COVID-19 has changed everything – including how sales happen and how buyers make purchases.
The job of enterprise Sales Managers has become tougher during the pandemic. With travel restrictions and strict lockdown norms, they are unable to meet their prospects and customers in person. The rules of customer engagement and client interactions have gone through a phenomenal change.
It is apparent that the skills and drive the sales teams will need in the future are fundamentally different.
Therefore, it will be the organizations’ responsibility to provide mentoring and coaching to their sales teams to help them navigate these tough times. Organizations will need to foster trust, honesty, drive, enthusiasm, empathy, creativity, and positivity in the team.
Studies have shown that companies with dynamic sales coaching programs achieve 28% higher win rates. Effective sales coaching programs can improve sales reps’ performance by up to 20%. And firms that provide an optimal amount of coaching see an approximately 17% increase in their annual revenues.
Undoubtedly, coaching and mentoring can help sales teams hit or exceed their quota and create a positive impact on business growth.
Unlike sales training sessions, which happen periodically and are many a time standard for all sales team members, the one-size-fits-all approach does not work for mentoring and coaching.
Since each sales rep has different skills, motivations, abilities, and qualities, it makes sense to make the coaching programs highly personalized. Only then can they be useful for the sales reps and help them succeed and reach their sales goals.
Let’s look at the key characteristics of highly successful coaching and mentoring interactions –
Many organizations spend a lot of time in sales enablement without thinking about incorporating context. Even if the content is good, without the context, it is of little use. To create value, for every situation, sales coaches need to understand the complete context from their sales reps such as buyer persona, use cases, priorities, sales stage, interest in product, competitive landscape, the experience of the sales pro of working in a similar situation, etc. Without such information, it is hard for the sales coaches to offer actionable insights and guidance.
Power Skill Development
In today’s uncertain world, power skills have become extremely important because salespeople today need to change their sales approach and tilt it more towards relationship development. These include skills such as empathy, emotional intelligence to understand what others are feeling and adapt accordingly, active listening, confidence, flexibility, optimism, and integrity. Obviously, the power skills cannot be attained in one day or through one training session. Sales coaching is an effective way to help sales reps develop new skills and help them meaningfully engage with the customers. Coaching programs that enable the development of power skills can create a more long-lasting impact.
Continuous Motivation and Appreciation
Unlike training, coaching and mentoring interactions are not about feeding chunks of information to the sales reps. The coaches should also provide them with the much-needed motivation to succeed. There should be an appreciation and motivation model in place while mentoring each member of the team, where they will be appreciated for every little progress they make and motivated to achieve larger goals. It needs to be an ongoing process to ensure maximum efficiency in closing big deals and developing a better relationship with the customers.
Rapport Development with Team Members and Managers
Sales happens through teamwork and is not an individual process. Every sales rep should have a good rapport with his/her fellow team members and managers to increase team efficiency and productivity. The coaches need to understand that each salesperson will have a different personality, management style, and coaching preferences. By considering every individual’s selling style, strengths, and weaknesses, coaches can define a unique strategy to help the team members foster transparency, increase collaboration, build mutual trust among team members, manage interpersonal differences, and pave the way for team success.
Consultative Approach to Selling
Cold selling is a thing of the past. 90% of decision-makers “never” respond to cold calls!
Clearly, times have changed. The traditional ways of making the sales pitch and selling have undergone fundamental changes. While interacting with the sales teams, today’s informed, hyper-connected customers are looking for expert advice and solutions to their problems. They are looking for options to improve their business, finding answers to their questions, and seeking out advice before making the final decision. They are not interested in listening to “sales pitches”.
Sales coaching interactions need to help sales reps in doing a proper analysis, strategic planning and by defining personalized approaches to hold meaningful and relevant conversations with potential customers and earn their trust.
Wrapping it up
The need for strategic leadership and coaching has never been more critical.
But the age-old sales training and coaching methods can no longer be effective. Today, organizations need to leverage the power of AL and ML and take a more skills data-driven approach to sales coaching.
NumlyEngage™ offers a skills data-driven model, leveraged by AI & ML, to help organizations kick start their sales coaching initiatives in a matter of a few days. It captures the many nuances of sales coaching to help sales teams sell fast and win big!