Archives for February 2015

For Better Sales Coaching Results: RAM Your Reps!

Sales Coaches: For Faster Results - RAM Your Reps!Here is quick-hit post on sales coaching.

Some Background

There are multiple forms of coaching. I’ve often categorized them this way…

  • directive coaching
  • developmental coaching
  • behavioral coaching
  • personal effectiveness coaching (life coaching/executive coaching)

… but I also don’t believe these distinctions are cut and dried. There is overlap and a great coach pulls out the right tool and at the right time (similar to the Sales Utility Belt).

I have also shared these variables before as well, in my Partnership Coaching™ program:

coaching variables

I remain a big fan of both Hersey’s ad Blanchard’s Situational Leadership approaches, as well, where you tailor your approach based on what your rep really needs (based on their confidence and competence), for a particular task.

Today’s RAM method falls into the Work Performance Improvement category but can easily incorporate principles from developmental coaching, behavioral coaching, or situational leadership.

My one piece of directive advice? Use your best judgment, but unless you are training (your rep truly doesn’t know what to do, why to do it, or how to do it) avoid being directive. And most of all, just get coaching!

Companies with a Level 1 sales process and a non-coaching culture had 48 percent of their reps meeting or beating quota, while companies with a Level 4 sales process and a positive coaching culture enjoyed a 63 percent success rate.

How to RAM your Reps

RAM is an acronym meaning:

  • Results
  • Activities
  • Methods

One of the practical things about RAM is the simplicity and how quickly it can be done. Of course, you can use this method to dig as deep as you want and tackle almost any skills issue, but the beauty is that it works well for quick-hit, in-the-moment coaching, too.

Results

Start here by reviewing the results your rep is getting.

By “results,” I mean anything from the final outcome (wins/sales) or any measurable interim outcomes along the way… things like: number of appointments with prospective customers, number of new contacts made inside a current account, number of opportunities in the pipeline, velocity, conversion rates, etc.

Assessing Results creates a starting point for where to coach, for a quick-hit win.

Activities

If the results are less than expected or even if they’re good but you both would like to see improvement, explore the activities that the rep is doing to get those results. In the case of appointments, for example, how many calls, connects, contacts and presentations are being made and what are the conversion ratios for those activities?

Sometimes, your rep will be doing the exact right things, and doing them well, but simply isn’t doing enough of them. This is one of the possible problem you’re assessing, and if needed, fixing here. Your rep could also be spending time doing the wrong activities, which you can also ascertain here.

Methods

Methods does partly refer to sales methodology, but includes more, such as targeting the right buyers. This is where you bring it all together.

Are they approaching the right buyers? (Who)

  • Where is the rep’s activity targeted? Is your rep approaching the right prospects and customers? Or chasing pipe dreams or low-value targets?

Are they doing the right things? (What and Why)

  • What activities is the rep doing?
  • Is there enough of a mix of lead-gen and opportunity development activities to get results?

Are the doing those things right? (How, When, Where)

This is where sales methodology comes into play:

  • What is the quality of each activity?
  • Is the rep doing them at the right time and place?
  • What messaging and approaches are being used?
  • How well is the rep executing?

It’s critical to be doing the right stuff with the right buyers and doing it well. Your rep can be doing the right activity, doing it well, but aiming at the wrong target customers, and fail miserably. He or she can have a ton of activity with the right buyers, but if they are fumbling their way through, results will be poor. You get the picture.

As you work through RAM, you can of course, engage your rep, ask great questions, guide their thinking, coax ideas and solutions from them, and also have them establish and own action plans (with rewards and recognition along the way from you)… incorporating developmental and behavioral coaching into your efforts to bring RAM to life.

Well, that’s what I think, on this quick-hit coaching topic of “RAMing” your reps.

More importantly, what do YOU think?

I look forward to your thoughts, opinions and experiences.

As always, thanks for reading, be safe out there, and by all means, let’s continue to elevate our sales profession.

Mike

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Mike Kunkle

:: transforming sales results ::

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