A lot of bloggers that I really respect (chiefly Paul McCord and Dave Brock) have been talking this week about sales coaching and I'd like to weigh in because of The Brooks Group's unique view on the topic. Instead of one-on-one coaching, we often turn to a group environment to drive results. We do it because of the way peer pressure can drive improvements for competitive people (like sales professionals!) And it also means more time-in-the-field, which is critical to sales-driven companies.
First, we think that coaching is the art of helping a salesperson improve upon behaviors that drive results. It’s not about personality (that’s not too changeable) it’s not about tactics (that’s just knowledge). Instead, good coaching is about adjusting behavior. It's about closing the gap between knowing and doing. In other words, turning "knowing what to do" into "doing what I know."
Everything we do at The Brooks Group has to help us achieve our mission, which is to "help organizations forge sales cultures through sustainable behavioral change."
With that in mind, we've created a one-of-a-kind group coaching process (with a robust, but simple-to-use web 2.0 driven platform) that allows salespeople in our client organizations to engage in friendly competition that truly changes behavior.
It's group coaching and here’s how it works:
One of our Sales Coaches (or someone we train inside a client organization) acts as a team’s personal trainer for nine to 12 weeks following an initial training engagement. Weekly assignments apply the IMPACT Selling techniques that were taught in the classroom (or in our virtual training environment). The assignments force participants to implement the techniques in their current prospecting and sales activities. We also use weekly follow-up coaching calls to simultaneously provide feedback, accountability, and reinforcement.
This in-the-field coaching connects the “how to” of actually implementing techniques and tactics with the “why to” of developing what we call a "fingertip-feel" for how each step of the IMPACT sales process drives the success of the sale. And it’s making these connections that powers sales success.
Do we have the corner on Sales Coaching? Probably not. But we can tell you that our approach works!
Here’s what one VP of sales said about it on a recent coaching call…
“[We] just had a record month in September and we’re on pace for a record October at this point. A lot of that success speaks directly towards the improvement that we are seeing from our sales staff (learning and applying the IMPACT system) in the meetings we’re having…At the end of the day I couldn’t be more proud of this team in the improvement we have made...”
“…what we’re seeing in the field compared to where we were before we started this process is a dramatic difference...Today I ran the numbers. And, if we continue at our current pace, we’re going to break the ### mark. Which is unheard of in our company...I encourage each and everyone here to continue as best they can to work on what Steve has put forth here...what you’re doing is landing.”
I share those comments not to pat ourselves on the back, but instead to show you that Sales Coaching can be very effective when it incorporates a competitive team dynamic. Salespeople, by their very nature, are competitive and allowing them to unleash that aspect of their personalities can be incredibly effective and -- in our experience -- drives some pretty impressive behavioral improvements.