Statistics show that companies spend upward of $20 billion a year on sales training. But are all those dollars bringing a return on investment? Unfortunately, no. In fact, on average, just 29 percent of new sales representatives hit performance milestones in their first year on the job.
Recent research published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science examined the application of athletic performance psychology to sales training. Results confirmed what the best sales managers know: Sales performance proves highest when salespeople are highly “coachable” and are open and interested in training and development. That’s why it’s critical for payroll software and service bureau owners to be able to spot sales staff – current and prospective – who fit the bill.
According to study authors, sales professionals who prove most coachable are those who:
- Ask for feedback
- Listen to the opinions of others
- Show motivation for improvement
- Grasp an idea the first time they hear it
- Follow instructions well
- Discuss business problems with peers
- Are flexible
- Ask sales coaches, managers or top-performing peers how they would handle a situation
- Don’t get defensive when given tough feedback
- Learn from their mistakes
- Experiment with new approaches
- Demonstrate self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses,
- Are cooperative and participative at group meetings
- Adopt well to new situations and change
- Have the ability to act on feedback
Once you’ve analyzed your staff, you’ll need to customize your coaching approach depending upon your staff’s coachability level. Experts recommend allocating:
- 60 percent of coaching time with salespeople with medium skill levels,
- 15 percent of coaching time with salespeople with low skill levels, and
- 25 percent of coaching time with salespeople with high skill levels.
Unsure that you read that right? Here’s the key: Spending the most time with those who are at the medium skill level provides the highest return on your time investment. Low skilled reps may require too much of a time commitment to help, while high performers have some room for improvement, but don’t need lots of coaching. But those at the mid-skill level have the highest and quickest potential to move from average performers to high performers.
Of course, assuring that your payroll service bureau and its sales staff offer the most competitive products and sought-after solutions available is critical. Call 866-248-9865 to speak with an Apex HCM representative today or request a demo online.