To begin with, sales coaching is a process, not a thing, not an event, not a single type of discussion. The coaching process serves a purpose and that is to coach you to reach an objective. The coaches we’ve met begin thinking about coaching by answering three questions:
Why sales coaching? What’s the objective?
What are the circumstances? How much damage is done if we don’t achieve the goal?
Who am I coaching? What do they need from me in order to fulfill the purpose?
Their answers to these three questions help them set priorities in terms of their commitment of time to coaching, the frequency and extent of coaching conversations, and their coaching focus.
Specify Your System
Successful sales coaches have developed “systems” that work and that they can teach so that other people can successfully reach meaningful goals. The primary responsibility of executive-level sales managers is to define (or have others define) the “success path” or “system” which will enable their reps to be successful.
Watch any successful team manager, from sales to symphonies to soccer fields, and you’ll see a system. Dig into any successful franchise operation; you’ll find a system that enables ordinary people to produce extraordinary results repeatedly. The system defines performance in detail:
The correct activities,
Done at the correct time,
At the correct frequency,
In the correct manner.
People who are serious about reaching a particular objective flock to good coaches because they know the coaches have systems to get the job done and that, if they use the coaches’ systems, they’ll be successful. In sales, this means having a “pilot’s manual” that describes how your company and your team, and everybody on it, does business.