Last year 44% of Salespeople hit their sales quota. Only 46.4% of deals forecast to close actually closed. When you consider that the odds of winning at craps in Las Vegas is 49.3%, there is no doubt something is broken in today’s sales leadership model. If we have less than a gambler’s chance of hitting quota or having a forecast deal close, it is time to try another approach.
There are countless training methodologies and technologies to help training stick and become a habit. Organizations spent $130 Billion in training last year. Unfortunately, training by itself is elusive. In 1865 German researcher Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered the “Forgetting Curve.” Ebbinghaus conducted training events and then performed retention tests to measure how well people remembered the things they were taught.
The original study showed that after only 1 hour, less than half of the material was retained. After a day it was down to only about 30%. And after just 1 month post-training, people retained only about 20% of what they had been taught. In a recent study by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) they conducted this study with an emphasis on salespeople. They found that after 30 days, salespeople have forgotten a staggering 87% of the things they were taught in training.
The same study by CEB identified the key to overcoming the forgetting curve was to add coaching to the training. While training does provide a performance bump, by adding ongoing coaching to the training organizations realized a massive 4x improvement in performance.
The importance of coaching is not limited to performance improvements. The CEB research shows that coaching has a dramatic impact on retention as well. The primary driver of “Intent to Stay With the Company” is driven by the salesperson’s perception of the quality of coaching they received. From star performers down to the sub-par salespeople, the quality of sales coaching received drives their intent to stay in their current job in a way that is impossible to ignore.
This finding sets up an important question: If coaching drives both performance and engagement/retention, who should be responsible for the coaching? The answer may surprise you.
The only role inside a sales organization that has a meaningful impact in coaching is the Direct Manager. Every other role pales in comparison to the impact that can be created from a manager that accepts coaching as a primary role. This poses the final question the CEB study evaluated: If the Direct Manager needs to be the coach, how good are managers at coaching? The results were conclusive.
The skill coaches were most often reported as “Underperforms” in was "Coaching," followed closely by “Creativity in Improving Performance.”
So we are operating in an evironment where the thing that drives performance, engagement, and retention is the the thing that managers generally are the worst at…and unfortunately, this is not a role that can be delegated. Managers must accept the role of coach and learn to coach their teams consistently and effectively.
Those that do achieve results that move the needle and change careers. In order to do this, managers and executives must:
- Accept the role of coach as a primary responsibility.
- Adopt a coaching framework that will create consistency in how coaching is conducted and received.
- Adopt tools to help identify skill gaps and create a case of why improving is worth it to the salesperson.
- Prioritize time and focus coaching efforts on key areas that will move the needle.
The reason most Sales Leaders do worse at coaching than they do in Vegas? There simply haven’t been tools to provide a platform that fuels the strategic decision making for Sales Coaching…until now. XVoyant will help you make how you coach your most defensible competitive advantage.