Part 2 of our dual episode of “True Confessions of a Sales Leader” continues with a discussion with Dr. Richard “Dick” Ruff and John Hoskins, respected experts in sales coaching, founders of The Level Five Selling Coaching System, and authors of the book, Level Five Selling: The Anatomy of a Quality Sales Call Revealed (click here for a complimentary copy).
In the first episode, Scott Olsen, founder of the Olsen Group and Gary Brashear, managing partner of the Olsen Group, joined them to discuss why sales coaching is so important to an organization, especially in these times. If you don’t think your sales organization or team needs a coaching program, listen to part 1.
After you’ve listened to part 1, then come back as we share insights and some real-world tactics on how you can get started on a coaching plan immediately.
Here are four key takeaways from this podcast episode:
Start at the top
Want to launch a coaching program? Most companies like yours probably have some previous history of coaching. Maybe it was intermittent or only done by a few people instead of a systematic way throughout the whole organization. So, how do you successfully get started or get re-started?
Start with your top management and top sales management. You’ll need an institutional commitment from them to establish a sales culture. Then, set the direction and focus for a coaching program before executing.
Conduct a quarterly business review by having your frontline leaders report on what they worked on and who they worked with. Review that plan and ask how the sales leader executed that plan. Prepare for some pushback, too. Pulling a sales member off of the time they’re spending making sales to coach them? Tough sell. However, it might also let you discover what the sales team is actually working on. Tasks that aren’t revenue-driving can be assigned to a non-sales member.
Use the right tools
Hire a coaching planner to help you get a good view of what the managers are focusing on and dealing with. Consider workshops that will help get everyone on the same page by using common language, a common framework, and the definition of what quality looks like. Employ—especially in these times—a virtual coaching platform. This technology, for instance, can provide videos with exercises that let the sales team “respond” on how they’re applying and responding to their current accounts. Then, the sales leader can view that and provide feedback.
When do you know you’re finished with coaching?
You never are. Coaching isn’t an extended exercise, it continuously needs to be done. Sales team members need to learn new skills, especially in our current environment. Those skills are constantly changing so coaching doesn’t have a beginning and an end. That said, don’t over-invest in people that aren’t performing. If you do, you have to cut your losses early. Don’t let your ego hold on to someone you think you’ll turn around. Other team members will suffer and might not get the level of coaching they need.
Welcome to this special two-part episode of “True Confessions of a Sales Leader.” We are honored to have on two guests: Dr. Richard “Dick” Ruff and John Hoskins, respected experts in sales coaching, founders of The Level Five Selling Coaching System, and authors of the book, Level Five Selling: The Anatomy Of A Quality Sales Call Revealed (click here for a complimentary copy).
Before we dive in, a quick bit about our guests. Dick has spent the last 35 years helping large corporations develop sales teams in the B2B market in the high-tech (yes, that includes Apple) and medical devices spaces. John began his career in the corporate world in a variety of sales and sales leadership positions and founded his own company. The two then combined forces and founded The Level Five Selling Coaching System, the only sales coaching system to master call planning and execution skills that helps salespeople deliver top-line revenue growth.
Joining Dick and John are Scott Olsen, founder of the Olsen Group and Gary Brashear, managing partner of the Olsen Group. Listen in as this virtual table of sales experts discuss why sales coaching is so important to an organization, especially in these times.
Here are four key takeaways from the podcast episode:
Sales coaching, defined
We’ve all heard the term but what exactly is it? It’s a formal process for helping a salesperson develop their full potential. The key is helping somebody learn versus just teaching them. You might be talented in sales but it’s hard to reach your potential without some kind of coaching. The challenges of coaching can go deeper, too, such as changing the behavior of a high-performing salesperson who brings a toxic environment to the team, or improving performance of those who don’t perform well, or getting people to change habits like those who don’t do the basics like submitting expense reports. These behaviors require a whole different skillset of coaching.
Set milestones for coaching
Sure, there are regular sales meetings between directors or the first-line sales team but what’s often missing is a standard format for coaching. Without that framework, it’s hard to tell if coaching is working and hard to adjust if it’s not. Coaching can be inconsistent even within organizations. Some teams will do it well about 20% of the time, while others may not spend much time coaching because of confusion or clear roles and responsibilities. Set objectives. Spend the time to do it effectively.
A personal connection is important when selling and when coaching. How do we connect —and coach or get coached—in a virtual world? In a nutshell, plan. Many successful programs will have a 90-day plan, including who the salesperson will be working with and a mutual agreement on a plan by all parties. This enables measurement when coaching online, whether it’s effective, and provides an overall ROI.
Decide if you need coaching
If an organization says they don’t need coaching, that’s a good sign they probably do. Every company needs a coaching regiment in place, especially in a transitional period as we are experiencing now. There’s no question that companies are changing what they buy, and how they buy. When customers change how they buy, sellers need to change how they sell. Short answer? Your organization needs coaching.
Scott Olsen and Gary Brashear shares highlights from each podcast episode designed to help sales leaders like you and your sales teams develop the skills, systems and culture that leads to sustained and significant results.