As we’ve highlighted in a previous blog, the importance of coaching within sales is extremely important, in getting the most out of your sales teams.
It’s widely considered that sales managers do not spend enough time coaching. Based on the evidence of more than 100 sales managers now participating in our Executive Masters in Leading Sales Transformation programme, we would say that less than 10% of their time is spent coaching. As we’ve learned previously, many managers simply do not understand what coaching is and what it isn’t.
There is a world of difference between deal review coaching and coaching. One is geared to coaching an opportunity; the other is a mindset geared to coaching a person.
Deal-focused micro-management is a great promoter of supplier-centric behaviour and, in the extreme, manipulation. If the sales manager is wanting to effect a sales transformation in their team, having a framework and coaching approach geared to changing and shifting mindsets and values is required - one that is focused on the person.
Often managers ask the wrong questions of salespeople. So intent are they to manage the pipeline that their management time has nothing to do with exploring how their sales teams can sell more by being bolder in their ideas with customers.
The number one reason sales managers object to coaching
“I just don’t have the time”.
This is a typical objection to coaching from senior sales managers. They simply do not have the time.
A modern-day sales manager will have a lot on their plate. They are busy doing, telling, reporting, forecasting, visiting customers (or in today’s context, Zoom calls) – you name it, they are doing it.
This is even more prevalent, particularly now in times of Covid.
However, a great sales manager will be able to find the right balance in managing and coaching.
The likelihood of coaching leading up to the last day of the financial year is probably the wrong time for coaching. The pressure will be on everyone to hit their targets before the year ends. The focus will not be on how they can improve, more so on what they can do to ensure they close their deals before time runs out.
On the other hand, there may be a better opportunity for coaching at the start of the year or the beginning of a new quarter. If a sales manager notices repeatable behaviours or topics that continue to occur e.g., struggling on deal qualification, then this is a perfect coaching opportunity. A short 10-minute coaching conversation can make all the difference in improving that salesperson’s performance.
Moreover, the ability to manage in a coaching style and not a “telling” style will have a great impact on the way your salespeople are performing perform. You may currently be spending a lot of your time ‘telling’ your sales team what to do and as a result, you become even busier, because you keep having to tell them or your team the same thing repeatedly. In the end, there is no real change and as a result, nothing shifts.
Remember, research from Gartner has found that employees who report to effective manager coaches are 40% more engaged and display 38% more willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. The overhead on a leader or a manager dramatically reduces and therefore has more time to be effective in other areas of their role.
If you are looking for a way to coach to the mindsets that Consalia has based its Sales Business School around, then make sure you download our coaching checklist. This free resource serves as a simple tool that sales managers can use when observing how their sales teams interact with customers.
Keep the Sales values and mindsets at the top of your mind when observing sales conversations in action and you will be one step closer to becoming a great sales coach.