January is a crazy month, with national sales meetings, new comp plans, new marketing programs and the annual performance review process. The rest you had over the holidays is long forgotten. You are very busy. What if there was one thing that you could do now that would help your salespeople succeed this year?
The good news is that you don’t have to drop anything. In fact, I will show you how to integrate my one thing into what you are already doing and show you a simple way to make it happen.
You are probably in the middle of annual performance reviews where you are providing your salespeople with feedback. Many managers hate performance management because they perceive it as negative. I will show you how to make this a real positive task that drives performance.
Start by getting your review done, provide feedback to your salespeople and have a great discussion on how they performed. When doing any review whether it’s a quarterly, mid-year or year-end review, the most successful sales manager focuses 20% of their time on reviewing past performance and 80% of their time on focusing forward. You can’t change what happened last year, but you are now in a position to positively impact on how your salespeople will perform in the upcoming year.
Have I peaked your curiosity?
Developing your salespeople to be better is the role of the sales manager. The most effective way to do so is to coach them. Sales coaching is the number one activity that drives sales rep performance. Highly effective sales coaches can impact sales reps to achieve 20% greater sales.
What is the one thing you can do?
The one thing you can do is to build an individual development/coaching plan for each of your salespeople. Improvement in skills has a dramatic impact on performance. By helping your salespeople improve in one or two areas during the year will help them to succeed. Great coaching begins with a plan. In the absence of a plan, your coaching becomes the flavor of the day coaching. You end up coaching what you observed when you are in the field. Flavor of the day coaching fails to build any skills. Skill building is like bodybuilding it takes time to see improvements.
When to build an individual coaching plan?
The reason I write this article today is that building your individual coaching plan as part of the annual review purpose is ideal. Building the coaching plan as part of the annual review process leverages the feedback and performance review from the prior year into a plan that will impact this upcoming year’s performance.
The timing is ideal for it to occur at the beginning of the year as it allows both you and your reps to focus on skills development. It sets an expectation that reps are responsible for improving their skills. Don’t forget that your role is coaching your salespeople and helping them improve their skills.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The first step in the process starts with a simple question. “What is the one thing that you are committed to working on that would have a positive impact on your performance”. If you agree with the answer, your sales rep gives, then you have the focus of your coaching for the next 6-12 months.
Getting the rep to commit to working on one thing is the first step. It is the objective of the journey. Next, you need to work with your sales rep to build the roadmap which includes the various steps the rep is committed to taking as part of their coaching plan. This makes the plan actionable. Otherwise, it is doomed to fail.
The power of accountability
With a commitment to improving in one area coupled with a plan on how to get there, you are about 60% of the way to success. Coaching is an effective process if followed. The key to coaching is holding your salespeople accountable to do what they say they are going to do. In a nutshell, the catalyst to helping your sales rep improve their skills and make them successful is follow up and accountability.
Help Salespeople Succeed
In conclusion, building a detailed individual coaching plan for each of your salespeople will set the stage to improve their performance. Following up on coaching will help your reps succeed. If all your sales reps succeed, you are bound to hit the lottery.