Coaching for Sales Performance: Start with Goal-Setting
Everyone has some level of awareness around the importance of setting goals, and many know how to set goals. Yet, goal-setting is a skill set that few companies develop to the point of competency. For businesses, the lack of effective goal-setting is not just an innocent character flaw of sales managers—it’s a critical deficiency that can define the difference between hitting your 2021 revenue expectations and hitting a wall.
While it may sound like a paranoid hot take, goal-setting is a skill that can have a significant effect on you, your sales team, and your company’s bottom line. As a critical first step within the coaching process, goal-setting skills are in sales teams managed by a strong coach. And that is precisely where things start to fall apart: There are very few sales managers who invest in their coaching skills, and this unfortunate piece of data leads to a host of troubling statistics. For example, more than 60 percent of sales professionals will leave the team if they do not have a good coach, and that number may include your star performer!
But that is just one of several severe consequences of an underdeveloped coaching cadence:
1. Failure to hit the sales number for a given quarter or even for the year
2. Inability to set clear expectations and hold people accountable
Tie Individual Goals to Organizational Strategy
A quick self-analysis can help you determine if your sales department could benefit from a regular cadence of role-play activities:
1. How many opportunities are lost because your team was not prepared?
2. What methods, if any, do you have to prepare salespeople for an important client meeting?
3. Are your salespeople overconfident about their customer meeting skills?
4. Do your salespeople position their questions in a way to get the most information?
5. Do your team members have shy, insecure body language?
Many sales professionals think their sales skills are so strong that they can “wing it” when it comes to meetings with clients. Salespeople frequently will say, “I have been doing this for a long time. Nobody can rattle me.” The only thing this proves is that they are over confident and maybe even insecure.
In no other profession would this be an acceptable attitude; a doctor or lawyer would not walk into a meeting largely unprepared, basing their actions on a “gut feeling” coming from the confidence of experience! Why are salespeople not held to a higher standard of training and preparation? It is an excellent and somewhat befuddling question.
Assess Your Coaching Skills To Address The Issue
Addressing the issue by assessing your coaching skills can put your entire sales organization on the path toward reaching 2021 sales goals:
1. Sales Managers can improve the performance of a sales team through goal-setting, which is part of the coaching
2. The end of the quarter is an ideal time for sales managers to set coaching goals for themselves and schedule
goal-setting activities for their teams
3. Structured, regular coaching by the sales manager around goals—company, team, and individual goals—supports
the desire and commitment of the entire sales team, which is fundamental to sustainable success in sales.
When it comes to sales, effective coaching is absolutely necessary to see the performance you desire. Starting with goal-setting lets you and the sales rep structure a plan for success while making them aware of how their work impacts the organizations strategic objectives – not just revenue.