The Value of Coaching to Drive Sales Methodology Adoption

By Carlos M. Nouche, ValueSelling Associate and Visualize Vice President

How do you drive sustainable adoption of your sales methodology?

Imagine that your company has chosen to change its sales methodology. It has made a significant investment – and taken up a good chunk of salespeople’s time – to train them on the new sales approach. Yet, six to 12 months later, the work seems to have gone nowhere.

It’s frustrating and we’ve all been there.

Many on your team took away specific skills, concepts, and tactics that will become part of their sales approach for life, so why didn’t the new sales methodology get adopted company-wide? Why didn’t everyone pull together to deliver on this incredible promise of a common language and approach?

Because of a lack of coaching by management to support the new selling behaviors and make it part of your company’s sales DNA.

It’s often said, “You have to inspect what you expect.” If you inspect nothing, then expect nothing. If it is optional for you as a leader, then it is optional for your sales team.

When introducing a new sales methodology, you are embarking on a change management initiative to create the habits that transform sales results – and this requires coaching. After all, how will you create a culture of excellence if you don’t help individuals get the most out of training?

What’s the definition of a good coach?

Coaching takes time, and it’s worth it.

The average organization can expect a 7X return on their investment in coaching (International Coach Federation); plus, according to McKinsey, coaching sales reps has the biggest impact on capability development. However, coaching is also a mindset, and you must be willing to invest in understanding the individuals on your team to get it right.

When it comes to your team, you need to know how they learn, how they best receive feedback, and where they stand on the journey to delivering a consistent sales approach with your new sales methodology. You must help them self-assess where they need help.

Remember: Being a good coach starts with you. Where do you stand on the learning curve?

Ultimately, you can’t teach others what you don’t understand or believe.

How can you make your sales methodology sustainable over time?

Coaching is the simple answer, but let’s dive deeper.

Implementing a sales methodology is like any other behavioral change initiative that you ask an organization to follow long-term. First, salespeople need to understand the “why” behind the decision to make the change. Then, they need to learn the “how” to implement it effectively – and lastly, they want to understand whether it is worth the effort and risk.

To guide them through that transition long-term, you must start and end with coaching – from front-line managers all the way up to senior leadership. And it can’t just be about sales. Include all customer-facing roles from marketing to customer success.

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A key question for the successful adoption of a new sales methodology

Why are we introducing this sales methodology?

Make sure everyone understands how your new sales approach maps back to your company goals. The new approach needs to be about up-leveling skills, not a 180-degree shift.

How do we do it?

Leaders need to coach the team on what is expected – and lead by example. It can’t be so robotic that it works only in one region or requires individuals to completely change how they interact with prospects and customers.

Instead, introduce them to a simple but effective way of engaging a buyer through their buying process.

Is it worth the effort?

Nothing encourages behaviors like success. Identify who is doing it right and have them share their stories.

Other sales approaches are about filling out forms or are internally focused simply on deal inspection, which only leads to frustration. Instead, coach the team to drive opportunity strategy. What information do you need to qualify, advance, and close – and also drive a business outcome for the customer?

Surprisingly, the customer needs that same information to make a buying decision.

With today’s challenging economic conditions and the scramble for top talent, make coaching one of your differentiators as an employer. Invest in going beyond teaching skills by helping sales professionals master those skills. Consistently incorporate it across the organization, from business development to renewals. Ultimately, internalize the fact that coaching is not part of the job; it is the job – and don’t forget to always inspect what you expect.

Read More: Implications of Revenue Miss and How to Avoid It

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