What difference would a 19% boost in the performance of your sales people mean for your bottom line? That’s what you can achieve with effective coaching feedback, according to a study by the Sales Executive Council. When onboarding new sales people, the focus is on getting them up to speed as quickly as possible on your product specs, target customers, marketplace and sales culture. With the knowledge transferred and shadowing complete, it’s time for them to leave the nest and fly solo. That’s your job done, right? Actually, no. This is the danger zone; the time when you need to up your game or see good sales people falter and quit.
In the final part of our blog series, 5 ingredients of functional onboarding to set your salespeople up for success, we’ll look at how you can provide vital sales coaching through observations, consistent evaluation and actionable feedback.
The power of observation
When it comes to identifying talent gaps in your salespeople, anecdotal conversations aren’t reliable and sales quotas don’t tell you about their performance, just the outcome of it. You need to gather the facts, you need to carry out observations.
It isn’t uncommon for sales coaches or managers to cite a lack of time to carry out observations. But done well, observations will ultimately save them time as their sales people reach competence faster. More often, the real reason behind hesitance to carry out observations is the inherent difficulty in doing them effectively and consistently. Observations and feedback go hand in hand and need to motivate and stimulate positive change. So how can you do this?
By following these 3 simple steps:
Step 1. Prompt self-assessment
Criticism, even when it’s constructive, can be hard to take. So after you’ve observed your new sales people, don’t jump straight into highlighting areas for improvement — get them to do it first. Ask them questions such as: how do feel that customer interaction went? What do you think you did well? Where do you think you struggled? If you could have a do-over, what would you do differently? This process helps your salespeople develop problem-solving skills and greater self-awareness, as well as bringing accountability into the mix. When your sales people feel more responsible for the outcomes of their customer interactions, they’ll be empowered to change and feel more motivated by their achievements.
Step 2. Fill in the gaps
Now you know what your sales people are aware of in regards to their performance its time to fill them in on what they’re not aware of. This feedback needs to be specific to the observed interaction, exemplifying a point so your sales people can better understand what they need to do next, which brings us onto step 3.
Step 3. Build momentum
Ask your salesperson what they learnt from their customer interaction. Ask them what skills they think they need to develop to address the challenges they faced. Then go a step further and ask them how they plan to do this. In collaboration, you can develop an action plan with realistic goals and achievable milestones. This process of observation and feedback needs to be applied consistently across your sales team so that they’re all assessed by the same criteria, giving you an accurate picture of individual performances relative to your team’s overall performance.
Now you know what to do, how can you actually do it consistently? That’s where our functional onboarding platform On.Board can help. With On.Board’s user-friendly form builder, you can create a customised functional onboarding process where observations are recorded and uniformly structured. Using On.Board’s customised forms, you can prompt your salespeople to answer the questions outlined earlier to encourage self-awareness and self-assessment.
Via the Performance Hub and instant alerts, your sales coaches can feedback on these answers in a timely and specific manner. You can even check in on how often, how quickly and how much your sales coaches are feeding back to their sales people via On.Board’s reporting system. What’s more, action plans can be developed between sales people and their coaches using customised templates and can be accessed by all relevant parties from any digital device, anytime, helping your sales people stay on track with their development.
Ultimately, On.Board helps you can deliver a customised but consistent observations process to ensure your new hires become more confident and more effective salespeople faster. See for yourself by requesting your free On.Board demo.
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