5 Sales Coaching Tips for a Strong Very First Quarter

You have actually closed out another successful year and your team hit their numbers, or perhaps your year didn’t wind up as well as you had hoped. In either case, in 2015 is history. Now that the year-end push is over, it’s time to concentrate on getting your team off to a fantastic start. Here’s 5 sales training suggestions for a successful very first quarter and a strong performance throughout the New Year:

Start coaching— According to CSO Insights, usually, 57.1% of salespeople make quota and the total profits plan attainment is 82.7%. They also discovered that a vibrant coaching process enhances win rates by 28% and quota attainment by 10%. So, if you haven’t already started coaching your team, now is a good time to begin! With a clean slate and a new set of objectives, make your plans and get going. This will increase the success of your group this quarter and this year! Go here if you need assistance beginning.

Tidy up the pipeline— It’s easy for associates to want to pack their pipeline, but if it has plenty of unqualified leads, or prospective deals unlikely to close, it’s best to clear it of dead wood. You just want your greatest potential customers in the pipeline so your associates stay focused on the offers that are most likely to result in a win. Resolve this credentials procedure with your team and with individual reps so they can preserve it moving on. According to, “Teams with smaller sized pipelines of active opportunities made 20% more prospecting calls, carried out 25% more conferences with prospects, and closed 50% more offers than their peers (measured by dollar amount). By removing the scrap from their pipelines and utilizing their time more sensibly, these teams demonstrated that bigger is not always much better.” This will not only enhance your win/loss ratio, it will enhance your coaching sessions also. Rather of losing valuable time going over weak potential customers you’ll be focused on the strongest potential customers and advancing them through to close.

Return to essentials— Revitalize your team on sales essentials throughout group and specific training sessions. This will remind them of how things need to be done, while assisting you determine where the group, and each rep, requires improvement. Practice through role playing and sharing of outstanding examples of call recordings. There are a variety of methods to follow through and evaluate progress. You can track analytics,evaluation call recordings, utilize call barging, or do employ tandem with employee. Eventually, reviewing the essentials will keep your associates sharp and avoid them from getting lazy.

Evaluation last year’s efficiency— Evaluation key sales metrics from last year for your team as well as for individual contributors. You’ll wish to replay call recordings for each of your associates also. After you’ve done this, discuss your observations, about the group, with the group and about individuals with each of them. This will allow you to get additional insights worrying areas requiring, and not needing, extra enhancement. It will also help determine less efficient habits that have to be eliminated this year.

Sales technique— A lot of associates need ongoing sales technique coaching. Assist your representatives browse the sales procedure by keeping offers moving when they get stuck and mentor representatives the best ways to advance them to successful closes. Continually enhance your established sales process and offer them with a current consistent training sessions, will improve their self-confidence and knowledge, associating with sales methods, while increasing their total success.

When you carry out these 5 coaching suggestions, at the beginning of the year, your group will get off to a strong start. They’ll reach their goals more quickly and continuously enhance throughout the year.

Sales Coaching 101: Focus on the Middle

Spending more than three hours a month on coaching sales staff increased goal attainment 17% compared to two hours or less, a study by the Sales Executive Council found.

Despite the generally accepted idea that sales coaching leads to higher goal attainment, many in sales management and even industry coaches can be unsure where to start. Often, managers make the mistake of directing their sales staff rather than coaching them, which leads away from the desired response.

“When leaders give orders they succeed in conditioning their people to wait for those orders, resulting in a decline in initiative and overall engagement,” writes David Priemer in .

Focus on the middle

Coaches tend to target the top and bottom performers, leaving the majority in the middle to their own devices. But there’s only so much room for improvement for those top performers, so the bottom line isn’t going to change much if you leave the rest of the team to fend for themselves.

“A simple 5% gain in the middle 60% of your sales performers can deliver over 91% greater sales than a 5% shift in your top 20%,” writes Vadim Zorin

The middle performers — the core of your team — have the most to gain. While they’re doing well enough to stay above the lowest rungs of the performance ladder, they still have room to grow. So when sales coaches spread out the coaching evenly, from the top performer to the bottom, they’re failing to focus on what they should: Focus on the middle — focus on getting the team from average to excellent.

How to train the core

Clear-cut objectives and concrete examples are necessary in the sales field, but that doesn’t mean that coaching is all about developing a step-by-step strategy for “how to get the sale.”

Coaching is more about working one-on-one to develop habits and behaviors that lead to success. In sales, this means asking your reps open-ended questions about where the sale went south with a potential client, or which sales management tools would have helped the rep do their job better. Coaching is about getting your staff to better understand themselves and identify their own strengths and weaknesses.

Behavior and performance help a salesperson go from good to great, and this applies to your core sales staff. While setting goals, outlining specific actions to take every day and advising on best practices are certainly beneficial for your sales team, a study published in the British Psychological Society argues that it is cognitive-behavioral coaching that truly enhances sales performance.

