The average Sales Manager spends less than half their time coaching. The best-in-class benchmark is 75%. Think of it. Great sales managers spend 12 ½ hours more per week coaching than their average peers – assuming a 50 hour work week. Our research shows an unmistakable link between more coaching and better performance.
Why don’t Sales Managers spend more time with their teams? Here are some of the typical reasons:
1. Too Much Admin – We launched and reviewed over 6000 Sales Manager survey responses last year. The number one time strain is due to too much admin. Sales Manager are expected to generate an inordinate amount of reports. Coupled with a constant flow of leadership meetings, they have little time to coach.
2. Lack of Training – Amazingly enough, most sales managers haven’t been formally trained on how to coach. They basically learned how from their old sales manager. There are few companies that have dedicated sales manager training curriculums.
3. The Player/Coach – Often, Sales Managers are asked to manage a team as well as carry an individual quota. This is a very difficult task. Not many are good at both selling and managing at the same time.
4. Wrong Priorities – There are some Sales Managers who waste too much time on bottom performers. The great ones focus their attention on the B-players with the greatest potential of being A-players. And they ignore the C-players.
With all the demands placed on Sales Managers, a new approach has emerged: Micro-Coaching.
Is your team’s performance waning? Are the reps lacking motivation? It’s probably a lack of good, focused coaching. Download the Micro-Coaching Toolkit here and turn the 2nd half of the year around.
What is Micro-Coaching? Micro-coaching is a focused coaching approach that is centered on a single opportunity.
What does it mean to conduct Micro-Coaching sessions? It means that the sales rep and sales leader are aligned on all the key components of an opportunity.
Why implement Micro-Coaching?
- Agile – iterative approach that allows for the highest priority items to be addressed.
- Targeted – shorter, higher frequency sessions vs. longer, less frequent sessions.
- Visibility – greater visibility into current opportunities the sales rep is working on.
Components of Micro-Coaching
There are three components to micro-coaching:
- The Opportunity
- Does the opportunity align with your Ideal Company profile?
- What’s the deal size?
- What triggered the buying process?
- The Buyer
- Review the buyer persona
- Where is the buyer in the Buying Process? Early, middle or late?
- What is the buyer asking that tells us where they are in the buying timeline?
- The Sales Rep
- What stage in the Sales process are they?
- What was the output of the last major interaction?
- When is the next scheduled interaction?
- What is the goal of the next interaction?
Format to Micro-Coaching Session
A micro-coaching session typically has five steps:
- Determine Coaching Opportunity – Determine which opportunity to review that would yield the best results.
- Compile Key Information – The rep gathers all information specific to opportunity, buyer and strategic sales activities.
- Conduct Session – Conduct micro-coaching session. Your focus should be on the Opportunity/Buyer/Sales Rep questions above.
- Assign Next Steps – Leave the conversation with a clear list of action items that the rep (and where applicable, you) need to be spending their time.
- Follow-Up – Set a time prior to the next major interaction with the prospect to review the opportunity and ensure action items have been completed.
Micro-coaching sessions should happen as-needed based on the type of opportunities. But as a rule of thumb, shoot for three micro-coaching sessions per week per rep. Each session should be no longer than 30 minutes.
If you cannot do the sessions face-to-face, use an online collaboration tool like Go-To-Meeting or TeamViewer. You want the ability to review in real time the sales aids, notes, and call plans. I also suggest to use video when possible. Nothing beats looking your team member in the eyes when reviewing an opportunity or output of a sales call.
Call To Action: If you are struggling to motivate your team or increase performance, try micro-coaching. Most Sales Managers are time-starved. So scheduling formal 90 minute one-on-ones is difficult and sporadic. Micro-coaching allows you to be agile and targeted in your approach. Bottom line is you need to make time for coaching your team. Sales managers who do, outperform those who don’t. Get started by downloading the Micro-Coaching Toolkit here.