With the baseball season in full swing, it was no surprise to me that an article came across my desk on baseball coaching, and managing the strengths and weaknesses of players. I found it apropos that I was working on an article that stressed the importance of sales managers to coach their sales people to get better results.

In baseball, the manager has many statistics; batting average against the team, on base percentage against opposing pitchers, runs batted in, etc. All of which they (the manager) use to coach and make decisions during practice and the course of the game. They understand the strengths and weaknesses of every player and coach and manage to improve their game.

Behavioral research suggests that this most basic principle, coaching, works across industries and that the most effective salespeople are those who understand their actions and understand their strengths and weaknesses and are working to get better.

Increasing awareness of the significant impact of sales coaching is really a new way of thinking for most companies. The coaching of sales individuals and leveraging the experiences of existing talent to improve the performance of the entire sales organization has now shifted from a something we should do when we get time to a necessity.

With the right approach to coaching, management can examine the required skills that need to be sharpened and deliver the results rather than just focusing on the state of the pipeline or the end of the month's results.

To get real benefit from coaching, technology must be used. No different than automating the customer side of the business with tools to manage contacts and activity. Tools are necessary to manage the coaching process and it will save companies weeks and months of time as each coaching session and the score associated with the session can roll up to monthly, quarterly and annual reviews. When done, the chance of sales improving is dramatically increased.

Overall, any company can benefit from having a consistent process for understanding qualitative and quantitative metrics. Once understood and technology is put in place, coaching becomes a daily occurrence rather than an annual event. Improvement on leading indicators can now be tracked and coached on and a resulting increase in revenue is naturally evident.