This series will help you identify why you need a coaching culture and show you how to start, build, and maintain a culture that drives ROI.
Great! You’ve uncovered why you need a strong foundation for coaching culture to take off at your organization. Now it’s time to frame it out. The framework includes creating buy-in from executives and managers, aligning everyone on what ‘good’ looks like, and setting coaching expectations. Once these steps are complete it’s easier to hold everyone accountable to them.
Establish Buy-In Throughout Management
All it takes is one manager or executive not joining the movement to halt a coaching culture in its tracks. Get ahead of the issue by establishing benefits for every level of your management team.
Most executives are focused on increasing revenue. Coaching culture drives revenue without having to hire more people because the reps get better and close more deals. Executives can leverage coaching data for decision making based on facts, not educated guesses.
The biggest coaching hurdle for sales managers is finding the time. Look at their calendars and explore ways to eliminate unnecessary meetings and/or evaluate tools like conversation intelligence software which significantly cuts down the time it takes to coach a call.
When you first propose this cultural shift to your manager, illustrate the power of knowing why top performers succeed. This information will help managers drive their average performers to become top performers with coaching.
Identify What ‘Good’ Looks Like
It bears repeating that sales training programs are like religion–no two individuals practice the same exact way. That is why it’s mission critical to get everyone from the sales floor to the C-suite to agree on what ‘good’ looks like on a call. Without aligning on this, it’s nearly impossible for coaching culture to take off.
The easiest way to accomplish this is by bringing together all of your sales managers to build out a scorecard. Have everyone write down 5-8 of the most important elements of a good call at your organization, then review the responses and narrow it down.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to what you’re rating, discuss how to rate these elements on a call (Ideally, 1 is poor, 5 is excellent). An effective way to do this is to play a variety of calls and have everyone score them individually. The team then reviews their answers and discusses what the key differences are between a 4 and a 5 or a 1 and a 2.
During this exercise, it’s also a good time to establish or re-establish a baseline for conversations at your org. You should focus on answering things like:
- What is the ideal talk:listen ratio?
- How many interchanges (back and forth between the rep and the prospect) should a rep average?
- What is the optimal call length?
After everyone has agreed on what ‘good’ actually means, build out your scorecards and make them accessible to the entire team. Make scorecards a mandatory part of your coaching process to ensure your team remains calibrated.
Build Out Your Sales Coaching Playbook
The team knows what good looks like. Now it’s time to build out the contents of a productive coaching session.
One of the biggest mistakes sales managers make when coaching their reps is trying to cram too much info into one session. This is single handedly the easiest way to overwhelm a rep and cause them to shut down and close off to any feedback you give them.
Prevent coaching-overload by setting ground rules for coaching sessions such as:
- Focus on 1-2 things the rep can improve on per session
- Lead with a positive
- Keep discipline separate from coaching
Use these ground rules as the foundation for your coaching playbook. Other items to include are coaching goals, what good looks like, how often to coach, ways to lead a rep to self-discovery, the cadence of asynchronous to synchronous coaching, etc. Documenting these details will help keep your managers aligned on how to coach.
While you build out the playbook, you also need to decide if you’ll create incentive programs such as a Call of the Month contest. These types of incentive programs will motivate your reps who don’t always find themselves at the top of the board. This reinforces your coaching culture by putting an emphasis on call content in addition to outcomes.
Once you established why you need a coaching culture and how to start building it, it’s time to implement the culture shift. The next post in this series will cover how to roll this out to your teams plus details on what to do with reps who resist coaching.
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