Assessing the needs of your salespeople

Employees all have different needs based on their innate talents and past experiences. When you're contemplating using sales coaching to improve the performance of your sales team, it's crucial you realize that training initiatives will have a different impact on each salesperson based on every employee's specific challenges.

The key, asserts Selling Power, is being able to diagnose the relationship between a representative's sales skills and his or her actual results. This will help team leaders provide agents with the training they need to succeed in today's cutthroat sales environment.

Take, for example, an employee who has high sales results, but lacks skill or technique. These are the people who get the job done, but may be able to achieve better results with more insight or training. They may be naturally talented at one specific area (such as empathizing with people or displaying strong product knowledge), but lack in other departments. In this instance, sales coaching can help develop the weaker muscles of these representatives.

On the other end of the spectrum is the person with low sales results, but high skills. Employees who fit into this category know what to do to make a sale, but for some reason or another have difficulty putting this knowledge into action. This could include a new recruit who excelled at a previous sales job but doesn't have the product knowledge to succeed at his or her new job. One-on-one sales coaching can help identify sticking points among these individuals and work to get past them.

There are two other, less common scenarios: People with low skills and low results, or high skills and high results. The former may just not be suited for the job and need a lot of training to get up to speed. The latter may sound like the ideal agent, but it's crucial that businesses provide adequate sales coaching to ensure continual development and improvement.

If sales managers aren't familiar with coaching techniques and programs, they may want to consider a third party that can help deliver the right type of training to sales agents. Sales coaching is all about bringing the best out of agents, and by partnering with a specialist, companies can be sure they are getting the most out of their training.