Recognizing key problems in the sales training and coaching process

The flow of communication in the sales talent management process needs to be directed toward positive outcomes. If leadership isn't sure what these goals are or the right ways to reach them, there can be considerable issues with driving personnel in the right direction. Appropriate sales coaching and training needs to be in place that addresses common problems in the overall selling process so that these issues cease to be.

Encouraging consistency
Rick Maher, CEO of Effective Human Resources, recently discussed some of the concerning behavior common among sales representatives that needs to be remedied. Of these major issues, one of the most pressing is that personnel aren't always all on the same page.

"[I]f the absolute leadership is not going through the same sales training and speaking the same language and supporting it, it's almost a waste of time to do it," Maher pointed out. "So the culture of the sales training has to not only be purchased by the leadership, but has to be embraced. Otherwise, it just doesn't go anywhere."

A lack of uniformity and collaboration in the training and talent management process can easily result in disruptions in the overall selling scheme. Everyone on the team needs to have the same information and follow identical protocols for customer service and product options in order to establish consistency within the organization. Otherwise, a client could become confused or distrustful of a firm where every employee has a different pitch and package for the same product.

In that vein, the process of selling an item or service should be given as much attention and training focus as is weighed against that interaction. In other words, the amount of effort that goes into every call or customer outreach needs to be proportional to the expected outcome from each of these interactions.

Focusing on outcomes
When a staff member is responsible for a broad spectrum of minor interactions, it may not be as pressing to close on every call. However, when there are fewer engagement opportunities or bigger stakes on the line, sales coaching needs to target a mentality that fits each situation. In order to foster the right mentality around these situations, companies should be offering their sales associated more targeted training opportunities to ensure that everyone is up to speed on current best practices and expectations.

"[I]f sales coaching is not frequent enough, then – let's say you have three or four of your business appointments a week – that's basically 20 meetings a month," explained Maher. "That's too many opportunities to make mistakes, or even forget or miss what we should be doing. So sales coaching should be tied to the sales cycle and the sales process."

Offering insight
Keeping everyone on the same page means allowing employees access to the kinds of support and variety of tools they need to ensure they're keeping abreast of best practices. Not all organizations address these demands in the talent management life cycle, causing some personnel to excel while others fail.

It's up to the corporation to offer opportunities to improve performance and generate sales training opportunities, as Maher pointed out. A business that defines itself through its customer service and quality of employee interactions can count on more positive public image and superior retention compared to those who skip out on training and coaching opportunities. These resources are essential for helping empower personnel and allowing every worker to deliver the level of quality and consistency needed in the sales life cycle to keep clients engaged and satisfied.

"Coaching is essential to anyone, in any part of their business, that wants to be better at what they do," said Maher. "If they want to be the best, they'll have a sales coach."