First Steps to Coaching a High Performance Sales Team

So you have just started a new role or inherited a sales team what do you do? First you start with the who – the people, then the how – the sales process, and lastly the why – the metrics and targets they and you will in effect be measured by.

The Who

Like anything in life you need to sit down with each of them and understand why they are here, what was their journey to this point, and what is their destination or end goal.

Importantly what motivates them (money, status, job satisfaction, recognition), what about their role do they enjoy and what do they dislike, what do they do well, and where can they improve.

Your own ability at breaking the ice, building trust and demonstrating integrity will be crucial in them opening up and being honest with you. If you are able to demonstrate some of your own background, challenges and even past vulnerabilities that will help in levelling the conversation.

Once you understand their roles, where they fit in the company, their motivations and strengths and weaknesses this places you in a good position to understand the people aspect and how you can coach them to be the best.

The How

Next is looking at the sales process so what do they do, how a lead comes in to the business, how it is captured and nurtured and what systems and processes are in place to turn that lead if qualified in to a customer. That means analysing the sales lead workflow, marketing automation, CRM system, and data capture. How the team prepare for sales calls or meetings and the ever important follow-up. Key areas of focus should be pipeline management, forecasting and negotiation and close. Coaching all the team members across the sales process and refining their skills and ability in each area will be essential to have them all high performing.

The Why

Lastly reviewing the metrics and targets, these must be done together as one impacts the other. If your metrics are wrong then you’ll never over-achieve on your targets. By starting with the target you can work back on what metrics and activities you need to hit to get there. If you know the average sales value and the conversion rates for each team member then you can quickly identify how many sales calls or meetings need to be performed to reach target and by when. Also by having data and metrics about your ideal customers and those that convert the highest you can focus on the right customer segments.

When were the targets last hit is a really good question and there really is no point on having targets that no-one can hit. You then have a demotivated team and if there are winners in that team they’ll go elsewhere as no-one wants to be at 50% of target all year. You need to look behind the numbers and understand what is realistic based on historical data, where your product/service sits in the market right now and how you are driving more leads in to your sales funnel.

You’ll rarely have all the team performing at 100% or more but when the majority are above this line then you have momentum to really grow and a happy CEO and a happy sales team!

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