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The 3 Stages of Sales Coaching Maturity

4 min read
May 10, 2018

By definition, coaching is a step beyond training. Coaching can have a variety of standards in different organizations, but we can all agree that creating a culture of coaching doesn’t happen overnight.  There are stages every organization goes through to reach the promised land.

This infographic is a high-level view of the 3 Stages of Sales Coaching Maturity: Present, Strategic, and World-Class.

Need more detail?  Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a more depth explanation of each phase.

1. Present

The reality: The new kid has a badge, a machine, and knows where the restroom is.

How is it defined? The aim is to be centralized, but we’re still in order-taking mode.

Is there buy-in? We understand coaching is a “best practice,” but it’s not seen as attainable… yet.

Where’s the owner? The onus is on us (ha ha ha).  Seriously though.  It’s left up to the sales manager.

General approach: Coaching is still basic training.  It’s often limited to onboarding and critical performance improvement needs.

In practice: No formal coaching process is defined.  Help is (hopefully) provided as needed, usually when there’s already a noticeable problem.

Technology: We’re too early stage to think about a tech stack for coaching.

Are we managers or coaches? Sales managers aren’t given guidance on how to be effective coaches.

ROI: With no monitoring or measurement in place, we have no idea what the return on investment is.

2. Strategic

The reality: Data! We have coaching data!

How is it defined? There are some formalized, metrics-based coaching systems in place.

Is there buy-in? Everyone from the CEO to the brand new sales rep believes in the inherent value of coaching.

Where’s the owner? Sales leaders hold managers accountable for outcomes.  Managers are expected to implement coaching strategies with goals attached.

General approach: Decisions are made using data, rather than intuition or relying on sales reps to raise their hand.  Coaching outcomes are viewed holistically to identify correlations and translated to benefit the sales organization as a whole.

In practice: Development programs are tailored using general criteria such as role, tenure, or organizational needs.

Technology: Sales coaching technology is leveraged to increase the effectiveness of coaching.

Are we managers or coaches? Sales managers are provided some formal training on coaching skills.

ROI: Sales leaders will be able (and expected) to report on the value coaching activities add to the business.

3. World-Class

The reality: If coaching were an Olympic event, we’d win gold.

How is it defined? Coaching is a dedicated function and is viewed as a strategic advantage in this modern sales organization.

Is there buy-in?  We’ve moved beyond belief to advocacy.  From the C-suites to the newest reps, everyone expects top-notch in coaching.

Where’s the owner? Coaching has key stakeholders throughout the organization. There is a sales development function that works in partnership with sales leadership.

General approach: Coaching expands beyond traditional performance metrics and is aligned to support organizational strategy and goals.

In practice: Qualitative and quantitative data is leveraged to build programs tailored to specific sales reps. Coaching is viewed as a continuous activity rather than an event.

Technology: Sales coaching technology is used extensively to track the most impactful metrics and maximize performance. Sales operations works closely with sales leaders to optimize coaching activities.

Are we managers or coaches? Sales managers are not only required to but want to coach.  Performance measurement includes coaching outcomes. The organization provides formal training on coaching effectiveness.

ROI: Regular reviews are conducted to calibrate sales coaching efforts and outcomes.

Still have a ways to go?  Don’t sweat it.  The concept of coaching in the workforce is still relatively new.  Becoming a world-class coaching organization isn’t easy. In fact, many sales organizations won’t ever make it to this stage of maturity.  That doesn’t mean we stop shooting for the moon.  Isn’t there a quote about that?

Looking for specific ways to move into coaching?  Grab a free copy of our latest eBook, Effective Sales Coaching.How to leverage technology for effective sales coaching