Sales coaching is a critical tactic that helps organizations improve individual performance and achieve business goals. Coaching is not only a helpful tool in terms of talent development, it also has a major impact on overall business performance. In fact, a survey from the Sales Management Association found that managers view sales coaching as the most impactful sales effectiveness investment, ranking it higher than other initiatives such as training, best practice sharing, and incentive redesign.
To be effective, however, sales coaching programs must provide a clear definition of what sales coaching is, and what the organization’s expectations and goals are for all those involved in the program. In addition to establishing objectives, programs must emphasize accountability and measurement. In other words, both management and sales reps must be held accountable during coaching programs. While programs should coordinate goals and expectations around long-term expectations, activities is what can most easily be managed.
Implementing an AOR (activities, objectives, results) accountability framework enables sales teams to do just this.
AOR is the vehicle that helps sales reps accelerate their objectives by understanding the impact of their activity efforts. This intuitive, sales-specific framework is tactical, familiar, and applicable. The more that reps can see the impact they’re making, the more likely your (and their) goals, are to become a reality. The cause-and-effect coaching model helps sales managers and reps model effective behavior, assess current performance, and align their future activities with desired performance.
To better illustrate the components of AOR, let’s break down each piece of the puzzle.
- Activities are the foundation of this methodology. These are the factors that individual sales reps can control, such as emails sent, dials made, amount of time spent on call plans, and amount of time spent on account planning. When executed properly, these individual activities should yield a trackable, quantifiable action.
- Objectives are actions your team can partially impact. While individual sales reps are involved in the process, they can only impact part of its outcome. For example, if a rep is making a call, its outcome depends on whether a decision-maker answers. Or if they’re emailing a prospect, the ultimate indicator is whether it’s opened or not.
- Results are ultimate outcomes, such as pipeline and closed business. The takeaway is that sales managers can influence the bottom of the pyramid, but not the top.
Ensuring that AOR is SMART
As a sales manager, it’s essential to consistently ask yourself what daily activities and objectives you should accomplish to make your team’s goals and results a reality. To ensure that you and your team are on the same page, you must make sure your activities, objectives, and results are written down, transparent, and obtainable.
Using the SMART method helps gauge the feasibility of your AOR accountability system:
- Specific – What activity levels are necessary to accomplish the objectives and results?
- Measurable – How will you measure activity levels? Successful teams make sense of big data to measure day-to-day operations. This helps ensure your team is performing to the best of its capability.
- Achievable – Are activity levels achievable? Unrealistic levels will not happen.
- Relevant – Are activities and objectives driving desired results?
- Timely – Are your goals linked to a particular time frame?
AOR enables teams to monitor daily activities and objectives, while still coaching to goals and results a reality. By tracking a sales team’s current performance, managers can allocate resources to actionable activities, like calling during specific times or responding within a specific window.
By pairing AOR and SMART techniques, coaching ensures that everyone involved is held accountable to results. Not only does this create a nurturing environment for success, it ensures that goals and expectations are achievable.
Outsourcing Your Sales Needs
Training and onboarding the top sales talent is the first step in ensuring enduring sale success. Outsourced teams enable your organization to consistently hit even the most aggressive sales goals. By providing consistent coaching within a proven accountability framework, outsourced teams ensure that reps are performing to the best of their ability.
Ultimately, outsourced teams enable organizations to extend coverage into new markets, verticals, and channels with fully enabled teams that integrate within your sales culture, in a fraction of the time it takes to do this internally.