Introduction:

A few episodes ago we discussed the 5 sales meetings every manager needs to master. Today we cover the sales coaching meeting. The cold hard facts surrounding it, the primary responsibility of the sales coach, and the skills needed to successfully execute a sales coaching plan. If you have any further questions about sales coaching sign up for a free 30 minute consultation!

 

What we’re going to cover:

  • Cold hard facts.
  • Primary responsibility.
  • Coaching equals success.
  • Coaching skills.
  • Coaching plan.

 

 

Cold hard facts.

It takes the average sales representative 1 year to produce.

“Now I’m not a big believer in that, but that’s pretty much what we see nationally and internationally. I would say that there’s ways around that through onboarding you can reduce that number and the cost is high. But that’s what we’re dealing with in today’s world.”

 

Poor coaching results in poor results.

“If you don’t do any sales coaching at all the results aren’t going to be great. And I know there are some of you out there that are probably saying hey I don’t coach and my top reps are killing it. My response to that is fine what is your middle of the road reps? What are they doing? And your top reps could they be better? Someone’s producing 125% what’s wrong with trying to get that to 150%?

That’s sales coaching. We’re not talking about pressure or raising quota or brow beating them. I’m talking about sales coaching. And at the higher levels that kind of sales coaching is what I call value added. I’m value added to you, you’re really good at what you do, I’m here to support your effort and help you get even better.”

 

Training reinforcement equals higher revenue and profit. 

“They don’t retain what they’re trained on because they’re not coached on it. I think a fully engaged sales manager in a training class that participates at a high level is important.

Back in the day we brought training folks in and I remember all the managers going through training class. Competing with the presentation and the roles plays and stuff like that. And we followed the same rules. The reinforcement happens with sales coaching, so if you don’t reinforce it you’re not going to drive those numbers up because they’re not going to retain what they’ve learned.”
 

Primary responsibility.

“What is your primary responsibility as a manager? To coach. You’re not there to close business or take over calls, you’re not there to babysit, you’re responsible for the development and growth of your team. And that happens when you’re sales coaching.”

“That happens when you’re working to help people understand the challenges of their customers, understand how to respond, learn how to get better at what they do to drive more business. A good coach understands that.”

 

You’re not there to close business . Think about it like this:

“When was the last time you saw an NFL, coach run out on the field and replace their quarterback? Or a baseball manager walk out to the mound, take the ball from the pitcher, and start pitching themselves? They don’t do that. The role is pretty clear. They need to win. We need to find a way to get this group of people to hit their maximum capacity and then some. All together at the same time that results in a win.”
 

It’s the same here.

“Your job is to win. ‘Well john you said your job is to win, why can’t I close the business?’ Because you can’t win closing everybody’s business.

And most of the time if you’re closing business you’re at the bottom, you’re bottom feeding, you’re working with your least capable salespeople. When maybe what they need is some better sales coaching.”
 

Coaching equals success.

Fireman.

“If you have a management structure that put you in a position where you’re consistently putting out fires and running to meetings and making decisions it’s going to be hard to coach because your time is eaten up by the crazy stuff. So, at some point you have to get people to do things on their own.”
 

Push pull of management.

“I’m walking away from those little things that eat up my time that  I could be spending doing valuable things. You’re putting out fires with administration at 9:00 in the morning on Monday because they need this thing done now and you have reps you need to meet with and coach. How can you get that done? How can you do it and still be the fireman? How can you do that? It’s that push pull management.”

 

No surprises.

“So, here’s what I’m going to tell you, no surprises with your team. You don’t just show up and say I’m going to coach. Plan your events.

It’s not a gotcha’ moment. It’s a development moment, it’s an opportunity to grow, it’s an opportunity to teach them and you need to treat it at that. Mutual respect. They need to get something out of it, you need to get something out of it, so avoid a push pull of management. Look at your activities and decide what works here and what doesn’t work.”
 

Sales Coaching skills.

Commit to coaching.

“If you want to get better at the skill, commit to it, and don’t worry about making mistakes, it’s OK. It’s a mutual respect, respect them they respect you, they’re going to forgive a mistake or two. As long as you’re supporting them and you’re continuing to move forward and you’re helping, you’re going to be fine.”

 

Spend time with rep.

“But you need to spend time with them to get to know them not only from a personal level but from a professional level.”

 

Know strengths and weaknesses.

“We use the candidate assessment from objective management group. Once you hire that person you can convert that assessment into a full-blown sales rep assessment. It’s like 30 pages of really good data and I can tell you, you can go back after months if you have a problem with something, look at the assessment, and go oh yes that’s why.

I want you to read that all the time. Highlight and understand where they are in their skill sets. And as you go through the pipeline and forecast meetings strengths and weaknesses will bubble to the surface. You want to help them leverage those strengths and improve those weaknesses.”
 

Customized program.

“Begin to hone your sales coaching skills, build yourself a customized program. It’s not something that’s so completely unique that your company is the only company on the planet that does it. What I’m saying is, if you spend time on it, and focus time on it, and build a program, and stick to it, you’re going to have success. It’s that simple.”
 

Coaching plan.

Serious look at how you spend your time today.

“Journal your week for a few weeks. Right now, open your notepad or whatever you use and document every minute of the day. I mean every minute. Write it down. Chart it out. I think what you’re going to find is a lot of busy work. If you don’t have the time to coach your reps, go out in the field with them you need to look at how you’re spending your time.”

 

Adjust priorities.

“Then take out the red pen. I would suggest you take out the red pen and you start redlining the stuff that’s not important and you start moving it into buckets.”

So, look at how you spend your day in house time vs sales rep time. If it’s imbalanced change. Change and adjust your priorities.”

 

Senior management buy in.

“Put your plan in writing and make sure you get senior management buy in. Make sure your boss understands, if you’re a manager or if you’re a VP make sure they understand your time is better spent coaching your people to do a better job. And if they don’t want to ride with you on that ask for 6-8 months to work on it. It’ll work. Trust me your numbers will go up.  Even if you’re really bad at it in the beginning.”

 

Keep Filling The Funnel

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover.  You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at jshea@alignment-group.com.  And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.

 

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