Benchmarking Coaching Effectiveness
By Steven A. Rosen
Do you know how effective your sales managers are? How would you evaluate their level of effectiveness? Where do you begin?
What To Assess
The obvious place to start assessing your sales managers’ effectiveness is to evaluate the activity that has the greatest impact on sales rep performance. As you know, sales manager coaching is the #1 activity that drives sales performance and develops great sales reps.
The problem is that sales executives are not in a position to observe their sales managers in action. It is very rare that the sales executive would actually ride with the sales manager and sales rep. There are several approaches that a sales executive could use to gauge their sales managers coaching in my article “5 Ways to Gauge your Sales Managers Coaching” I describe these approaches.
What’s In It For You?
There are few if any areas that can have as much impact on sales as sales managers who are highly effective coaches. The CEB Executive Briefing “World-Class Sales Coaching” found that highly effective sales managers drive 19% more sales than their less effective colleagues. This is stellar.
Wouldn’t sales executive be excited about driving 19% more sales without additional headcount?
But You Have Highly Effective Sales Coaches
Really. The CEB found that most sales managers are not effective at coaching. When sales reps rated their sales managers skill sets coaching was the skill set that managers were relatively weakest at. My experience is that companies are not investing sufficient resources in developing great sales coaches. Unfortunately, the next level of sales management is equally challenged on coaching and find themselves either to busy or poorly equipped to coach their sales managers.
Are You sold?
If you aren’t even a bit excited about the impact effective sales coaching can have on your sales organization, then stop reading!
How to Get Started
If you are still reading, this means you want to learn more. OK, let’s think about first assessing the coaching effectiveness of your sales managers. There is no point in developing a sales manager training/coaching program unless you can benchmark how effective your sales managers are as coaches right now.
Benchmarking Coaching Effectiveness
We now have a tool that can help sales executives assess the sales coaching effectiveness of their entire front line sales management team. The Coaching Effectiveness Snapshot measures sales manager coaching effectiveness against six dimensions of effective coaching.
Six Dimensions of Effective Coaching:
- Sales Rep Receptiveness: For coaching to work sales reps must be open to being coached.
- Leadership: Leadership is a critical dimension in setting and communicating common goals.
- Support of Sales Activities: Highly effective coaches help their sales reps focus on which opportunities and customers are most important.
- Coaching Flexibility: Highly effective sales manager have the ability to adjust their coaching style based on the individual.
- Performance Coaching: Sales managers who hold their salespeople accountable for following through on their own business plan are more effective.
- Coaching Time: The time dedicated to coaching in the field and on the phone has a positive impact on the manager’s effectiveness.
It is challenging for the sales executive to assess their sales managers on these six dimensions. The Coaching Effectiveness Snapshot works like a 360-degree feedback. All feedback is kept strictly confidential. The sales manager self-evaluates, and each of his/her sales reps provides input on these six dimensions.
Built on 360 technology, in less than 15 minutes and online, sales reps can provide their input on 30 questions covering the six dimensions of effective coaching.
The sales executive now has a snapshot of the coaching effectiveness of each of their sales managers. Sales managers can then develop individual improvement plans, and the sales executive can evaluate whether a training/coaching intervention is required.
Six to nine months post-intervention, the sales executive can have the sales management team re-take the Coaching Effectiveness Snapshot to see how the team has improved and decided what further plans are required.
Sales coaching is such a critical sales management skill that sales executives need to be measuring it on an ongoing basis. The upside for sales executives who improve the coaching effectiveness of their sales managers is significant. The best place to start on a coaching program is to measure the sales managers coaching effectiveness and evaluate the impact of any coaching program over time.