Coaching is one of the best tactics for driving sales effectiveness – and sales leaders at B2B organizations of all sizes agree it’s the most important role a front line manager can play. The problem, however, is that a mere 15% of sales leaders say they have the right amount of coaching at their organization.
Establish a coaching-friendly atmosphere
When no one is being held accountable, it’s hard to expect anyone – let alone everyone at a large sales organization – to buy into coaching. To remedy this, setting a strong organizational foundation that supports coaching should take first priority. It needs to include an agreed-upon approach, established expectations and a documented strategic plan.
Yet even when the need for sales coaching is recognized, most companies still aren’t getting it done. The culprit can be lack of time or lack or training on how to coach properly.
Who gets blamed? We likely turn to sales managers, who have coaching within their job description (among many other things). Rather than pointing fingers at them, however, consider that maybe they aren’t the only coaches in your organization.
A great sales coach could actually be sitting right next to an underperforming sales rep now – it’s his or her fellow sales rep.
Why peer-to-peer collaboration?
While managers are responsible for setting the team’s direction and working to ensure each rep’s success, much of that direction-setting comes from the knowledge and experiences of individual sales contributors. When peers can share their feedback with each other, good things happen.
Of course, peer-to-peer collaboration isn’t going to solve the overarching coaching challenge on its own, but it certainly should play a large role within any well-architected sales coaching strategy. This approach can help relieve some pressure from sales managers, while giving reps an exciting chance to build team bonds and foster a culture that supports feedback.
This doesn’t mean managers are off the hook – instead, peer collaboration becomes a valuable tool in sales managers’ coaching toolbox. Managers still have to organize and help moderate successful peer-to-peer reviews – but much of the advice, tips and conversations would be initiated by reps themselves.
Related Article: Who’s Coaching the Sales Coaches?
Have you considered a fellow sales rep might be as valuable in a coaching session as the person trained to coach?
Reps can learn from the best
Anyone can be capable of providing useful feedback – whether it’s a rep who recently closed a big deal, someone who came across a unique customer pain point, or someone who can counsel against a previously unsuccessful approach.
And of course, your ‘A’ player sales reps – those who consistently meet or exceed quota, and are best at adapting to a changing atmosphere – can use peer collaboration to act as an inspiration for their teammates. Other reps should know what these winners do differently, and how they can emulate their success.
In collaborative settings, sales teammates can openly share tips, advice, feedback and start conversations. And when teams utilize digital and video coaching solutions, advice from ‘A’ players can come from across the office or across the country.
Friendly competition becomes part of the process
When asked about their personalities, salespeople in a sales-I study responded with the following words: competitive, positive, achievement driven, and outgoing.
Selling is competitive by nature. The use of sales leaderboards can drive that competition, as sales reps keep one eye on how their peers are doing, including coaching performance. Reps naturally start to measure their success against both their own milestones and those of their colleagues. Knowing you’re in the lead – or falling behind – can likely spark motivation that drives performance.
Interaction + Better Technology = More Sales Success
When Profit Builders CEO Keith Rosen penned a post on peer coaching back in December, he said when it comes to the coaching dilemma B2Bs face, “there’s not an app for that.”
In part, he’s right. The invaluable connection that’s formed when two colleagues work together is never going to be replaced by technology. But a partnership between tech and people – technology that forges relationships and facilitates togetherness for those who are in the next cubicle over or are geographically distant – can certainly play a key role to move the needle.