Life Sciences

Maximizing Life Sciences Sales Performance: Beyond Systems & Processes

Written By: Performance Development Group

June 13, 2023 – 7 min read

Life sciences companies are embracing sales enablement technologies, data, systems, and processes, all in the name of boosting individual and team performance. But are these investments really paying off? The data seem to tell a different story. According to Forbes, the average salespeople spend only 36% of their time actually selling, and what’s more alarming is that just 24.7% of sales reps reach their targets.

It’s evident that tools, technologies, and data have their value in enhancing performance, but they can only take your team so far. To truly help your sales team soar, it’s time to embrace a more well-rounded approach. Here are a few ways to get your sales team performing at a higher level.

Create a Coaching Culture

What does it mean to have a coaching culture? It means that coaching is a critical aspect of how leaders and managers develop their teams. It helps instill shared values, align goals, and increase performance. Sales coaching should be both intentional and in-the-moment, and include top-down, bottom-up, and peer-to-peer approaches.

Intentional coaching helps ensure that the coaching process is purposeful, aligned with the organization’s objectives, and targeted toward specific outcomes.

Making sales coaching intentional and in-the-moment are both important because they each play a different role in supporting sales performance and driving growth.

Intentional Coaching

Intentional coaching is about planning and setting goals for the coaching process. It involves defining your coaching objectives, identifying your metrics for success, and developing a plan to achieve those goals. Intentional coaching helps ensure that the coaching process is purposeful, aligned with the organization’s objectives, and targeted toward specific outcomes. It also helps to establish a structure and accountability for coaching, making it more likely that the coaching process will be successful.

In-the-moment Coaching

In-the-moment coaching is about providing coaching feedback and support in real-time, as situations arise. It involves observing interactions, identifying areas for improvement, and providing immediate feedback and guidance to help salespeople improve their performance. In-the-moment coaching is important because it helps reps improve quickly. In addition, it provides opportunities for salespeople to learn from their mistakes, adjust their approach, and make improvements on the spot.

Top-Down, Bottom-Up, and Peer-to-Peer Coaching

While coaching is often seen as a top-down activity, it’s also important to recognize the value of bottom-up and peer-to-peer coaching. Encouraging bottom-up coaching allows employees to share their unique insights and expertise with their supervisors, giving leaders fresh perspectives and helping them enhance their management skills. Similarly, peer-to-peer coaching cultivates a collaborative and supportive environment where team members can learn from each other’s experiences, exchange best practices, and grow their skills together.

By adopting this inclusive and multi-directional approach to coaching, organizations can empower every individual and foster a culture of continuous growth and development.

Reevaluate Your Systems

If your sales tech stack and processes are creating bottlenecks, miscommunications, and interruptions in workflow, it’s working against you. Tools and processes are intended to streamline your sales team’s tasks and activities. Simply having access to the latest technology is not enough to guarantee success. The key lies in operationalizing and sustaining the behaviors needed to effectively to increase performance.

Simply having access to the latest technology is not enough to guarantee success. The key lies in operationalizing and sustaining the behaviors needed to effectively to increase performance.

Here are some ways to help you get the most out of your systems and processes.

Provide education and training

To leverage the full potential of any technology, users must first develop a comprehensive understanding of its capabilities and limitations and know how to best leverage it for productivity and efficiency. To maximize knowledge retention, learning is best consumed at the moment of need and integrated into the flow of work.

Track and apply the right data

Tracking and applying the right data means identifying, monitoring, and utilizing the most relevant and valuable information to make informed decisions, optimize strategies, and drive growth.

Connect leading and lagging indicators

Leading indicators are predictive metrics that help forecast future performance, while lagging indicators are historical metrics that provide a retrospective view of past performance. The connection between leading and lagging indicators is that they work together to give a complete picture of performance.

Leading indicators provide insight into the current state of the organization and help identify areas for improvement. In contrast, lagging indicators show how well the organization has performed in the past and provide a benchmark against which to measure progress.

Collect efficiency data

Track your team’s activity to find opportunities to make them more efficient. If your team is spending a limited time selling, find out where their time is going and how to empower them to spend more time in the field.

Simplify processes

Sales systems can be complex. When you simplify processes, you create a straight line to increased performance and productivity, reduced ambiguity and guesswork, and more time on tasks that truly matter. Overall, simplicity leads to a more efficient and effective sales team, which ultimately results in increased revenue for the business.

Know How to Motivate

Motivation comes from empathy and understanding what it means to engage. For some, money is a motivator. For others, motivation comes from a sense of fulfillment, and no matter how much commission is available to them, they won’t feel any more motivated to earn it.  

Because motivation looks different for every individual, sales leaders should tailor their coaching approach to get the most from every person on their team.  

As a sales leader, here are the ways to identify what motivates your team members: 

  • Observe their behavior, noting their interests and what excites them 
  • Review their past performance 
  • Solicit feedback from others 
  • Conduct an assessment 

Once you’ve identified what motivates your sales reps, the next step is to build it into your coaching. Here are some ways you can use motivation to drive higher performance:  

Offer incentives: Offer a financial reward for achieving specific sales goals or targets, such as bonuses, commissions, or other performance-based incentives. Incentives are powerful motivators for helping reps achieve targets more consistently. 

Provide recognition and praise: Recognize and acknowledge successes through public praise or awards. This can help boost confidence and motivation to continue achieving success. 

Provide career growth opportunities: Opportunities, such as through professional development programs or promotions, can give a sense of purpose and help set a clear path for future growth within the organization. 

Build autonomy and flexibility: Allow people the freedom to manage their own schedules and selling approach. This can increase their sense of ownership over their work and enable them to work in a way that suits their individual strengths and preferences. 

Foster team building and camaraderie: Foster a positive team culture by creating opportunities to bond and collaborate, such as through team-building or social events. Team building helps create a supportive and collaborative work environment that encourages everyone to perform at their best.

Provide healthy competition: While competition can be a motivating factor for some salespeople, it’s important to tread very carefully because it can often backfire – leading to stress, burnout, and even unethical behavior. When using this approach, balance competition with collaboration by encouraging reps to share strategies and best practices that work for them and recognize and reward individual and team successes.

Summing it Up

The most successful life sciences sales teams aren’t manufactured by having them use the latest and greatest systems and technologies. In fact, oftentimes, these systems have quite the opposite effect – creating bottlenecks to the flow of work. By leveraging personalized coaching and motivation techniques, your sales team will reward you with improved engagement, lower turnover rates, and higher levels of achievement.

Discover more ways to transform your field force. Download our free guide: Field Force Transformation: Ultimate Guide for Life Sciences Sales Teams

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