This article is reprinted from PI Worldwide, News and Insights, April 2014.
Oracle research cites 89% of sales reps want more coaching. Fortunately, sales managers are recognizing this need and are actively seeking to deliver more informed coaching that is enhanced by analytics. PI Worldwide research shows that the coaching dynamic can benefit tremendously from insight into a rep’s behavior (what motivates a person), skills (what are the strengths and weaknesses), and performance data (sales results). Leveraging this trifecta, managers can pinpoint precisely what a rep needs to improve and sustain performance, and where the manager should invest time and energy to get the desired sales results.
Here are four scenarios where informed coaching using workforce analytics makes a measurable impact:
The Muscle Scenario — High sales results, Low sales skills: This is an example of a top producer who gets the job done but likely in his or her own way. Success may come from years of experience, superb product knowledge, or simply hard work. The good news is that they get superior results. Unfortunately this is often achieved by being overly reliant on just one key selling skill, such as closing skills, presentation skills or questioning skills. As a result, producers in this category are likely to be working inefficiently, and have a strong opportunity for improvement. Coaching to develop those additional selling skills will increase performance and efficiency substantially.
The Execution Scenario – Low sales results, High sales skills: These are the folks who know what to do but have trouble executing on that knowledge. They’ve attended the sales training, absorbed the information, but still struggle to deliver. This classic “knowing-doing gap” may be from lack of confidence, lack of drive, or simply lack of coaching. Through focused one-on-one coaching, a manager can help the rep see how judgment and knowledge play out, and provide the necessary feedback to optimize follow through. Often, when a person has the necessary sales skills for the role but isn’t succeeding, it can be helpful to use a behavioral assessment to uncover the drive behind their selling style.
The Knowledge Scenario – Low sales results, Low sales skills: A sales rep that scores low on the selling skills assessment and has low sales results needs training. A manager can hire the best rep with all the drive necessary to succeed, but if the individual lacks core sales skills, he or she becomes a rocket without a direction. Start with solid sales training and reinforce with focused skill builders. By increasing a rep’s core sales skills, a manager helps provide the tools necessary for the role. These reps tend to be sponges and the sales skills training is absorbed and used.
The Leverage Scenario – High sales results, High sales skills: When the rep has strong sales skills and outstanding sales results, what could be the problem? Sales superstars can fade if they feel constrained by a lack of selling time or worse, boredom. In either case, top producers need to be kept engaged, challenged and leveraged. A manager should examine all aspects of the person’s role and identify ways to minimize distraction and maximize selling time. For instance, this could mean providing better technology systems or hiring support staff to manage administrative duties.
In each of the four scenarios, high performing organizations leverage workforce analytics, the data trifecta of behaviors, skills, and results, to augment any coaching strategy. The outcome will be a highly targeted and consistent coaching experience that drives predictable results faster over the short and long term.
If you would like to learn more about this process, workforce analytics, and people big data and how it can transform an organization, please contact John Inman at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 425-954-7256.