An efficient coaching culture is integral to your business, and is achieved when leadership inspires purposeful, profitable professional growth amongst team members. And while the precise way to coaching faster, more strategically executed deal closings will vary from organization to organization– we’ve identified core tenants which translate to any business, in any industry– transforming stagnate funnels into more than 35 million dollars in active ROI for one of our most dedicated clients.
When you cultivate an environment of belonging, reps become more connected and engaged. This is why business coaching is really more about people than business. And as the landscape of the workforce evolves to include a diverse mix of Millennials, Boomers and beyond, managers are tasked now more than ever to navigate and create productivity strategies that work for everyone individually, yet inspire team building energy around results. This is a tall order — and the semi-undefined, inconsistent managerial standards so common to so many organizations, simply don’t translate.
We combine process and methodology to guide managers in becoming effective coaches for the future of business.
Coaching is a journey, rather than a short trip.
Traditional management protocols tend to represent a “do this, get that” model. This is the short trip, which creates an environment in which managers are telling rather than modeling — inadvertently encouraging direct reports to fall into the habit of looking to managers for answers. And when managers are functioning as problem solvers rather than enablers, it’s a poor use of their time — the company’s time — and does little to help reps build their skills and confidence.
Alternatively, coaching guides sales professionals in developing independent problem-solving skills, leveraging their talents, and expanding their knowledge. This is the journey. Over time, an effectively empowered team will close more deals and share the coaching culture with new team members — enabling managers to lend their focus to creating strategic initiatives, rather than turning from problem to problem. We’ve identified and built out a six element Process x Methodology centric program, which turns engaged managers into successful coaches.
Inquisitiveness is Key: Maintaining a position of curiosity helps sellers identify and assess customer needs.
Organizations are often flooded with methodologies designed to encourage the use of questions to explore needs and develop opportunities. Yet, if questioning methodologies were eliminated, the sales professionals would erupt in applause.
Reality is, most of these questioning models were developed around some body of research over a decade ago. Let that sink in.
It’s time we move managers beyond asking basic, scripted questions and get them curious enough to do some diligence. Initial communications need to be backed by research, this enables thought-provoking, customer specific questions. In the absence of these questions, reps are inundated with low-value, interrogative questions about sales opportunities. The quality of the answers managers receive, is directly proportional to the quality of the questions they have asked.
Designing Strategy: Aligning sales strategies and actions to focus on the customer’s needs – solving problems and avoiding consequences.
What are the criteria that decision makers are using? This is when inquisition and identification combine to develop your strategy. Strategy is often loosely defined or left to the reps’ interpretation as it relates to coaching. This is a mistake. Designing the strategy for coaching and customer engagement must be directly aligned with the decision criteria being used. If the criteria has not been defined, this presents an opportunity to boost credibility or cycle back to the inquisitiveness element.
Establish Credibility: Building trust through a series of commitments, actions and results with the sales team.
Effectively enabling organizations to understand the cost of inaction, and the benefits of taking action, is critical to productivity investment. It begins with proving consistent credibility. Whether navigating an existing partnership or nurturing a prospective relationship, your credibility is paramount to all the other five elements of coaching. You cannot afford to sacrifice your credibility due to being unprepared or underdeveloped.
Identify Solutions: Sharing insights, solutions and best practices to help colleagues avoid negative consequences.
Use the responses received as a result of navigating the previous elements to identify what problems can be solved, and what professional consequences can be avoided. It’s no secret that adult learners take action for one of two compelling reasons — to solve a problem or to avoid a consequence. As a coach, your role is to clearly identify, articulate and prepare the sales reps to act on problems and consequences, so that they can confidently and effectively identify solutions.
Articulate Value: Effectively communicating the benefits of planning, challenging assumptions, and accurately defining relationships.
Our research shows the ability to articulate value or the absence of it separates average performers from high-performers, and defines whether a leader is serving as a ‘manager’ or a coach. This goes beyond repeating value propositions developed by marketing or ‘data dumping’ to move an opportunity forward. It requires the coach and the rep creating a compelling narrative through storytelling. This process is integral to establishing a solid, sustainable strategy.
Gain Commitment: Confirm business needs, required actions and positive outcomes required by customers and colleagues to achieve the desired outcomes.
High-performing coaches are continuously gaining commitment throughout the entire process and constantly considering:
- How should he/she prepare for the next step?
- Would he/she learn these skills best by participating, observing or reflecting?
- What is a realistic time table to achieve these commitments?
The objective is to compare what you have observed, the commitments that have been made and the resources that are required to make this coaching strategy a valuable use of everyone’s time. Then, use the remaining deliverables to adjust and refine during the next coaching session.