Since writing an article nearly a month ago about putting the case forward for moving to a more ‘inbound coaching’ approach, my recent experience exhibiting at a trade show further highlighted how this method can alleviate the coaching challenges faced by sales managers.
'Inbound coaching' is a phrase which I have coined, to describe the process of employees taking accountability for their own development needs and asking for support in specific areas. Compare this to ‘outbound coaching’ where there is more of an impetus on managers to seek and identify key coaching areas – which brings obvious time constraints, as well as heightened efforts.
Often as managers, as well as having a lack of skillset in being able to coach effectively, two of our biggest obstacles when it comes to coaching are:
a) a perceived lack of time
b) not knowing what to coach.
Whilst having the skills to coach effectively are something which typically need to be taught/developed, embracing ‘inbound coaching’ can help make your coaching time much more focused and time efficient.
Here are five ways to help you implement a successful ‘inbound coaching’ culture in your sales team:
1) Set objectives: Make it part of your weekly meetings or Monday morning tasks for each rep to ask you for feedback in one or two challenges they faced the previous week. This could be highlighting an objection they failed to overcome on a sales call or a new idea for a discovery question they haven’t thought of before. Tagging or pinpointing those objections on a recording of the sales call will bring even more context to help the coaching discussion further.
2) Share best practice: Rather than having your own time swamped with repetitive coaching conversations, point your reps to best practice examples which highlights ‘what good looks like’. If you have identified a sales rep demonstrate strong closing techniques on their latest demo, you need to share that with the rest of the team as quick as possible. Build a best practice library which reps can access on demand and search by skill or topic.
3) Team collaboration: Why does coaching always need to be a ‘manager to rep’ scenario? Effective coaching and feedback can be done equally as well amongst peers. Get reps to ask for help and feedback off their team members – the people coming across the same objections and challenges on sales calls as they are. Refract now offers the ability to open ‘collaboration’ discussions against a specific key moment of a sales call. This allows multiple reps to listen back, provide input, and embrace healthy debate!
4) Create ‘player coaches’: Turn your most experienced sales reps into player coaches. Even better – make this role part of your career ladder, and the stepping-stone to more senior roles in the business. Inbound coaching stems from your player coaches asking you for any additional support they aren’t experienced enough to deal with, rather than your ‘outbound’ efforts of trying to up-skill the whole team yourself.
5) Encourage self-reflection: Studies have found the power of self-reflection when coupled with receiving feedback in improving performance. Get reps to replay and self-critique their own performance on recorded sales calls or demos. Often, many of our own deficiencies can be identified and addressed by ourselves once we have replayed and reflected on our actions.
Contact us today to find out how Refract can support your inbound sales coaching initiatives.comments powered by Disqus