For a sales professional, a successful sales strategy is a key component of success. When your team is missing targets or wasting time on leads that go nowhere, a sales coach can help develop a more effective technique. Before you hire a sales coach, however, it is important to understand the process and choose a professional that has the right experience.
Coaching is a hotly debated issue in the professional sales community. Many sales managers dismiss coaches as frauds—and unfortunately, many are. If you manage to find a trained, professional coach, however, it can pay off dramatically in increased revenue and better performance. When used correctly, coaching can be an effective sales team management strategy.
A sales coach comes into a company and works closely with the sales team. He or she will identify problem areas and develop highly focused training methods that help your staff increase their sales. If your team spends a great deal of time following up on unqualified leads, for example, the coach might work with them to create a more effective qualification process. The overall goal is to create a new sales strategy that is tailored to the company's products, market area, salespeople and customers.
An effective sales coach will help you set goals and create changes in behavior that promote long-term improvements. He or she will also implement strategies that boost sales in the short term and help you track and quantify the effects of coaching. Depending on your company's situation, the coach will choose the right balance of group sessions and individual coaching to create the most powerful team.
Done correctly, coaching is a powerful way to boost efficiency and increase sales. Done poorly, it is a waste of time and money. As you consider whether or not it is right for you, remember that coaching is not a cure-all. A sales coach will not magically solve all your sales team's problems—he or she cannot make up for poor communication skills, unmotivated staff or bad products. Likewise, coaching cannot be effective in a bubble; it must be supported by effective customer service, excellent marketing and powerful advertising.
Not all coaches are created equal, so it is crucial to find the best fit for your company. By doing your research in advance, you can increase the chances of success. The right person will have experience in your industry, an understanding of major players, experience in sales and knowledge of your chosen software or technology tools. In addition, he or she should have a proven track record of effective coaching. Inc. magazine suggests that you ask for recommendations from professional contacts. Avoid companies that provide pre-determined, cookie-cutter solutions; when it comes to sales, one size does not fit all.
The Internet is crowded with websites advertising transformational coaching experiences. By doing your research and staying alert for scams, it is easier to choose a sales coach that will take your team to the next level.
(Photo courtesy of patrisyu / freedigitalphotos.net)