We asked Sales Performance International executives and consultants what kind of changes we can expect to see for the sales profession in the coming new year and compiled their perspectives and opinions in our eBook, “Sales Performance Improvement Trends for 2018 and Beyond”.
Steve Carlson is SPI’s VP of Sales, and oversees our US-based sales team and channel partners.
What major trend do you see in your area of sales or learning performance expertise?
Companies want to improve their sales managers’ coaching skills, but many struggle to create a coaching culture. Our “best in class” clients not only invest to develop coaching skills, they also give their sales managers a process to coach to and hold them accountable to coach.
What is causing this trend?
Sales managers are overwhelmed with the day-to-day job demands. Furthermore, as companies have culled middle management they have grown their sales managers’ span of control. Sales managers are also in short supply and sales management jobs take long times to fill because it requires a balance of leadership skills, business acumen and customer knowledge. For these reasons, most sales managers are stretched too thin and coaching suffers.
What opportunities or threats does the trend pose for businesses and sales organizations?
Sales managers with good coaching skills are force multipliers for your business. Good sales coaches will find opportunities to help reps win business, clear obstacles that impede success, increase motivation, and foster loyalty. Coaching is the gift that keeps on giving. It is not like buying more software. You do not need a license. You do not have to travel. You do not even need to schedule an appointment. The managers can coach “in the moment,” virtually or face to face. They just have to do it!
In light of the trend, what advice do you have for business and sales leaders?
If you are going to invest one dollar in sales force development, focus on coaching. Establish formal expectations around coaching, and make it part of your culture. Improve your sales managers’ coaching skill, but also give them a process and a cadence against which to coach. Start highlighting the exemplars to call out coaching best practices and small coaching victories. Share those best practices in any communication across the organization. Finally, offer rewards for those coaching and consequences for those who do not.
Download our eBook “Sales Performance Improvement Trends for 2018 and Beyond” today!