In a prior message I talked about the importance of “moving the middle” performers in your performance bell-curve up, and how this has a significant impact on performance
Where do sales managers spend time coaching? Do they coach the middle?
Let me start with a simple hypothesis. Sales people, particularly those deemed “average” or “solid” performers (ie not your stars or problems), need and want the help of sales managers to progress and win deals in their pipeline.
They look to their manager for guidance, help and support.
Sadly, our experience of b2b companies indicates that sales manager coaching time [which btw is not enough] is focused on the top and bottom performers.
But, and it’s a big but, the return-on-coaching for top and bottom performers is much lower than time when you “coach the middle”. The sales executive council found this was nearly 20% lower return.
Top performers have limited room for improvement on their good performance to date, and bottom performers are often past the point of being able to salvage. It is in the middle where the potential for improvement sits.
In the middle you will likely have a mix of ‘can’t do’ and ‘won’t do’ people. Coaching helps to support the can’t do people, sharing insights and guiding them toward better performance. Coaching helps to address the performance of your won’t do people too, helping them to accept performance gaps and take responsibility for improvement.
So how can sales managers in your company “coach the middle” of your sales team? How will you change your focus to improve these core performers?