Last year, The Brooks Group partnered up with Training Industry, Inc. - a sales training industry analyst and research organization - to conduct a study to help us identify best practices for building the most effective sales coaching program possible. The study, one of the most comprehensive ever completed on the in’s and out’s of sales coaching, included input from over 240 respondents representing 175 separate organizations.
The resulting report is called "The Essential Elements of a World Class Sales Coaching Program" and it outlines some pretty eye-opening stats. One of those stats includes the single biggest obstacle to sales coaching effectiveness.
Why Are 65% Of Sales Coaching Programs Considered Ineffective?
Our research identified 8 specific challenges to sales coaching program success. The most common challenge is that coaching participants aren't able to apply learning on the job.
This is important and here's the takeaway...
If your coaching program participants can’t tie coaching they're getting from their managers to their on-the-job selling reality, then sales coaching basically becomes an intellectual exercise. In short, you can start with the best coaching plan in the world, but if you haven't built in methods for real-world application, you may as well not introduce it at all.
Putting in measures to drive application of the coaching on the job is the key.
3 Ways To Drive Sales Coaching Knowledge Application:
- Install measurable accountability into the program. Requiring salespeople to publicly report back (in sales meetings, conference calls, etc.) how they’ve applied their managers’ coaching in real-world settings can be an amazing way to create value in sales coaching. Have them report both the positive and negative outcomes of applying what they've been coached on in the field. Encourage group discussion. Peer-to-peer coaching can be just as valuable as the sales coaching provided by the managers.
- Give your sales managers the right coaching tools. This may be really obvious, but it’s HUGE. For years, one of the most popular tools we provide in our Sales Management Symposium™ is the Joint Call Audit. This is essentially an audit a manager can use with a rep directly after they’ve gone on a joint sales call. The rep is graded on how he or she used various aspects of the selling process with the prospect. The sales rep is evaluated directly after the call on things such as whether they had sufficient knowledge about the prospect prior to the call, whether they introduced themselves in such a way to reduce tension, etc. It doesn’t get any more real-world than that.
- Use "gamification" to drive in-the-field application. This is nothing more than adding an element of fun and achievement to how you want your salespeople applying sales coaching. Setting up point systems with incentives for incremental achievements is one way you can get your people applying the learning on the job. Another idea is to set up competitions between regions, territories, etc.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. To access dozens of stats, research and tips for developing a world-class sales coaching program, access the report below!