Navigating this changing sales environment is challenging for many organizations, but it’s not impossible. Take, for example, sales practices of the best-in-class sales organizations. Their win rates are 26% higher and their quota attainment is 21% higher than their peers.

These best-in-class sales organizations are all following a dynamic or formal sales process: one that’s aligned with the buying process, consistently followed, coached on and measured explains Becky Abraham, an Associate Client Partner in Korn Ferry’s Organization Strategy practice. Despite this, only 30% of the organizations we surveyed at our Seize the Sale webinar said they follow a formal or dynamic sales process — which means their approach isn’t defined or followed consistently. “In this environment, it’s essential that sales organizations drive the adoption of a more formal, dynamic sales process and sales methodology, or they’ll find they can’t hit their goals,” says Abraham.

Sales Process:

Defined sequence of activities to find and close business

Sales Methodology:

Repeatable set of actions that tell a salesperson WHAT to do

Sales Skills:

"Teachable" capabilities or skills that show HOW a salesperson wins

The role of change management in adopting a sales process and sales methodology

Companies that see widespread adoption of a new sales process or sales methodology need to do three things:

1. Create a change plan: explain why the change in sales process is necessary and describe the benefits for individual sellers and the organization. It’s also a good idea to identify early adopters who can inspire others to embrace the change.

2. Reinforce the sales process or sales methodology with technology: Companies that embed their sales methodology in their sales tech stack, particularly their CRM, encourage adoption. Their sales tools prompt them to follow their sales methodology.

3. Build sustainable change through coaching: Consistent reinforcement of a sales process or sales methodology embeds skills and behaviors in sellers.

Abraham argues this third point is critical to the success of implementing a sales process or methodology. “With coaching, you’re helping to improve their skills within the context of a repeatable a process or methodology – something the whole team can apply,” explains Abraham. In fact, our research shows that sales organizations who say their managers coach salespeople to higher levels of performance report that sellers spend 23% more time selling and 21% less time on post-sales tasks.

People Strategy & Performance

Competitive edge starts with your people

How sales managers can coach sellers on sales process and sales methodology

A good sales coach ensures the seller has met the criteria to move an opportunity to the next stage. Asking what the salesperson has done and how the customer reacted confirms that the salesperson isn’t jumping ahead and erroneously forecasting a deal that’s still in the discovery stage, says Abraham. “Asking questions that help a salesperson rationalize where the deal really is allows them to realize they may have gotten ahead of the customer. It also has the added benefit of improving forecast accuracy.”

If a salesperson jumps ahead of the customer often, then a good coach will shift to a sales skills conversation. Does the salesperson need to ask better discovery questions to qualify a deal? Or is the salesperson targeting the wrong type of company or industry where they can’t compete well? Those become different conversations but impact the opportunity in the long run.

When coaching on a sales methodology, coaches help sellers identify the next best action for an opportunity. “Good sales coaching involves asking good questions,” confirms Abraham. Good questions help a salesperson pressure-test where they are in an opportunity pursuit and see where they might need to make adjustments. And as coaches recognize patterns, they can begin a larger skills conversation, so the salesperson makes changes not only at the opportunity level but also across their pipeline.

The business payoff of sales coaching

According to Korn Ferry’s 5th Annual Sales Enablement Study, companies with consistent sales coaching and impact measurement see 32% higher win rates and 28% higher quota attainment. From a team perspective, they also see 2x seller engagement and almost 30% reduced voluntary turnover.

Does your team need help to achieve sales targets? Watch our Seize the Sale: Create impact through sales coaching webinar to help start building your coaching business case.

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