Yeah, ActionCOACHknew this already but it is great to see someone else recongize it.  According to American Express Forums, salespeople can benefit greatly from coaching.  Linda Richardson, a Wharton faculty member, talked with AE and suggested that they way sales people are trained need to change if they want to be successful.

“Salespeople are not needed for product knowledge anymore, so they need to be more prepared for strategic discussion,” says Richardson, who is also founder and executive chairwoman of Richardson, a global sales performance firm, and author of The New York Times bestseller, Perfect Selling (McGraw-Hill, 2008). “Salespeople are facing a sales environment that none of us ever faced before. And it’s taking a toll on morale.”

Below is an excerpt from the original article:

At one major tech company, she says, “We trained 400 front-line managers to be coaches.” The six-month training began with a one-week intensive course. “Then our trainers worked with each sales manager once a month on a 40-minute phone call to help them carry out coaching plans and to embed coaching into the culture.” The results were impressive: Job satisfaction improved as well as the retention rate of salespeople and managers. The company saw a 17 percent increase in sales year over year, and a 29 percent increase in earnings per share.

Richardson recently worked with a professional services firm where, she says, there are fewer deals than there were before the recession, and longer times to close. After training sales managers how to coach their sales teams, she says, “opportunities within the pipeline grew 195 percent. Targeted sales approach accounts have added $140 million in the pipeline in one year. They spent $1.4 million on the training and were able to attribute $23.7 million in new business to it.”

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