Long-term success depends on accurate assessment

The sales team is the driving force for growth in any business. Companies are unable to expand operations or increase revenue without a talented, hard-working sales staff converting leads and creating loyalty among customers.

Continued long-term growth requires businesses to consistently maximize the performance of their sales team. An effective sales coaching strategy helps managers gain insights into the activities, behaviors and skills of their top performers. This may identify assets that could bolster productivity of the entire team, or conversely, spot weaknesses that need to be addressed.

To measure performance, many businesses rely on metrics and data. Analyzing conversion rates, return on investment and other factors help companies to increase productivity in a number of areas including marketing and sales. The goal for most organizations is to deliver more qualified prospects to the sales team and having a firm understanding of the audience can improve the quality of the leads generated.

Due to the complexity of the sales process, with potential clients being reached through various channels, the information can occasionally be locked in multiple spreadsheets and locations. This can make it difficult to get an accurate and comprehensive picture of staff performance. Developing sales compensation plans can help provide the insight needed to increase productivity from employees.

A SellingPower whitepaper notes that incentive solutions increase communication within the department, improving the accuracy of reporting metrics. The incentives provide motivation for completing strategic objectives and can increase the behaviors that lead to higher performance. However, coaching strategies need to explore beyond the transaction figures to find the reasons behind the success.

Understanding the factors that lead to successful sales allows companies to design programs to encourage the needed activity. Addressing the execution of cultivating a sales prospect can be just as vital to the continued success of a company. A study by The Harvard Business Review notes that most customers make their decision to buy early in the sales process. Approximately 30 percent of the time the winner was determined before the official selection process started, while another 45 percent made their decision roughly halfway through the process.

Creating metrics for measuring employee performance in introductory meetings or in developing working relationships with potential clients could lead to jumps in the number of purchases seen. Top-performers may owe their success to a number of factors, so coaching strategies need the capability of identifying these characteristics so it can be encouraged.