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There is no one-size-fits-all sales coaching model. Effective coaching adjusts to particular people and circumstances.

Sales coaching is a process that uses one-on-one meetings to help salespeople achieve new levels of success by discovering hidden issues that inhibit their performance. It is NOT “showing them how to do it.”

The 20/60/20 Rule

There are three categories of salespeople.

Approximately 20% are categorized as high performers. Another 60% fall into the category of variable performer. The remaining 30% are categorized as low performers.

This 20/60/20 model is based on the well-known Pareto principle, which holds that for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. High performers typically made up 20% of the sales team and contribute 80% of the revenue.

The effective sales coach uses the same coaching methodology with each group but applies different tactics.

Coaching the top 20% requires goal-directed thinking. These individuals are typically motivated by recognition and goals that stretch their accomplishments.

Coaching the middle 60% requires goals that build traction over time. Goals that build on the success of the previous and will help them move upward toward the top 20%.

Coaching the bottom 20% is the greatest challenge. The coach working with this group, tests their willingness to change and grow. Salespeople in the bottom 20% typically have the aptitude to succeed but lack the willingness to perform. They must prove by their actions they are worthy of continuing at the company.

The 3 C’s of Coaching Success

With all these groups, the effective coach learns to recognize, evaluate, and support the Three C’s of Success: Conviction, Commitment, and Competency.

Here are 3 coaching questions that will help with the evaluation.

  1. Do the salespeople have the conviction to continually challenge themselves to execute behavior in an ever-improving way—and do they consistently work on their belief system, so it supports growth? All high-performing salespeople focus on improving success daily. They recognize that growth occurs because they analyze better ways to execute their behavior and develop aspirational beliefs to support it.
  2. Do the salespeople demonstrate unconditional commitment to success and a “do what it takes” attitude that gets them through the selling challenges they face? All high-performing salespeople recognize that their commitment will be challenged daily. They find a way to build an internal system keeping their backbone strong when times are tough.
  3. Do the salespeople have enough competency and proficiency to accomplish sales goals? All high-performing salespeople are consistently improving selling effectiveness because they realize that they must be one step ahead of today’s buyer. There is no room for complacency. A salesperson’s “A” game of yesterday may no longer keep them ahead of the curve today.

There is an addendum to this list of three. Do the salespeople approach their jobs with a “more, better, and different” attitude about any behavioral roadblocks confronting them? High performers approach their jobs with a “failure is not an option” attitude. They understand they may have to do more of a particular behavior, adopt a better behavior, or execute a different behavior to succeed.

One vitally important point: this is a long-term game. Effective coaches understand that change takes time and requires significant personal commitment on their part, as well as the salesperson. Measurable progress is the goal. Very often, is comes in small doses.

Excerpt from the best-selling book, The Sales Coaches Playbook, by Bill Bartlett
©2016 Sandler Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

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