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Coaching Sales People

Name one professional athelete that doesn't have a coach.

Quiz: Name one professional athelete that doesn't have a coach.

Coaching is the component of a sales effectiveness initiative that is most often sacrificed when costs must be contained.  (More accurately, coaching workshops and post-program reinforcement for first-line sales managers are what gets cut.)  Considering that coaching is the most important single mechanism for reinforcing and sustaining the impact of learning, this is a big problem. 

During a podcast interview I recorded Tuesday with Barry Trailer, partner with CSO Insights, the subject of coaching came up.  Barry feels as strongly about the subject as I do.  He considers getting a coach to be the first step on the path to sales mastery.  Both Barry and I have had coaches during our careers.  We agreed that if a salesperson is serious about selling as a lifetime career, then hiring a coach on their own, if their company won’t provide one, is mandatory.

Coaching is a skill.  It can be learned. The impact of coaching on an individual salesrep’s performance can and should be measured.  In my view coaching is a required capability for a sales manager.  It’s right up there in importance with hiring.  HR Chally’s The 2007 Chally World Class Sales Excellence Research Report  states, “World class sales forces implement processes and measurements to make coaching a top priority.” Continue reading