Coaching Makes Perfect?

When it comes to sales productivity, sales coaching certainly comes into play and is crucial for a successful sales organization. If you’re going to make adjustments, the team has to to be coached to understand the new game plan. Likewise, individual contributors may need sales coaching to fully develop their field effectiveness.

But which ones? Your stragglers, high-performers, or future high-performers? Logic says leave the high performers alone and coach the others. After all, the manager/coach is there to manage and help, right? Watch your logic.

CSO Insight’s 2011 Sales Performance Optimization – Sales Management Analysis rated managers’ ability to proactively identify which reps needed coaching or mentoring. The percentage of firms rating Needs Improvement was 37%, an all-time high, and the Meets Expectations group was at 44%, an all-time low. Firms rating Exceeds Expectations grew to almost 16%.

What does this mean? Means there’s lots of room for improvement. Yes, you’ve got to coach, but do it wisely. The best firms (effective sales management) coach to metric bars and performance analytics set by their top performers, then proactively identify (dashboard visibility) players that need help. The coaching is objective and helpful, not belittling or damaging. High-potential players develop; weaker ones become clearly identified for a new opportunity, elsewhere.

Interesting also that there is a correlation between rep turnover and effective coaching visibility. There was a 10% higher turnover rate for Needs Improvement vs. Exceeds Expectations firms.

Better coaching environment; lower turnover.