Building a Coaching Culture Pt. 1 - Why You Need One

This series will help you identify what coaching culture looks like and how to start, build, and maintain one that drives ROI for your organization.

All sales leaders know they should be actively coaching their reps, but when your day consists of running from meeting to meeting and call to call it’s easy to put coaching on the back burner. When a consistent coaching program isn’t built into your sales culture, rep performance can stagnate–leading to unhappy reps and little growth.

A well built and implemented coaching process can increase revenue, reduce rep attrition by 20%, and produce more top performers on your teams. Building a coaching culture has its challenges, but the ROI makes it a worthy investment.

Why Building A Coaching Culture is a Must

Culture is what people do when no one is watching. Building a coaching culture creates an environment where everyone from the sales floor to the executive suite embraces and participates in the coaching process. You can implement coaching at your organization and expect good results, but the greatest ROI comes from making coaching a pillar of your organization’s culture.

Every sales leader struggles with consistency and accountability. Creating a coaching culture helps relieve some of those struggles because it makes everyone accountable for coaching, not just managers and team leaders. Defining the coaching process also brings a level of consistent improvement to your sales team.

Having a coaching program will improve retention rates and directly impact revenue. According to The Bridge Group the average tenure of a sales rep is just 1.4 years. For companies with ramp times upwards of six month, this means reps are only fully productive for 2/3rds of their time at a company. When you regularly coach your reps, they get better faster, which means shorter ramp times and ultimately more value from your reps.

Sales Training is Not the Same as a Coaching Culture

Sales training is effective but it’s an uphill battle against the forgetting curve. Even if you hold training regularly, a whopping 87% of the information will be forgotten within 30 days.

The other inherent problem with sales training is that no two programs are the same. In theory, it’s not a big issue so long as managers are training their reps properly. In reality, it can create a muddied idea of what makes a “good” call from manager to manager. Creating a coaching culture reinforces training and creates consistency from team to team and rep to rep.

Sales managers dicussing their coaching program

Where Do We Even Start?

Before you start building the foundation for your coaching culture, you need to remember that it will not happen overnight. Even if you make coaching mandatory, getting everyone on board with it takes time. With that in mind, here are the materials you need to create a strong foundation for a culture of coaching:

1. Pain Points of Your Current Culture

Before you begin constructing your coaching culture, you need to identify and understand the pain points of the current culture. Has accountability been pushed to the wayside? Do certain managers or reps do their own thing which produces results but doesn’t follow the coaching processes you set? When you have these pain points at hand, you’ll have a good idea of where the biggest challenges will be in the transition process.

2. Culture Champions

These are your brand cheerleaders who embrace and embody your organization’s core values and culture. They are the first ones to get on board with new technology, new sales processes, and new team members. Know who these culture champions are, ask them for their input, and make them the first part of the coaching program roll-out.

3. Your Reason for Building a Culture of Coaching

“Because” works 93% of the time, but before you start creating a coaching culture, you need to identify the motivating factors behind it. Are you looking to tie coaching to ROI and revenue? Is reducing ramp time important? Do you want to improve rep retention rates? Pick two or three things you’d like to improve with your new coaching process.

4. An Understanding of Your Managers’ ‘Type’

There are four core types of sales managers and each one coaches differently. To ensure you create the right environment for a coaching culture, you need to make sure your managers know how to effectively coach their reps. Certain manager types will need to adjust how the coach and support their team for it to have an impact.

These ingredients will create a strong foundation for you to begin building your coaching culture.

Read Building a Coaching Culture Part 2: First Steps to Implementation »