How to Coach for Sales Effectiveness

BY Kathy Crosett
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Are your reps focused on sales effectiveness? If you’re wondering how sales effectiveness differs from sales efficiency, you’re not alone. Reps who completed the six calls you asked them to make yesterday worked efficiently. But if none of those calls result in a prospect agreeing to the next step in your sales process, your reps' sales effectiveness needs improvement.

Coach for Sales Effectiveness

You’ve worked with your reps on what they must do to successfully conclude each step in the sales process. A well- trained rep knows when they conduct a discovery session on a prospect, they should obtain the answers to key questions:

  • Does the prospect have a need for your solution?
  • Will the prospect have the money available to purchase your product in the near future?
  • Does the person your rep is speaking with have budgetary authority?

A disorganized or poorly motivated rep may neglect to ask some of these questions during their initial conversations. And their sales process may drag on longer than that of other reps in your department as a result. To measure sales effectiveness for your reps, track the length of the average process in your group. Yes, special circumstances always apply. But when you detect that one rep consistently takes much longer than others to close deals, you’ll know where to focus your efforts.

Improving Outcomes Improves Effectiveness

Before you begin to coach for sales effectiveness, make sure your reps understand the steps in your sales process. Your training department likely instructed them on how to listen while they are qualifying leads. After the initial conversation, they should enter their discovery findings into the CRM.

Senior sales reps may chafe at being asked to document their work outcomes. Remind them that they are setting an example for the less experienced team members who need structure in their daily activities to improve effectiveness. And senior sales reps may also need to know that you’re holding them accountable for completing deals within the expected time frame.

The more data your reps enter into your system, the better. Extensive research shows there’s no substitute for using analytics from automated salesforce systems to improve performance. When the members of your team see how many days or weeks it takes their peers to close deals and what it takes to get the client’s signature on a contract, they may be willing to work more effectively. And the data provides you with information you need to coach for sales effectiveness.

Personalized Coaching

You don’t have time to continuously coach each rep who needs help with a specific part of the sales process or improving their soft skills. But you do know that if you don’t help the rep who struggles to close deals, the metrics for your entire department will suffer. A coaching platform personalized to each rep in your department, based on the results of psychometric assessments, will increase your effectiveness as a manager.

What does this type of coaching look like? Your reps receive tips via text or email on a regular basis. These tips will help your reps think through the process they’re using or what they might need to adjust to become more effective. In the case of sales skills, the message might encourage the poorly motivated rep to develop a route set of questions to ask every prospect before they end a discovery call. And when it comes to a soft skill such as empathy, tips provide consistent reminders for reps to change their behavior. For example, they should frequently ask prospects questions about their business challenges and plans for the future instead of rushing to close the deal.

Some of your reps will respond well to this type of coaching. Other reps will need more hands-​on guidance from you. But once you begin to coach for sales effectiveness, they’ll make their numbers more consistently.

To learn more about effective sales coaching, check out the research we sponsored on Managers as Coaches in High-​Performing Organizations.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels