful sales coaching program that will achieve mastery and how you can use innovative digital learning to get it done.