How to Enable Effective Sales Coaching
“When executives create unhealthy, anti-sales cultures, they’re as much to blame for poor sales results as the reps.” Mike Weinberg via LinkedIn.
In this excerpt from The Winner's Guide to Effective Sales Coaching, Brian Trautschold calls upon the insights of Mike Kunkle, Mike Weinberg, Jason Jordan and Tamara Schenk to flesh out the necessary foundation for effective sales coaching.
The Prerequisites for Effective Sales Coaching
The latest research shows that effective sales coaching starts with strategic investments in tools and training for sales managers. To illustrate, read the following anecdote from legendary sales enablement consultant Mike Kunkle:
“A senior sales leader at a mid-market technology firm approached me, concerned that his frontline sales managers weren’t coaching due to a recent survey with lackluster feedback from reps. The leader wanted me to train his managers to be effective coaches. Instead, I reviewed the survey results, set up conference calls with the frontline managers and their sales leaders, did a focus group that laid out all the things managers were being asked to do, and documented estimates for how long each should take. It turned out managers were being asked to fit 110 hours of work in a week - so they ended up prioritizing their focus based on what executives were reviewing – which was neither coaching nor performance management.”
Source: CSO Insights.
Upon Kunkle’s recommendation, the company implemented a massive overhaul in its sales management strategy. Manager training on the new strategy was completed in late Q1. By the end of Q4, the company “had a top-line revenue lift of more than 34 percent, finishing the year over quota, reported a decrease in rep turnover, and achieved faster ramp-up times for new sales hires.”
According to Kunkle, the company made the following adjustments to their sales management strategy using his recommendations:
- Offloaded administrative tasks and reducing meeting requests.
- Defined core competencies with assessments and growth plans.
- Developed training curriculum and effective learning system.
- Established a cadence and held managers accountable.
- Shifted focus to hiring, field training and coaching.
Essentially, there were two steps to this overhaul: Step 1. Company systematized manager workflow and performance evaluation. Step 2. Company equipped managers with framework, training and technology.
Kunkle was kind enough to supply a clear visual layout of what the modern sales management system entails. As the graphic illustrates, sales management technology plays a vital role in the successful implementation of such a system.
Source: Mike Kunkle.
Systems and enablement work hand-in-hand to drive revenue growth, according to CSO Insights. In this 2016 Study, their research looked at the differences between annual sales manager enablement investments smaller or larger than $2,500 per person per year.
They found the following benefits:
- Win rates: Achieved win rates 9%-50.5% above industry average.
- Revenue plan attainment: Increased attainment by 18.4%-106.7%.
- Quota attainment: Earned 4% higher quota success on average.
Ultimately, the emerging industry research on sales manager enablement has massive implications for the future of sales coaching. Solving the sales coaching issue does not mean spending more on external hires or spending big dollars on an expensive sales kickoff or high-end consultant. What executives should invest in is management training.
As found by Vantage Point Performance, 61% of executives admit their sales managers “have not been adequately trained in pipeline management strategies and techniques.” The malpractice leads Jason R. Jordan to muse: “How can we expect our sales managers to do something well when we haven’t prepared them to do it?’”
The answer is to follow these straightforward directives from Mike Kunkle: “Make the commitment. Get the role expectations and competencies right. Provide the right tools to help managers work more efficiently. Hire (or rent) someone to coach your coaches. Measure the behaviors and outcomes you expect, and report on them transparently. Capture the output of sales coaching sessions.”
The Winner's Guide to Sales Coaching
Companies need elite sales coaches more than ever. The Winner's Guide to Effective Sales Coaching sets forth everything companies need to reach the next level.
Visit the Academy Page to download the Winner's Guide and learn: the ROI of effective sales coaching, actionable coaching obstacles for today's sales managers, core coaching strategies and principles for modern teams, and our sales coaching playbook here at Ambition.
The Sales Coaching Experts
The Winner's Guide to Effective Sales Coaching features world-class insights from six featured experts: Jason R. Jordan. Mike Weinberg. John Barrows. Trish Bertuzzi. Lauren Bailey. Mike Kunkle. Tamara Schenk. Get to know them better below.
Ambition: The Agile Sales Management Platform
Harvard Business Review and AA-ISP (the Global Inside Sales Organization). See why Salesforce clients like Wayfair, Outreach, Velocify and more use Ambition to assess and motivate their teams with real-time data analytics.
Contact us to schedule a demo of Ambition for your sales force today.