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There are a few moments where sales managers can coach their salespeople: during weekly funnel reviews, during post-meeting briefing, or even during a team meeting.
Sales managers can also leverage group coaching and co-development sessions and to develop their sales force.
To work upstream, sales manager must implement pre-meeting coaching sessions.
By offering coaching in preparation for a meeting, the sales manager helps the representative visualize and get ready for their conversation with the prospect. This is a more strategic than tactical coaching method.
The session is divided into two stages: the first is to establish the context and the second is to provide the necessary coaching.
1. Establish the context of the meeting
The director must first determine the context in which the meeting will take place, i.e. defining the main subject. What objective is the salesperson pursuing? Must they identify the compelling reasons to buy, the needs, the urgency level of the prospect?
The coach must then ensure that this objective is consistent with the stage of the sales process the opportunity is situated at. Should the salesperson make other preparations beforehand?
The client’s expectations are very important to consider. If the client expects a product presentation, they may be surprised by having to answer several questions. It’s also good to establish whether this will be a formal or informal meeting.
2. Preparing for the meeting
Once the context of the meeting is established, we get to the heart of the coaching.
The sales manager can explore with the representative the different obstacle that may be encountered. For example, they can list the objections that could be brought up and the ways to manage them. The same process applies to the different ways that the conversation could end.
Role-playing games are very effective in pre-meeting coaching. They make it possible to live a specific situation before it happens and be better prepared for it.
The salesperson practises with the manager, for example, on how to begin the discussion with the potential client, dramatizing the first minutes of the meeting. Such a situation is very useful to reflect on which tone and approach to adopt.
The sales manager can also use the pre-meeting to raise the salesperson’s awareness of certain elements of their sales DNA. By focusing your coaching on the strengths and weaknesses of the DNA, the intervention is personalized and yields better results.
The sales coach can also use virtual assistance to help the representative overcome his or her difficulties. Integrated into your CRM, Membrain compiles the results of the sales team evaluation and points out the weaknesses of the representatives and at which stage they are likely to appear.
The sales process then becomes very dynamic: for example, the specific steps to overcome a strong need for approval will be reminded to whom possesses this weakness.
At the end of the session, the sales manager should always invite the representative to summarize the lessons learned, either verbally, in writing, or by e-mail. It’s a question of acknowledging the information acquired and defining the action plan that follows. This is a great way to consolidate the gains.
As with all types of sales coaching, one of the manager’s challenge is to bring the conversation back to objective elements, as the salesperson will always deliver their perception of the facts. It must be seen to that the agreed upon strategy be executed, without taking for granted preconceived ideas.