Cringe-worthy moment. I watched a role play recently where the rep called his boss, who was playing the buyer, by the wrong name. And then he did it again. 

The discomfort, even over a recorded Zoom, was palatable, like watching the most uncomfortable episode of The Office. As it turns out, he was doing it on purpose to make a point about mismarketing. 

To quote: “The question now is are they disconnecting?”

It was a bold move, and not one that everyone could pull off. I share this story because it demonstrates this crucial point:

—->  Just say NO to one-size-fits-all coaching!

As a sales manager, you have to recognize each salesperson’s strengths and weaknesses is critical for building a high-performing team. 

What this rep was trying out was Level 401 stuff. What this rep needs in terms of skills development and coaching is way different than a rep who is less experienced and confident.

It might seem more ‘scalable,’ but a one-size-fits-all approach misses the team’s diverse skills, experiences and challenges and as such, hinders growth and overall performance.

But developing and executing plans that are tailored to each individual can be very difficult. 

  • How do we build an individualized plan?
  • How do we do this for everyone on our team?
  • How do we know when it’s working or not?

Here’s a 6-step guide that might help:

  1. Assessment and Goal Setting:

Identify each salesperson’s strengths, areas for improvement, and personal goals. Collaboratively set goals that align with individual aspirations and team objectives.  

  1. Tailored Development Plans:

Build personalized development plans quarterly. Focus on enhancing strengths while addressing 1-2 specific challenges. These plans can include targeted training, role-playing exercises, and skill-building activities. 

  1. Adapt:

Recognize that different individuals respond to different coaching styles. Some may thrive with hands-on guidance, while others prefer a more independent approach. Adapt your approach accordingly.

  1. Use Data:

Leverage data and analytics to gain insights into individual performance. Identify patterns, trends, and areas that require intervention. Use these insights to adjust and tailor accordingly.

  1. Mentoring and Peer Learning:

Encourage peer-to-peer learning and mentorship within the team. Pair individuals based on complementary strengths and areas of expertise. Foster collaborative and peer learning.

  1. Recognition:

Celebrate individual achievements and milestones. Recognizing and rewarding each team member’s progress makes the medicine go down.

Building development plans that reflect the strengths and weaknesses of each person requires more effort in the beginning, but the results are worth it – increased sales performance, improved employee engagement. And when we ask: “Are we connecting?” We can say with confidence that we know the answer.