You have been through trainings, sales kickoffs, and rollouts of many new initiatives. Great information is given to your reps but then no corporate support afterwards. The result is your team goes back to their old ways. There will be expectations on you to make this work and produce results. Like many times before you will be left to solve this on your own.
There is a long list of support activities that can help your team. You can also find an extended list in our “How To Make The Number in 2016” research report. The three that will help you the most are:
- Certification- Certify that the sales initiative is understood by the sales team. To learn more review this article here.
- Gamification- Ensure the sales initiative has been adopted by the sales team. Review this article here to understand the impact of failed initiatives.
- Coaching- Reinforce the sales initiative by coaching/supporting each sales team member in the job.
This post is about coaching in the field. Field coaching has proven to be one of the most effective ways to coach. You have the opportunity to assess the application of training in a real environment. Download the Sales Field Coaching Form to start managing change.
Why Field Coaching?
It is generally accepted that practice makes perfect. However, this is only half the battle. Sales reps come away from these events trying to implement. Full of energy and ready to try-out their new ideas only to fall short. Why? Because what they learned in the classroom does not translate smoothly into the field. Their customers think differently and come with different sets of objections. Sports are no different. Any sport you watch, you see coaches coaching their players during the game. They have to make adjustments according to the situation. This is why you need field coaching. As Sales Manager, you play that role.
What Does Field Coaching Do?
It is the “Moment of Truth” when a rep and a customer meet face-to-face. Debriefs and surveys that ask about what happens during sales calls often distort reality. No other form of discovery provides the evidence of learning and application of training. You will quickly learn how well the team is applying new knowledge.
What Does it Mean to Use it?
Using the Sales Field Coaching Form helps you understand where the team is challenged. You can then develop a plan to overcome those challenges. That kind of knowledge is essential to good management. You will know what it takes to develop reps and minimize a productivity loss.
How Often Should I Coach My Team in the Field?
At least once a week. You need to have a high level of frequency to stay connected. It allows you to observe skill sets but also gather feedback. Several things could change the frequency of field coaching such as:
- Timing- Was new training delivered? A new product rolled out? New process? Spending more time up front encourages behavior change.
- Tenure- Frequency increases with less tenure. This improves ramp up time and sets people up for success.
- Levels of Competency- Top performers are quick learners and push themselves to get better. Leverage top performers to help you with others that are struggling.
Spend every reasonable amount of time with your sales people. Make sure the majority of that time is spent watching them perform. This will allow you to manage change, risk, and the outcome of your results.