In my online sales management programs, I tell sales managers that they should spend at least 20% of their time—8 hours a week—coaching their salespeople. The predictable reactions are a mix of incredulity (“Where am I going to find that kind of time?”) and skepticism (“My salespeople get a lot of training. How is that much coaching going to help?”).
I’ve talked about how to take control of your calendar in other blogs; here, let me address the why of sales coaching—and how it can improve not only the results your team produces but your life as a sales manager. Let me start by defining a sales coaching culture.
What is a sales coaching culture?
A sales coaching culture is evident in organizations where sales departments meet three criteria:
- They define the different types of coaching that sales managers should do.
- They train sales managers on these approaches. That is, managers are not left to just figure it out on their own.
- Frequent coaching (daily or at least weekly) is a job requirement for sales managers.
When these factors are present, sales managers are proactive in making coaching appointments with their team members. They use these appointments to identify skill deficiencies and work to fill those gaps.
The payoff is clear. According to a recent study by CSO Insights, organizations that emphasized regular sales coaching had significantly higher win rates and quota attainment compared to organizations that do not emphasize coaching.
How this culture benefits sales managers
Obviously, producing better sales results is a key benefit for sales managers working in organizations that emphasize coaching. But I’ve found that the quality of life for sales managers is also much better in these organizations. Here are some examples:
Less fire-fighting: Through sales coaching, you can help reinforce your company’s sales methodology with your sales people and help them learn how to do more problem-solving on their own. As a result, you as a sales manager get involved in less fire-fighting, which not only reduces stress but frees up time on your calendar.
Deeper connections with team members; greater retention: Whether your sales team works primarily in-office or remotely, regular sales coaching is the best way to demonstrate that your organization is committed to support their performance and professional growth. That creates stronger loyalty and can help improve retention of salespeople—which means you get to spend less time interviewing and onboarding!
Better understanding of how to do the job of sales management effectively
Sales managers across the board believe it’s part of their job to support their sales team. But what support do they receive as sales managers?
Several years ago, the Sales Management Association published a report on sales manager training that found 70% of sales managers were not receiving the training needed to excel in the job. I find that statistic appalling!
In contrast, one of the hallmarks of a company with a sales coaching culture is that sales managers are trained how to do their jobs well. This training is typically not restricted to how to do effective coaching, though that is critical. It should also include how to control their time (so they have more time for coaching), how to assess rep performance and increase accountability, why it’s important to link sales process (funnel) coaching to customer buying behavior—and, most importantly, how to make the difficult transition from “selling” to “managing salespeople.”
Providing that kind of background for sales managers helps them thrive on the job—generating better sales results with more predictability and less stress. What’s not to like?
If you’re motivated to create your company’s sales coaching culture you need a high-quality sales manager training course to launch your initiative. You need a program such as ours that provides short, digestible lessons delivered at your desired pace, with zero disruption to sales managers’ other priorities. A program that provides live remote facilitation by the author.
To receive a 1-sheet Course Description of our program, The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness, contact us and request, “Course description please!”