Updated: May 24, 2022
The new economic situation as well as new buyer behavior requires new sales approaches in high-tech or B2B. Formerly successful expansion companies are increasingly struggling with their sales figures. They are not able to reach their sales targets. The following article aims to show how important it is to address or improve the quality in today's sales management. With modern tools and methods as well as sales coaching, success can be expanded, and new customers can be won.
We all know these challenges:
Closings are postponed. They are not lost, but customers have postponed decisions due to the current economic situation.
Orders that were promised, suddenly require the approval of top management. The critical point here is that in most cases the new decision-makers have not yet been involved in the ongoing sales process.
The real competitor is no longer the competition, but rather sudden shifts in priorities in top management. Other projects are more important and get the nod.
Previously active and successful sales partners have suddenly lost interest and are not willing to provide the additional resources needed to achieve the agreed sales figures. It is even conceivable that these partners will advance to a competitor in order to generate additional sales with the competitor's products.
And worst of all, new opportunities have become scarce.
Successful sales managers must deal with these challenges on a daily basis, and to do so they must master a number of important skills. Namely, they need to make sure they hire the right people and help them reach their potential. They need to encourage their teams to follow the company's learned best practices, and they need to ensure that sales opportunities are well-qualified, pipelines are well-managed, and forecasts are consistently accurate.
And then they, the sales managers, should just find enough time to coach their people.
Coaching is primarily about helping salespeople think about potential situations they are likely to encounter in the sales process, giving them practical experience, and empowering and encouraging them to act decisively and effectively. It is also about helping salespeople learn from their own experiences and those of their colleagues.
At the beginning of this article, the question is whether sales coaching is worthwhile. The answer is a resounding yes, and I've concluded that the value of coaching is particularly high in complex B2B sales environments where the salesperson must manage a large number of variables. Salespeople need this support, and it is especially important for gaining access to detailed information and resources to uncover areas for improvement and thus present a meaningful solution proposal.
Research by the U.S.-based Objective Management Group, a pioneer in Salesforce Evaluation & Sales Candidate Screening, has shown that there is a clear positive correlation between the amount of time sales managers invest in coaching and the results they are able to achieve through and with their salespeople.
On average, the most successful managers invest between a quarter and a third of their time in coaching their salespeople. Unfortunately, the average amount of time spent on coaching across the sales management community is well below this figure, and in too many cases is in the single digits. Some don't coach at all.
Match-crucial: the right mindset
As I explained earlier, sales coaching is about helping salespeople reflect on sales situations. This is about mindset and, of course, skills. Such coaching sessions are an exercise in getting salespeople to think more effectively, to recognize and weigh the options available to them, and to dare to act on their conclusions.
To do this, a good coach must enable his trainee to evaluate situations with relentless honesty, identify and eliminate unexamined assumptions, and take steps to close the inevitable knowledge gaps. Thus, one recognizes situations as they really are, rather than as one would like them to be, which has an extremely positive impact on forecast quality.
Finally, I would like to note that coaching should not be seen as a one-way transfer of knowledge and experience. If the coached person is open-minded, he or her will also learn from his or her own experience. Successful salespeople know how to tap into the wisdom of their colleagues and take advice from you.
PS. If you are interested in tons of experience and know-how on how to aggressively win customers and new logos, I am available. I am happy to advise and support salespeople, sales consultants, relationship and key account managers, sales managers as well as startups in a group or 1:1 coaching on personal questions and challenges around sales. Sell more with sales coaching.
The B2B buyer increasingly questions the why and wherefore and expects valid arguments: - Why should I buy something new? - Why should I buy it today? - How bad is my situation without this investment? - How will this investment affect my numbers? - How can I eliminate any implementation risks?