As you prepare your quarterly and annual targets for 2019, consider this: according to the Harvard Business Review 1, most sales leaders suffer from a potentially catastrophic misconception. They believe that they spend a significant amount of their time coaching the salespeople who report to them, and they give themselves above-average marks — 79% — on the quality of the coaching that they deliver to those salespeople. Yet for some reason, salespeople strongly disagree! They overwhelmingly report that they receive little or no coaching from their managers … and they say that the coaching they do receive is of generally low quality, just 38% on the same zero-to-one hundred scale. Is it any wonder that another study (this one from Salesforce) shows that 57% of salespeople expect that they won’t hit their quota this year? 2
So: What’s going on?
At Sandler, we believe this finding is evidence of a troubling, all-too-common disconnect between sales leaders and salespeople. Put bluntly, most sales leaders don’t have the tools they need to deliver effective coaching to their people.
Truly effective sales coaching requires three things:
- a safe space for a trusting, open, one-on-one conversation;
- early-stage intervention when a specific problem arises;
- and a commitment of ongoing support for the individual salesperson.
Most of the “coaching” that sales leaders administer misses one, two, or all three of those standards … and, as a result, it simply doesn’t work.
Specifically: Doling out unsolicited “advice” that embarrasses a team member during team meetings doesn’t work. Sharing meaningless instructions like “You’ve got to work harder” or “You need to stay focused” doesn’t work, either. And limiting the conversation to outcomes alone (as in “You need to close more deals”) definitely doesn’t work. We may think that we’re coaching when we do these things. But we aren’t.
Effective sales coaches work privately with each salesperson to track and analyze behavior and have good conversations about whether the behaviors support the goals. But most sales leaders don’t have the tools that will help them to do that. That’s why we decided to develop a smartphone-friendly tool that would help sales leaders be better coaches, and help salespeople achieve more consistent sales success – the Sandler way.
SalesAccountability, which seamlessly connects sales managers and salespeople on either a smartphone or a desktop computer, helps hold individual members of the team accountable for executing the behaviors that make possible the achievement of critical goals. Its core principle of focusing on behaviors, rather than outcomes, ties into goal-setting sessions for 2019 in three important ways.
First and foremost, setting up this accountability system up provides a reason to start the all-important conversation with each salesperson about what his or her personal goals are, and how those personal goals tie into corporate or team goals. This is a critical part of the coaching conversation that typically does not happen … which is one of the big reasons salespeople may feel they haven’t really been coached.
The second thing this accountability system does is break out the salesperson’s resulting numerical target into specific behaviors and activities – which the sales leader can then track in real time to gain insight into what’s working and what’s not, using a platform that is fully equipped with easy-to-read activity reports and trend analyses. This system confirms whether people are performing productive behaviors that drive results (such as daily voice-to-voice conversations with new prospective buyers). Knowing what those numbers are prompts quick course-corrections in specific, narrowly-defined behavioral areas.
Thirdly, SalesAccountability makes it easy for sales leaders and salespeople to create and execute on the correct behavioral targets with the Sandler KARE model in mind. At the heart of SalesAccountability is the concept of categorizing sales and/or coaching activities into one of four categories: Keep, Attain, Recapture/Reinforce, and Expand. This behavior segmentation accurately shows where time and effort is actually being invested in each area – so your salesperson can ultimately be more efficient with his or her actions and plan the day more strategically. And by logging closed sales by KARE type, the members of your team can better align their efforts in each of the four KARE areas with their actual results. The KARE behavior categorization model is a core tenet of Sandler Training, and a proven method for keeping managers and salespeople focused on the right activities for the right types of sales. Shouldn’t this be part of your annual and quarterly planning?
We designed this accountability system to leverage the power of the smartphone to deliver all three of the core elements of a good sales coaching routine. SalesAccountability gives you specific behavioral metrics to discuss as peers during drama-free one-on-one coaching meetings with salespeople. It lets you identify exactly what the issue is, early on, which is when an obstacle to attaining the target most often arises. And it highlights the changes you, the leader, need to suggest as you’re supporting your salesperson over time.
SalesAccountability puts everything you need for a great coaching conversation into the palm of your hand, by means of a smartphone-friendly dashboard that shows you exactly how your people are spending their time and what kind of results they’re generating. It helps salespeople get back on track while there’s still time to make the goal happen.
Let’s face it – time is precious … and it’s all too easy to waste time when you don’t know what the problem is, and you don’t have a diagnostic tool that points you in the right direction. Before you set your 2019 goals for the team or an individual salesperson, make sure you’ve got the right coaching tool in place!
To learn more about SalesAccountability, visit SalesAccountability.com.