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Why can’t B2B sales people sell – Part 4 – No Training & Coaching!

In follow-on from my previous articles about Why Can’t B2B Sales People Sell, I find the biggest reason that B2B sales people fail is that very few B2B sales and marketing people get the right training; and especially do not get the right, or usually any, follow-on coaching.

As mentioned in my previous articles, B2B sales is probably the most difficult and definitely one of the most sophisticated processes in business. It is difficult, (sophisticated/complex) because you have to convince another company to part with its money. And, in B2B sales, this usually requires more than one person (group or committee) in your prospect company, to give the approval for the sale.

There are many things a B2B sales person must know and understand before he/she can become good at his/her craft. This is true with most professions. But in no other job, other than marketing, must you get another company to part with its money.

We all know that all professional sports teams have coaching. But why do they need coaching, if these players have been doing the same thing since they were little kids playing in their tyke leagues?

They need it for two basic reasons;
1. Things change as we grow and we need to keep adapting; coaching shows us how.
2. We forget many of the nuances and what we are doing wrong; coaching ingrains the right methods into the way we work.

All top professional teams have multiple coaches. And even individual sporting athletes have multiple coaches. Golfers have swing coaches, short game coaches, psychologists, strength coaches, etc. All the good tennis players have coaches too.

And of course all teams have multiple coaches. Football teams have a head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators, line coaches, for each of the offensive and defensive lines, backs’ coaches, wide receiver coaches, quarterback coaches, and the list goes on.

They need these coaches because the games are sophisticated and complex; just like B2B selling and marketing.

And yet very, very few B2B companies employ coaching for their sales and marketing teams, especially their sales teams.

However, it has been proven over and over again that companies that train and get coaching for their sales people, outperform the companies that don’t have any training or coaching by at least a 2:1 ratio. They have more than twice the sales performance.

Does your company train, and get coaching for your sales team?

Many times the sales manager is expected to train and coach the sales team. And in some instances, he can do that, but he is limited in his scope. He is limited because of all the other duties he has as a manager.

And hardly any companies send their managers to management school, on how to manage, coach and train. They mostly feel that if they were good at selling, then they can teach and coach their sales teams. But this is an extremely faulty promise.

Very few sales managers have really been trained in how to coach their sales teams. Because someone was a good sales person, doesn’t mean he/she will be a good manager and coach. And you will see this in sports too. Very few great athletes become good coaches.

Here are two interesting graphics about training and coaching

Training without coaching

Training with coaching

As you can see from the first graphic, training gives a one-time boost in sales behaviour and results, but people quickly slip back into their old familiar behaviour without coaching reinforcement, and increases in sales are negligible.

However, with coaching after training, you can see that although there is a slight dip in both graphics right after training, the sales people who received coaching keep getting better and better results.

Through all of my coaching years, I have found that coaching costs very little compared to the increased results that have occurred. In many cases, coaching fees were less than 1% of the overall increase in revenues.

So, if you truly want to grow your business, you need to have your sales people trained and coached by professionals. And in most cases, this means hiring outside professional B2B sales coaches. You will see a very worthwhile ROI.

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