Successful salespeople know that effective sales aren’t only a result of specific activities, but also of the particular approach one takes to potential clients.

“If you want to sell consistently and increase your revenues, you may have to refine the way you engage clients throughout the entire sales process,” says the Behavioral Coaching Institute.

Don’t ignore the rest of the force

While there isn’t much payoff in coaching the top performers because they’re already great at their jobs it would be ill-advised to ignore them altogether.

“If you leave your high performer alone, complacency will eventually sink in and a decline in performance will occur,” writes Vu Van, senior manager of sales enablement and training for a digital health startup company.

The top performers are comfortable in their roles, but comfort gets boring. You want your top performers to feel confident, engaged and motivated — not comfortable. While a coach’s attention should be targeted to middle performers, a sales manager should also focus on how helping the core encourages those top performers and brings back a level of competition that drives them.

Just as sales managers target the star salespeople for coaching because it’s fun, they often target the lowest performing reps because they need the help. While that’s a reasonable impulse, the investment in time and energy is better spent elsewhere, and by focusing on the middle, those bottom performers should be chasing a rising average.

“Not all reps who get coached, even by good coaches, do better,” Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson say in . “In fact, our research shows that coaching is almost worthless when it targets the wrong reps.”

Some anecdotal evidence indicates that low performers can greatly improve with even a little guidance from an experienced mentor, but the general rule is that there is probably a reason for their lack of success. The focus here should be on finding out what that reason is and seeing if the sales manager and rep can work through it — or if they should be having another conversation altogether.

Final thoughts

The sales manager’s role is to find out what your team needs and how you can provide it — whether that’s support for the top performers, coaching for the middle performers, or an open conversation about underlying issues faced by your bottom performers. The point is that teams succeed when their leaders are fully engaged, aware and available.

Successful Movie Franchises and the 10 Keys to Impactful Sales Coaching

What are your thoughts about Atlantis?  Intrigued by the lost continent, I have read a lot about it over the years, including the book, Atlantis Beneath the Ice, which revealed where Atlantis is actually located.  Cool!  On a recent vacation I managed to read 5 books and 3 of them were from an Atlantis-themed trilogy.  This particular series was pure science fiction but there is no fiction whatsoever when we explore the connection between successful book and movie series and effective sales coaching.  They share the very same premise and it is actually quite simple to grasp.

There are many book series and movie franchises that go well beyond a 3-volume Trilogy.  Does James Bond 007 ring a bell?  There have been 26 of those so far!

They key to any successful series is not only the popularity of the first installment, but how badly that first story leaves you wanting more.  The first book not not only has to be really good, but you must feel disappointed that it came to an end!

That’s the sign of great sales coaching too.  Today’s coaching session must be so good that the salesperson does not want it to end.  Not only that, but the salesperson can’t wait to come back for more coaching.  Now, be honest with yourself for a moment.  Assuming that you regularly and consistently coach all of your salespeople, is your coaching so powerful that your salespeople can’t wait for another session with you?  It should be.

Sales leaders that coach effectively, impact deals and increase revenue by 28%.  What would a 28% increase in sales mean for you?

It makes sense that great coaching has a great impact, but only 8% of all sales leaders are able to coach effecitvely.  And only 28% of all sales managers spend 50% or more of their time coaching which tells us two more things:

  1. 72%, or most sales managers do not spend enough time coaching
  2. Assuming that the 8% who are effective are equally distributed between the 28% group and the 72% group, only 2.25% of all sales leaders spend enough time and are really good at it.

One might think that the lack of time invested in coaching is the easiest to fix but for sales managers who also maintain territories and accounts, it’s not that simple.  However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.  Hire a salesperson to take those accounts and get busy doing what sales managers are supposed to do!  Coach.

As for the nuances of effective coaching, the 10 keys to success are the ability to:

  1. Develop a coaching culture – without that the coaching won’t work.
  2. Coach your salespeople every day – it’s the repetition that makes the difference.
  3. Debrief as often as you pre-call strategize.
  4. Identify where in the sales process the opportunity went off the rails
  5. Identify whether skills, Sales DNA or both that were at fault
  6. Effectively role play how the call or meeting should have progressed and teach at the same time.
  7. Effectively role play how an upcoming call or meeting needs to sound
  8. Reach impactful lessons learned from each coaching session
  9. Impact deals without being on those calls
  10. Help your salespeople become stronger and more effective with each passing day

Why is it so difficult?  Because your lousy salespeople get into lousy scenarios – ones which you, a good salesperson, consistently managed to avoid because you were, well, good!  Your salespeople find themselves in those situations every day, those are the scenarios for which they will play the prospect, and you must demonstrate two things through role play.

  1. How to avoid those scenarios
  2. How to turn around those scenarios

About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan’s Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years.  Dave’s Blog earned a Bronze Medal in 2016 and this article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016. Read more about Dave.

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