What Stops Sales Managers from Coaching?

What Stops Sales Managers from Coaching?
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Do You Know What Stops Sales Managers from Coaching?

If you are a sales leader responsible for the performance of your sales team, you must first identify what stops sales managers from coaching.  Then you can systematically remove the big obstacles stopping sales managers from acting as effective sales coaches.

Why Sales Coaching Matters
You gotta’ love the picture — a graphic of the ideal sales coaching situation. Sales team members eagerly scrambling up the performance and learning curve encouraged by their supportive sales manager. You can easily extrapolate to the next frame where they achieve their sales quotas.

But is this anywhere near what happens in the real world?

People Say that Sales Coaching Is a Top Priority
Most sales organizations are convinced that sales coaching is a powerful key to unlocking the potential from any business sales training or solution selling training. In fact those surveyed by the Sales Management Association selected sales coaching as the top priority for sales managers. Our research shows that sales reps who receive frequent sales coaching outperform their peers 4-to-1.

It’s clear that sales coaching can have a significant impact on sales performance.  But…

Too Few Sales Managers Are Effective Coaches
We have observed that too few sales managers implement sales coaching in a way that makes sense — that truly contributes to profitable revenue growth and satisfied customers. Why? Because too many sales managers avoid coaching — even those who have received so-called sales coaching training.

What Stops Sales Managers from Coaching?
In our experience, here are the main reasons effective sales coaching does not happen on a consistent basis:

  1. Too Generic
    Sales managers have to juggle so many responsibilities. In addition to seeing that the team reaches sales goals, they often have their own book of business as a player-coach. Additionally, they most likely have too many administrative duties — filling out reports, providing forecasts, working with legal, running meetings, managing individual performance, defining sales territories, creating motivational (and fair) compensation packages, etc.

    Sales managers have little time to waste. So learning how to coach in general doesn’t give them the real-life focus they need.

    Ensure that any sales coaching training is specific to your sales strategy, your sales culture, and your sales team. To be effective, sales coaches must target the key sales activities and behaviors that are tied directly to sales performance for your unique situation.

  2. Too Complicated
    Sales managers with little time and sales team members with little patience need a simple, clear process that requires few steps. Too complex or time consuming a process will not be implemented.  Figure out what works best in your situation. Consider something as straightforward as this 4-step methodology:

    (1) Observation
    The sales coach observes the solution seller in action

    (2) Reflection
    The sales coach and seller review together what went right and what could be improved

    (3) Teachable Moment
    The sales coach gives pointers for improvement based upon the seller’s self-reflection and observations

    (4) Plan
    The sales coach and seller agree upon next steps

  3. Too Limited
    Sales managers should be able to coach their team in all sales activities. If they are trained to coach only around near-the-close sales negotiations, their sales team members who are unskilled in getting the meeting or discovery will never get that far in the sales process.  Make sure your sales coaches are well-equipped to coach through ALL the stages in the sales process.

The Bottom Line
For sales coaching to have the desired impact on sales performance be sure that your sales managers are trained to have real-world, targeted, effective coaching conversations.  Then create the sales culture where sales leaders have the time and opportunity to coach.  Lastly, make sure you include sales coaching in the performance management process to create accountability and transparency.

To learn more about how to combat what stops sales managers from coaching, download The Truth About the Biggest Sales Coaching Mistakes

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