Statistics show that a sales manager should spend 75% of their time coaching. You might be one of the few managers that fall under this category. Unfortunately, your results do not reflect the effort you put into your team. Your team is consistently underperforming. The reality is that quality of coaching matters as well. Think of it as a sales person prospecting. You can have tons of activity however results are the only thing that matters. This problem can lead to missing the number and even losing your job.
This post is about how to improve the quality of your sales coaching. Section 4 of SBI’s Annual Research Report asks this question, “What sales training programs do we need that develop the competencies of the team?” This question is directed towards reps and managers.
There are 3 key components to quality coaching:
- Prepare- The preparation that takes place in order to have a successful coaching interaction.
- Coach- Executing the actual coaching interaction effectively.
- Summarize- Summarize results, observations and feedback to drive the right behaviors.
Today we will specifically focus on Preparation. You can find out more about this topic in SBI’s Annual Research Report. We will review the difference between bad and good coaching preparation.
- Spray and Pray Coaching – A pitfall most managers make is in the type of coaching they provide. For example applying coaching around one specific skill gap across the team. This type of approach might be efficient however not very effective. Reps have different strengths and weaknesses. You have to customize your coaching.
- Not a Priority – Let’s face it, you are strapped for time. You have meeting after meeting. Reports to fill out and fires to put out. This should not be an excuse. Plan ahead and protect the time with your people. Same way you would protect time with a customer.
- Too Much Talking – This happens often. A manager has been out of the field and misses the thrill of the hunt. Maybe it is missing the relationships you had with customers. The output is to take over a situation. This is a quick way to lose your people.
- Design – Coaching program and goals. You want to focus on base-lining competencies while defining the behavior you want change.
- Identify – Coaching relationships. Your team has an array of A, B, and C players. You have to decide how much time you allocate to each person. You also have to distinguish what vehicle you will use to coach. Will it be virtual, face to face, a field day, etc.?
- Cadence – Define interaction frequency, length, and type. Competency and performance gap will help determine your cadence.
- Communicate – Inform team of coaching structure and next steps. You have to let them know what to expect. These are things you expect, as well as things they can expect from you.
- Initiate – Hold introductory meetings. During this step, you want to ensure you customize the experience for the rep. You are also setting the environment for the first time. Do not get into the business right away. Remember you are both working out the kinks. Get to know your people and how to get the most out of them.
As sales manager, you are expected to prepare your reps to succeed. Provide the resources, tools, and development they need to achieve their objectives. Unfortunately, many managers have little or no idea how to coach effectively. It is not your fault. This has to be learned and with the proper preparation, you can get better. Download SBI’s Annual Research Report to learn more.