One “Hidden” Reason that over 50% of Salespeople Don’t hit quota year in and year out!

Picture this scenario: Your CFO comes to you at the end of the quarter and says, “Boss, we’ve got the final numbers. We’re about 50% confident that they’re correct!” What would your reaction be? How long would it take to begin looking for a new CFO?

Yet in Sales, not hitting quota is tolerated and many CEO’s just “put up with it” and tell their Sales Leaders to “light a fire” under those “non-performers” and get them to do more…. (Prospecting, closing, making more calls, get more meetings, do more demos, attend more trade shows…. etc.)

The “Hidden” reason for the under-performance can be traced back to the Sales Manager NOT being very good at “Coaching.”

They generally just “tell” their people “what” to do and think that is coaching. The other issues are that they do not do it with consistency or frequency.

  Effective sales coaching impacts opportunities and improves sales effectiveness but that is not what most sales managers do for coaching.  Consider that:

60% of all coaching is to simply provide help with pricing, technical help, or with proposals.  Sorry, but that’s not coaching!

Of the remaining coaching, which we know occurs much too infrequently, a third, or 12% of all sales coaching is to encourage or challenge salespeople.  Sorry, that’s not coaching either; it’s motivation.

Let’s look at a few specific skills required to be a good sales coach:

  • Great listening skills
  • Great questioning skills
  • Strong understanding of the sales process
  • Common sense sales strategy
  • Mastery of sales tactics
  • Role Playing skills
  • Strong confidence

In its basic definition, sales coaching consists of the following two activities:

  1. Pre-Call Strategizing – coaching prior to selected calls to make sure that the salesperson has a good reason for having the upcoming call, a game plan or strategy, and the appropriate questions/dialog to achieve the desired outcome.
  2. Post-Call Debriefing – coaching after selected calls to discover the true outcome of the call, why the salesperson got that outcome, and what they could have done differently or more effectively

Coaching Insights

  • Coaches take an “Ask vs. Tell” approach. Do not tell the employee what to do, instead ask powerful questions. This allows the employee to help create their own solutions. When they go through the thought process to get to resolution, they are much more “bought-in”— it’s their idea!
  • Coaching is not about “fixing” anyone. Again, it’s about their development and facilitating the learning process.
  • Coaches set up a clear accountability structure for action and outcomes. It helps keep the employee focused on achieving the desired goals.
  • Coaching is something that can/should happen as needed and in-the-moment, which is the best way for learning to occur

Sales Manager as Coach Mindset & Behaviors:

  1. Ask good questions to enable the process.
  2. Guide the conversation (through questions, not directives) to a mutual agreement of the priorities of development.
  3. Ensure that the feedback information is heard and understood by the employee. Again, asking clarifying questions is the best way to do this.
  4. Do your part to support the employee through a shared commitment to their goals, responsibilities, and action steps.

Good Coaching = Effective Conversations

What makes a Coaching conversation “effective”? It is about a dialogue (asking), not a monologue (telling). The best coaching questions are:

  • Open-ended.
  • Focused on useful outcomes; and,
  • Non-judgmental (avoid asking “why?”).

Here are some examples of good open-ended questions:

Open-ended/Inviting Questions

  • What is the status on “x”?
  • How can I help you? 
  • Can you tell me about _____?
  • Walk me through your thought process?
  • What other approaches might you take next time?
  • How are your emotions influencing your perception of the situation?
  • How did you leave the call?
  • What is your pipeline “telling you?”

Looking at the “Hidden” Sales Management weakness: Effective Coaching as we enter the second half of 2021, with the economy “opening up.” Is this current way of doing things “scalable?” Is it “sustainable?” Will it get your company the sales results it needs? Will it get your entire team achieving and exceeding quota?

  If you want to improve those numbers or the 50% of salespeople that fail to hit quota each year, YOU must make the development of Sales Managers the number one priority for the balance of 2021.

Contact us today:

    Statistics from Objective Management Group Data warehouse.

    This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

    Leave a Reply