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Avitage: Directly Addressing The Sales Coaching Challenge

Coaching is one of the most critical components of a total approach to sales effectiveness, but it is often underutilized and mismanaged. 

I’ve been enjoying my conversations with Jim Burns, CEO of Boston-based Avitage.  Avitage is a small technology company that provides communication mechanisms and techniques for, among other things, delivering sales and marketing messages.  In fact, Jim pointed me toward several Avitage-developed vignettes that very effectively describe PrivateSalesCoach, the new tool his company has built.

Uh oh. I have no idea where we are with each person on our target influencer and decision maker list."

PrivateSalesCoach is a tool sales leaders of certain companies need to consider.  The web-based software tool works on principles that are common to coaching with most sales methodologies. 

During my first call with Jim, I was skeptical.  I didn’t think that a packaged software application could provide an adequate coaching solution.  Jim talked me through it, and then I test drove the product.  (ESR will be interested in speaking with some companies that are using PrivateSalesCoach down the road.  At that point, we will formally review this product.)

What’s the “private” part of this?  Sales people can respond privately (and we expect truthfully) to the “flight check” questionnaire without worrying about what their boss is going to say or do.  The managers don’t get to see the details of each salesperson’s virtual coaching session, but rather the aggregate strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies of the group.  That way they can focus additional training or face-to-face coaching in the areas where reinforcement is needed.

I don’t see PrivateSalesCoach replacing live coaching.  Nor will it work in every situation—I would expect that integration with a CRM system would being a requirement for some companies.  With that in mind, it can provide salespeople and their managers with an effective, complementary coaching function, aligning the rep and manager, once and for all, toward a common goal—that’s winning business.

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