Papers_and_Meeting.jpgWhen it comes to running a sales organization, no one can afford to waste time. High-performing leaders focus where they can provide the most value to their sales reps, before, during, and after sales activities.

The best sales leaders see through the clutter to identify those high-impact opportunities.Here are three ways you can add more value for your sales reps.

Valuable Role Plays

Role playing can often be awkward, time-consuming, and less than valuable. Done right, however, role playing can make the difference between a lost opportunity and a signed contract. Here are some best practices for conducting effective role plays.

1. Be sure that the person playing the buyer is fluent in the account. Pre-call planners can be effective tools to ramp up the other participant quickly.

2. During the role play, listen for these key things:

  • Does the rep open with a purpose and clear agenda, and gain agreement on those points?
  • Does the rep clearly state what they already understand about the opportunity?
  • Does the rep ask discovery questions that move the conversation toward attaching buyer problems to the seller’s solution?
  • Does the rep help the buyer connect the conversation to others in their organization?
  • Does the rep close with a clear, concise update and state the next steps to move the sale forward?

3. Use the feedback portion to offer both positive and constructive feedback based on these questions. Use the tips in this article to improve your feedback skills, or listen to this podcast.

Positive Opportunity Coaching

Often, salespeople view opportunity reviews as a chance for their managers to tell them everything they’re doing wrong. Many sales organizations call these opportunity inspections. That’s what they feel like, an inspection of all the negatives. Instead, approach reviews as an opportunity to coach your reps to success. Think of yourself as the motivator to help them bring the opportunity to fruition. Here are some best practices.

1. Prepare

Show respect for your reps by maximizing their time in reviews, and bringing feedback that will both encourage and genuinely help them.

2. Involve the team

Maximize the value of feedback by conducting coaching in a group setting. You’ll give everyone the benefit of each other’s feedback, and demonstrate that everyone has the entire team at their back.

3. Prioritize objectives

Focus on discussion relevant to where the opportunity is in the pipeline and how to effectively move it forward.

4. Protect Time and Agenda

Stick to the allotted time and the desired agenda. Be purposeful and efficient.

5. Provide the ‘How.’

Give the salesperson actionable next steps to focus on, and check that the seller is comfortable executing those steps. This is a good time for a focused role-playing session.

Proactive Accountability

When Harvard Business Review surveyed more than 700 sales professionals, they found that in under-performing organizations, only 13% of respondents felt they were held accountable for results. At high performing organizations, more than 60% of salespeople said they were held accountable.

To keep your salespeople on track, set up a clear path and a cadence to talk about progress on opportunities, and any challenges in moving the opportunity forward. Make the person who owns the deal responsible for the cadence, not you the manager.

Focus on building predictability and consistency into both your coaching and seller performance. For an example of how to build these core competencies into your organization, read this article on building accountability in the sales planning process..

Organizations that have leaders who are committed to coaching and growing their reps abilities will reap the rewards of consistency – an increase in average deal size, market share and overall revenue.