We tend to think of sales coaching as being a tool used only for individual development. When we assemble the sales team, it is usually to have a meeting so that we can transfer information in one direction (from us to them), conduct training (us to them, again), or to collect reports (them to us).
There are occasions when assembling the sales force for coaching is extremely effective.
The After Action Review
In many sales organizations it is difficult-if not, impossible-to provide adequate training to cover every possible situation in which the salesperson may find their prospect or every available solution; sometimes, building and selling the right solution is a creative endeavor with lots of possible right answers, but where the optimal solution is difficult to discover.
You simply can’t train every scenario. Even though you cannot train for every possible scenario, through team coaching, you can help your sales force learn to think about these scenarios and to identify the best path forward.
Team coaching gives you the opportunity to assemble the sales force, using a real opportunity as a case study. The facts can be laid out for the entire team, and the salesperson that owns the opportunity can explain what they saw, what they heard, what they believed they understood, and what actions they believe were dictated by the facts.
As the sales manager, you can engage the team in asking questions to identify a greater range of possible choices that the salesperson might have taken. You can also ask questions that lead to more choices, and you can add some context to help show the sales force how some other choices might play out.
You can also conduct team coaching while the opportunity is still live, sharing the experience of making the choice of actions across the entire team, and thereby sharing the experience and the learning.
Informing Future Behaviors and Actions
The choice to coach the team instead of individuals allows you as the sales manager or sales leader to share the learning and development across the whole group. It provides the whole team the experience, and the lessons, that would have been confined to an individual.
The United States Military is extraordinary at conducting After Action Reviews, leading reviews after every single engagement, forcing their soldiers to think about what happened, why it happened, and most importantly, how they should act in future engagements. The goals of team coaching are the same.
The goal of all coaching is to apply the lessons learned to future activities. This is why we believe that coaching is the highest leverage activity that a sales manager can take: it informs the sales force’s future behaviors and actions.
When does it make sense to coach teams instead of individuals?
How do share lessons across the sales force efficiently and effectively?
How can you codify these lessons in a way that they can be continually shared and used a resource for future salespeople?
What is the best way to affect the future behavior of the sales force?
Dave Brock is President and CEO of Partners In EXCELLENCE, a global management, leadership, sales, and marketing consulting company. Partners In EXCELLENCE helps clients achieve the highest levels of performance by focusing on the customer.
Dave can be reached directly at email@example.com
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