In previous podcasts we’ve gone into great detail on the benefits of a sales coaching program for your sales team. So, if we know all these wonderful benefits why aren’t sales managers coaching? Today on the funnel we discuss exactly what holds people back from sales coaching. As always if you have any questions feel free to schedule a FREE 30 minute consultation and i’ll do my best to help you in any way I can.
What we’re going to cover:
- No time.
- Don’t know how.
- Selling is the priority.
Smart phone addiction.
“I will tell you this from someone who uses a smartphone all the time my suggestion would be to put the smartphone down. Yes, it’s great to have updates and information at your fingertips, notifications at a moment’s notice, Facebook, Instagram. But from a business perspective, it’s emails, it’s texts, it’s phone calls, and where does it end?”
“Focus on your team, focus on the task at hand. I’m not going to tell you to get rid of the smartphone but I’ll tell you this, I turn it off in meetings. I turn it off and stick it in the bag and I don’t turn it back on until I leave the office, I don’t want the interruptions. But more importantly I want to focus on the task at hand.”
“I say this with all the love in my heart for folks that love to return emails right away. My suggestion would be to prioritize your emails and cut down on the immediate responses. You’re using email as a communication tool, I get that, but most emails don’t need to be replied to right away. The world will survive without that.”
“Text messaging is a great tool when you really need to get a hold of somebody. But I don’t look at text messages as a priority, some people do. My suggestion would be to put that away as well, you don’t need to respond to every text message, every problem, that comes your way. This is about a discipline, this is about owning technology instead of technology owning you.”
“I would suggest you write down all the meetings that you have on a weekly or monthly basis and start to cut back; determine what’s real and what’s not.”
“I think there are too many meetings. Often times meetings last a long time and they go in 50 different directions because they’re not managed properly. So how should it be done? You have an agenda, you stick to it, and the meetings over. There’s no 15-20 minutes of chit chat, there’s no rambling in 15 different directions, it’s getting things done, it’s productive.”
“A lot of times sales managers don’t have time because they’re spending an inordinate amount of time on internal problems. Everything from paperwork process, to bad salespeople, and again that stuff needs to get cut back.”
“How many of those customer problems can be resolved through somebody else in your organization? Maybe it’s a billing issue, a service issue, or something to that effect. How many customer problems can sales reps solve? Again, all of these things add up to eating up time.”
“I would sit down and I would keep a journal for a couple of weeks. I would do it for a month and write down every hour of every day what you did and why you did it and you will see a pattern begin to emerge. Then you can look at that and begin to cut things out of it.”
“There’s no program to measure sales coaching, right? It’s not measured. Success in the sales world from the top down is all about the number, hit the number everybody is fine, how you get there is up to you. I see that a lot and that’s not a winning culture. From a company perspective if you own the company and you have a sales manager in place then you’re at the mercy of how well that sales manager preforms. What I mean by that is you don’t have a program in place that promotes sales coaching. A culture of coaching is a winning culture.”
“So, if a good sales manager happens to leave your company and you have good programs in place, you can successfully replace them. So, it’s always sad to lose a good performer but that’s the reality of the world we live in. If you don’t have a program in place how can you replace them?”
“Every manager in this company is expected to coach. If there are no standards, or no program, you’re not measured on it, and no one really cares about it, it’s a problem and managers aren’t going to do it. Good ones will do it, good ones will grab it and say you know what this is how I can have long term success, this is how I can build my career. Other managers wont because 1. they have been trained on, 2. They haven’t been taught how to do it, so why would they?
“If there’s no program in place there’s no measurement, they’re not being graded on it per say, why should they care? So, it has to be a company thing.”
What is coaching?
“Sales coaching is in the moment. Sales coaching is the ground level, rolling up your sleeves, getting in the field with the troops and having the conversation.”
Post activity discussions.
“You want to have the post activity discussions, you want to be in the car with them or in the field with them, whatever you’re doing. If you’re managing an inbound rep that’s on the phone all the time you want to sit there and listen to the conversations and coach them through what just happened. You’re not inspecting how many calls they make, you’re not inspecting the deal, you’re having discussions around a specific scenario, and you’re coaching them through that.
How did this go? How did this particular meeting pan out for us? What went well, what didn’t? How would you handle this next time? What do you think about their response here? So, you’re asking them a lot of questions and then you’re helping guide them to the responses.
Inspection vs. Coaching.
“Inspection is not coaching, and coaching is not inspection. Of course, you’re going to inspect, of course you’re going to have pipeline meetings and conversations, and forecast meetings. You’re not there to inspect, you’re there to coach.”
“Don’t start picking apart the little nuances, you’re trying to coach them through success here. So, if you’re in that sales coaching moment stay there. Don’t confuse coaching with inspection.”
Don’t know how.
Never been taught.
“Sales managers don’t know how to coach and they don’t want to admit it. So, a lot of them who aren’t coaching, they don’t know how. That’s why they’re not doing it, they’ve never been taught how to coach by anyone including their manager and their manager probably wasn’t coached.”
“They have no program in place to point to. They have poor modeling, there’s no mentor, no manager prior to them, there’s no one to look to to coach.”
So what do you do in those situations?
“Spend some time and get some help for yourself. Don’t wait for the company to do it. So, if you don’t know how to coach, you’ve never been taught, there’s no program in place, you have a poor model or no mentor then find a way to get some coaching on that.”
“Don’t sit back and point the finger and say hey you know I don’t coach because I don’t know how and I’ve never been taught and there’s nothing I can do about it, that’s baloney. You can learn how to do that.”
Selling is the priority.
Get involved in big deals.
“Why? Because they were good salespeople most of them were pretty decent sales people and this is where they get their juice from It’s easier to get involved in a big deal, so that’s the priority.”
Get involved in reps deals.
“They get involved in the reps big deals, or the reps deals in the field. I know managers that had a team of reps that couldn’t close anything. The manager had to go out and close the deals, made them feel really good about themselves. It didn’t help!”
Long for the good old days.
“You need to decide what is it that you want to do. Yes, you’re surviving you’re hitting the number, but you’re not going to grow from a career perspective, it’s not sustainable. You can only do so much as a single person helping your team. And eventually? It works against you and your numbers start to drop and you’re in real trouble. So, selling shouldn’t be the priority here.”
“I think a lot of sales managers are afraid to do this. Yep, they’re afraid. It’s okay. They don’t have a lot of confidence in themselves that they can do this because they haven’t been taught or trained. They don’t know where to get started, they might make a mistake, what if I make a sales coaching mistake?”
“Oftentimes the managers are afraid of the push back that they’re going to get from their reps or that the sales reps might know more than them. Hogwash. Take the time and put the effort into learning and slowly integrate that into your work. Create some consistency with it. It doesn’t have to be right out of the gate, it doesn’t have to be the full program, start the development, don’t be afraid to get it started.”
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 email@example.com. And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.