How Team Coaching Can be a Great Strategy to Reduce Sales Turnover

I recently wrote an article that offered three ways to help reduce the high cost of sales turnover. Significant economic advantages exist to organizations that have a training program, apply continuous process improvement and leverage machine learning (to help predict when a salesperson is considering leaving the company). Not only are there significant cost advantages to applying these techniques, but these methodologies can effectively reduce sales turnover.

Cutting costs is obviously an important metric for any department. But, from a sales management perspective, achieving annual quota targets is likely seen as more important. Most would rather have a conversation with senior management about making sales targets at a higher than budgeted cost versus the opposite (missing quota but coming in under budget).

No matter how great your training program, or how excellent your organization is at identifying new candidates to join the team, extending the tenure of an existing team is the best option to consistently achieve sales quota targets.

Not only are hiring costs avoided, but the performance and output of an existing team is more likely to improve over time to consistently yield better results. A team well skilled on product attributes, how to sell against the competition and what methodologies work best to close deals are incredibly valuable to keeping a sales pipeline moving.

The Star Performer Syndrome

Some might argue, however, that while a sales team’s overall performance is important, in the end, overall achievement is driven by the star performer(s). This philosophy is based on the 80/20 rule, often referred to as the Pareto principle. I see this almost as a law of physics – it is prevalent and critical to understand, especially in the world of sales.

In this case, 80 percent of a team’s success usually comes from a select group of high performers – and that group will typically be about 20 percent of the team.

Learn more here: Beating the 80/20 Rule to Improve Remote Sales Performance

The problem with this concept is that sales managers often rely too much on making sure the star performer’s needs are met, sometimes to the detriment of providing support to the rest of the team.

This strategy can also put an organization in a difficult situation, should a star performer decide to negotiate for a new commission plan or bonus structure. If the company’s annual sales target is at risk by a single individual, then this is not in a position to effectively negotiate from.

Embrace Team Coaching to help Reduce Sales Turnover and Drive Sales Goals

An effective strategy to avoid placing too much reliance on star performers is to devote time and effort into coaching higher team performance. If sales performance is seen and measured more as a team effort, then it won’t be as necessary to rely on one specific participant to “save the day” every month, quarter or year.

In the end, it’s the team’s overall performance that determines if a company has a good year. This is a compelling goal to keep a strong focus on. The performance of the team is more important than a single sales person’s individual contribution.

So, what can be done to help coach a higher performance team? First, let’s define what high performance means.

What Defines a High-Performance Sales Team?

A high-performance sales team can be defined as a group of people who work together for a common goal, and through that effort, are able to achieve extraordinary results. To become a high-performance team, there are a couple of core attributes that must be achieved:

  • Excellent communication
  • Innovative spirit to try new approaches or techniques
  • Ability to measure performance improvement

The difference when coaching for high team performance is that each team member’s performance impacts each other’s. Everyone must be a good communicator to manage complex sales cycles or to ensure no customer is forgotten or services being delivered inconsistently.

We live in a highly dynamic world. That means new problems continually arise that require new, innovative solutions to overcome them. High-performance teams know how to apply innovation to solve these challenges and can do so with amazing effectiveness and a strong ability to execute.

Then, as a feedback loop to ensure process improvement is accurately evaluated and successfully acted upon, Key Performance Metrics must be available to measure performance.

This intelligence must then be shared and understood across the team. The information must be clearly understood, believed and communicated to everyone to ensure process improvement is sustained. The right innovation must be understood, applied and embraced. Alternatively, under-performing activities must be quickly identified and then removed accordingly.

Prodoscore as an Enabler to Communicate Team Performance

One of the tougher aspects about communicating team performance is now to do so in an objective way that is fair yet doesn’t put too much of a spotlight on those who didn’t score as well as the top performers. Everyone has a bad week or month. The underperformer of one period could become the next period’s highest achiever.

An application that can be a great resource here is Prodoscore, which can help quantify how each sales team member has invested their time each day, including what activities were done. With this intelligence, a sales manager gains a unique perspective on how to evaluate his or her team’s performance in a highly quantified manner.

A score is generated depicting everyone’s overall productivity score for the day, week or another period. This score can then be compared with other scores from prior periods to visualize and better understand how performance levels have changed.

But, more importantly, so too can a team score be calculated and then shared. This metric can be quite valuable to compare team performances between regions, or across different time periods.

Considerable insights can be extracted from this simple companion, which don’t get lost in “translation” of other more complex or subjective evaluations of team performance. The value of a simple and easy to understand score goes a long way to easing how to measure overall team performance, and how it has changed over time.

Taken in aggregate, this strategy can yield valuable, insightful results. This intelligence can be used to quickly and easily share overall team performance. And, ideally, offer an approach that can help to reduce sales turnover and have a significant impact on your company’s bottom line.