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How Can Coaching Drive Revenue Growth?

By Mark Dembo

Now that the dust of the “New Year” has settled into this long winter of 2011, the focus for many organizations has turned to rapid execution of strategy. As we’ve weathered the economic storms of the past few years and now with some partial clearing on the horizon, organizations are seeking to take advantage of the glimmers of economic sunshine by becoming laser focused on ensuring that goals are met as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. We’ve all learned that we can’t sit back and rest on our laurels – things can turn on a dime and we must be ready for it.

Along with this, is an increasingly sharp focus on sales performance. In fact, many companies have shifted the focus of executive compensation away from just stock price or EPS growth, supplanted with a much stronger emphasis on revenue growth.

HR and Talent Management professionals can and should be playing an important role in spurring on that sales growth by providing the resources and guidance to ensure that the RIGHT type of sales and sales leadership skills are being acquired, developed and retained.

While this may not be earth-shattering news, there are some interesting twists to consider that run contrary to traditional thinking. Effective sales leadership isn’t just about coaching and prodding salespeople.

In fact, the Sales Executive Council recently published some very interesting research that points out that sales leaders may oftentimes be focusing their coaching effort on the WRONG people. As reported by the Harvard Business Review, the tendency to focus coaching at the “tails” of the sales team is the wrong approach;

“The real payoff from good coaching lies among the middle 60% — your core performers. For this group, the best-quality coaching can improve performance up to 19%. In fact, even moderate improvement in coaching quality — simply from below to above average — can mean a six to eight percent increase in performance across 50% of your sales force….

At the end of the day, who your managers coach is just as important as how they coach.”
I leave you with three questions to ponder:

  1. What are you doing to ensure that you know who your bottom, middle, and top sales performers are, and who among that group has the best potential and motivation to improve in a changing sales environment?
  2. Do your sales leaders have the right information to know where to focus their efforts?
  3. How are you equipping your sales leaders to improve and focus their coaching efforts on the right people?

Think about it – the future growth of your organization is riding on the answers to these questions!

Mark Dembo is a manager with DDI.

Posted: 09 Feb, 2011,
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