Sales coaching: 5 digital re-solutions for upgraded commercial performance

Antoni Girod

Published : 17 January 2017
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les solutions digitales au service du coaching des commerciaux

 

 

At the start of this year, a time for good resolutions, spending more time coaching salespeople should be high on the list for managers.

Why ?

Because good resolutions usually focus on things that we never manage to do throughout the year and the effective and regular coaching of salespeople is very often part of these things.

Indeed, while everyone recognizes the importance and impact of coaching on performance, it is quite rare to meet managers who have all the time necessary to implement it. Do not think of it as a wanton criticism. It is just an observation. The reality of schedules, the number of tasks and requests that constantly fill the agendas make this essential mission regularly deferred, circumvented, forgotten, or botched.

So, in order for 2017 to truly be a year of progress for the coaching of salespeople, we will provide five ideas, or rather five “solutions”, to “equip” your good resolutions in this area. Five avenues to follow to ensure that the effective development of salespeople’s skills can be compatible with an already brimming managerial agenda. Five ideas to get the best possible “effectiveness / invested time” ratio in your interventions. Five ideas making the digital transformation of your business also relevant in the way you go about teaching your trade and advancing your salespeople.

 

1.   Mapping and monitoring the evolution of key competences

 

daignostic en ligne des compétences commerciale

To help employees progress, do better, and reach new milestones, it is important to be able to precisely define some key “moves”. This seems obvious, but in the end, few managers are able to easily, quickly and accurately list the key competences that each member of their team should master.

It is a pity because it is much easier to advise, coach and make progress when managers are able to make a precise diagnosis and clearly explain the expectations associated with a specific component of the trade.

In order to save time and precisely identify the areas of improvement of your co-workers according to their achievements and results, it is therefore particularly judicious to list once and for all the inventory of the key competences to be mastered.

Depending on the case, this will involve some type of diagnosis, self-diagnosis or skills grids. But regardless, the more accurate these tools are and the more they are used over time, the easier and more efficient the task of the manager.

At Halifax Consulting we regularly build this kind of customized tools that managers can then access and use online. Thus, managers can regularly choose their coaching priorities based on the results and orientation of their employees regarding each item.

2.   Empowering salespeople to develop their skills

 

 

Academy

When a music teacher gives a piano lesson to one of his/ her pupils, the course is more effective, more useful and probably more enjoyable if the practice relies on a good knowledge of music theory. If the teacher has to explain the basics every time, progress will be difficult.

It’s exactly the same for a commercial manager. If the manager needs to always explain the fundamentals of sales techniques before focusing his/ her interventions on concrete applications, everyone will be wasting their time. The manager will turn into a parrot and the managee will stagnate in terms of knowledge.

The key idea is to remind every salesperson that they have a personal role in developing their own skills. Everything cannot come from the manager or the trainings dispensed now and then. The business is difficult enough so that the importance for team members to work regularly towards developing their skills by themselves need not be justified by the manager.

This is why we encourage our clients to provide their salespeople (and managers) with a real Online Academy for Commercial Performance. Thus, everyone has an online access to all the resources necessary to work towards increasing their mastery of sales techniques.

The manager can then rely on this framework to work on practical applications with his/ her team without having to spend too much time upgrading business skills per se.

 

3.   Validating knowledge to customize coaching actions

 

Online Challenges

CSO insight, a renowned US research institute covering business performance, published a study in 2015 that highlighted the following: 79% of the information from a sales training course dissipates within a few weeks and a third of sellers do not sufficiently master the arguments necessary to convince a client.

The question is: how can you make sure that the key elements of a training are well remembered? If you’re in charge of a lot of sellers, how do you know whether or not the pitches are under control? How can you be sure that the technical subtleties of your offers are well understood?

It is to answer these questions and help our customers ensure the homogenous mastery of essential sales knowledge that we propose to implement digital reinforcement challenges. This involves on the one hand “challenging” salespeople via regular questions sent on their smartphones and other devices. But the aim is also mostly to give managers a comprehensive view of the state of knowledge within their teams. Coaching actions are then much easier to target based on the results displayed on the dashboard available to managers.

 

4. Training asynchronously

 

solution digitales pour entraîner les commerciaux

Knowledge is important, but in order to succeed in the commercial field, it is necessary to know how to optimize it in order to convince. That’s the whole point of training: Practicing again and again to model, refine and perfect your presentations.

Any athlete looking for results spends a lot of time training with his/ her coach. In the commercial field, it is much less common. The moments when the manager and his/ her co-workers really take some time to train together are very rare. Again, it’s a matter of organization and agenda.

Rehearsal – the video training platform we provide for our customers – allows managers to train their employees consistently and asynchronously. It is a truly magical innovation!

On the one hand, salespeople can practice and train when they are available to do so. And on the other hand, managers can provide feedback when they are, in turn, available.

Go back in time and picture yourself 10 years from now.

Imagine if someone had told you: “One day you will be able to train your employees in a very personalized way without even moving around”; “One day you will be able to give exercises allowing you to check whether or not the ways you present your offer are in line with your expectations”; “One day each of your salespeople will be able to benefit from your advice, even those you cannot see very often because of the distance”. If someone had told you all this, you would probably have had a hard time believing it…  Now it is no longer a matter of believing it but of doing it, and Rehearsal allows you to do all this and much more to increase the impact of your coaching.

 

5. Combining stringency and benevolence

 

exigence et bienveillance au service du coaching des commerciaux

These four solutions for implementing your resolutions will not be effective without the proper mindset.

Methods and tools, however “magical” they may be, are nothing if the manager doesn’t know how to combine stringency and benevolence.

Advancing one’s collaborators cannot be done under constraint, without having a relationship based on trust and balance. Getting better, regularly pushing the boundaries, stepping out of the comfort zone… All your initiatives will only be accepted and put into effect if your salespeople trust you and feel some benevolence behind your intentions, your actions and the way you use these new development solutions.

Well, I wish you an excellent year 2017 and all the best possible energy to stimulate progress and performance within your teams.

Happy New Business to all !

Antoni Girod

 

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