5 Reasons Sales Managers Are Reluctant to Coach Prospecting

Coach prospecting
In the highly competitive SaaS world, prospecting is often seen as the most challenging task—a test dreaded by many and mastered by few. Indeed, 40% of salespeople cite it as the most challenging part of the sales process, more daunting than either closing or qualifying. Despite this, it is the critical first step in a journey where every interaction has the potential to bloom into a significant deal. However, the significance of prospecting is often overshadowed by the allure of the deal’s close, leading many sales managers to neglect to coach the top of the funnel. This paradox has far-reaching implications, resulting in underdeveloped strategies that can stunt the growth of an organization’s sales pipeline.

1- Poor Coaching Skills

Not all sales managers are natural-born coaches. Many excel at selling but falter when it comes to imparting their wisdom. Without the proper training or experience in coaching, these managers may struggle to provide effective guidance, making the coaching of prospecting feel daunting.

2- Undervaluing Prospecting

Prospecting is a skill that is often undervalued and under-taught. Some sales managers see it as a basic task that anyone can perform with minimal guidance. This belief undermines the sophisticated skill set required to effectively identify and engage potential clients. Prospecting is not merely a volume game; it is the strategic positioning of one’s product in the eyes of those who need it most. Managers fail to maximize their team’s potential to build a robust and qualified pipeline by not coaching this critical skill.

3- Overemphasis on Deal Closure

Sales managers often focus too much on closing deals, driven by the direct impact on revenue. This can lead to a neglect of early-stage prospecting despite it being essential for a sustainable sales pipeline. CROs must ensure balanced coaching across all stages to prevent a narrow focus that may hinder long-term success.

 4- Resistance from Sales Reps

Resistance from the sales force can act as a deterrent to coaching. Sales reps, entrenched in their methods or skeptical of their manager’s prowess, can be reluctant to adopt new strategies, particularly in an area as challenging as prospecting. Managers faced with this resistance may find it easier to forgo coaching altogether than to confront and overcome these barriers.

5- Prospecting is Not a Key Performance Indicator

The focus of KPIs on deal-closing metrics creates a disparity in coaching focus. Sales managers are inclined to devote their efforts to stages of the sales process that directly affect these KPIs, leading to a devaluation of prospecting. Without immediate and measurable outcomes, the critical activity of nurturing early-stage leads is left in the shadows, neglected in favour of later-stage processes.

Conclusion – It is Critical to Coach Prospecting

If your team struggles to grow their pipeline, the solution begins with a renewed focus on prospecting. Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) in the SaaS sector are called upon now more than ever to spearhead this initiative, recognizing that the first interactions in the sales process are not mere formalities but the groundwork of all future success. Increasing the importance of prospecting in the sales culture is critical, transforming it from a frequently dreaded task into a strategic cornerstone celebrated across your teams.

CROs must drive this evolution by equipping sales managers with the skills and confidence to coach effectively, ensuring they can navigate their teams through the early complexities of the sales cycle with the same zeal as the closing stages. Aligning KPIs to value these initial interactions will support their importance, fostering a sales environment where every funnel stage is important and managers coach each stage. This focused shift is not just an upgrade in strategy; it’s a commitment to turning every point of contact into a potential win, setting the stage for a more robust and thriving sales pipeline.


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Steven Rosen 2022

Hi, I’m Steven Rosen, and I’ve been coaching sales executives for over 20 years!


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Steven Rosen - Executive Sales Coach


Steven A. Rosen

Steven helps companies transform sales managers into great sales leaders. His focused coaching helps clients achieve greater personal and professional success. Steven is the author of 52 Sales Management Tips - The Sales Manager’s Success Guide.

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