Agility has always been a key component of a successful sales strategy, and the current upheavals are only accelerating the rate of change for many sales organizations. In a time when buyer journeys are increasingly fragmented, face-to-face meetings are no longer an option, and business planning remains uncertain, teams have made the leap to digital selling in a matter of days instead of years. Coaching effectively through this period of rapid change and growth will ensure that your sales teams have the support they require during this crucial transition and will come out stronger on the other side of the crisis.
If your organization is formulating an improved response strategy, read our recent blog post on building a COVID-19 Management Plan, where we outline our main areas of focus: Who, Where, and How. In this post, we’ll dive into the first principle — the importance of WHO sales managers focus sales coaching effort on.
Who Managers Spend Time With Matters
When it comes to improving your sales reps’ performance, no other productivity investment is as valuable as improving the quality of coaching they receive. On the other hand, if managers aren’t targeting the right reps, their coaching efforts may be wasted. Frontline sales managers who bias toward low and high performers in their groups will likely make only a minor impact on sales performance.
What then, is the best path forward for maximizing the effectiveness of your organization’s sales coaching efforts? Focus the majority of efforts on new hires and middle performers. Here’s how.
More New Hires Ramped
You’ve invested in the recruitment and training of your new hires — now make that investment pay off in the field.
An analysis of our partnership with Varonis, an industry-leading cybersecurity company, found that managers who spent more time coaching new hires saw better HML performance. Those who spent more than 25% of their time assessing new hires generated a 20% improvement in performance when compared to those who spent less than 5% of their time with this group.
Why don’t all managers spend time with their new hires? The reality of trying to meet their plan creates a near-term incentive to invest where the deals are. And that’s simply not with new hires. Without a mechanism to create accountability for working with new hires, they simply won’t get the attention needed to improve time to productivity.
Improve Participation Rate
Reduce risk of downward quota targets and eventual downsizing by coaching the most improvable portion of your sales teams: the middle performers. This should make up the largest percentage of your sales team so an improvement in productivity here will lead to outsized gains in sales performance. Through our partnership with Syndigo, sales leadership saw a 9% yoy lift in reps to plan, just by getting managers to spend more structured time with the right reps.
Typically, these are the B players, some of which could become a B+ or even an A with subtle adjustments to how they sell. They say a coach exists to help you see what you can’t see yourself. Managers who can first diagnose what those adjustments are stand a chance at helping you shift your performance curve over time.
How We Can Help
CT Connect guides managers to spend their time with the right sellers.
- Build and execute coaching plans: Set an adjustable coaching cadence to help managers see and make decisions on the trade-offs for where and with whom they spend coaching time.
- Track progress and business impact: Create accountability and help the entire business see the direct relationship it has on KPIs like win rates and % of sellers to plan.
- Create a sales culture of continuous feedback and improvement: Make individual development profiles actionable toward commercial success.
At the end of the day, sales coaching isn’t just about performance. You’ll attain multiple benefits by activating your frontline managers and instilling effective coaching programs. More than simply increasing productivity, performance, and win rates, coaching helps companies to engage and retain top talent, level-up middle performers, and recoup investments in recruiting and training new salespeople.