5 Sales Manager Coaching Blunders
Sales coaching is the No. 1 management activity that drives sales performance.
The only problem is that managers have not been taught how to coach effectively. Coaching is a skill that takes time to perfect, and unless expertly coached or trained, managers can make all types of blunders.
Do You Want To Increase Sales Performance?
Transforming your managers from good to great coaches can dramatically impact sales. The only problem is that managers have not been taught how to coach effectively. Coaching is a skill that takes time to perfect, and unless effectively coached or trained, managers make all types of blunders.
As the head of sales or as a frontline sales manager, you can significantly enhance the performance of your sales team if you can develop great coaches.
Sales Manager Coaching Blunders – “Telling vs. Asking Coaching.”
As a sales manager, you probably were a top sales rep. As a result of your action orientation, you will likely tell the salesperson how to solve the issue. There are numerous downsides to the tell-first approach. “Telling” does not create self-managing salespeople. You may still see yourself as a problem-solver, like, “If I solve this rep’s issue, she/he can make the sale.”
One of the critical areas for development is the ability to be a self-manager. First, you are not empowering your sales reps, who may perceive you as micromanagers. Second, you are also creating a dependency on yourself to be their problem-solver. This makes endless emails and phone calls and results in needy reps. And third, you are not developing them.
Be aware of when you are in “tell” mode and remind yourself when you have fallen into a bad habit.
Sales Manager Coaching Blunders – “I’ll get to it, Coaching.”
Time management is a challenge we all face. What does a sales manager do with emails, meetings, and administrative work? If sales results are what you desire, the easy answer is to do the activities that will drive the highest revenue. Generally, we do the busy work first as they are the easiest to do. It feels good when we are up to date on our emails. The stress behaviour occurs when we have all our reports in on time and we have followed up on all our messages.
But all those activities don’t contribute to the bottom line. If great sales coaching can directly impact up to 19% more sales, why is coaching not the #1 priority?
Stop making excuses and get out of the office. Get out in the field and make coaching a priority. Your boss will thank you, and your reps will make lots of money.
Sales Manager Coaching Blunders – “Laundry List Coaching.”
Personal growth and change are a challenge for all of us. We all have strengths and areas for development. Managers who decide who create a laundry list of individualized for development will have little success. It is too difficult for a sales rep to make wholesale changes in how they sell. Development is about improving 1 or 2 things, and once the salesperson has demonstrated that they have acquired the skill or behaviour, you can move on to the next area.
Imagine getting a field report listing everything you do wrong from a sales rep’s? Some reps would not even read the report. Many will wonder where I start. Others may read it and be completely overwhelmed.
Great coaching is about focus, focus, and focus. Helping a sales rep improve in one area of their job can significantly impact their performance.
Sales Manager Coaching Blunders – “One Size Fits All Coaching.”
One of the critical pitfalls sales managers fall into is when they take the “one size fits all approach.”
How many times have we witnessed a sales rep working on autopilot? This is the rep doing the same sales pitch to each customer and delivering the message in the same way. As coaches, we fail to see when we go into autopilot, taking the same approach with each rep.
Do you ever find yourself coaching all your reps the same way? Your feedback to each rep is the same? You have fallen into the rut of one size fits all coaching. Coaching differs from training. Training is about having everyone learn the same information or skills. On the other hand, coaching is about diagnosing each rep’s particular area for improvement. It is about adapting your coaching style to the individual and developing individualized development plans.
Coaching is a one-to-one sport. It is about growing individuals to develop to their full potential.
Sales Manager Coaching Blunders – “Way to go, Coaching.”
One critical blunders managers make is not getting a commitment to change. They have done a perfect job coaching by asking all the right questions and agreeing on areas for development but forgetting to get buy-in on how the problem will be fixed. When the manager and rep agree on an area for growth, it is critical to have the rep buy into what steps they will take to develop.
This requires a simple 3 or 4-point plan which includes what the sales rep will do between coaching sessions. The key is to have the rep develop their next steps, and your role becomes one of holding them accountable. Without this in place, the odds are that there will be no change in rep behaviour or skills during the next coaching session.
Great coaching means excellent performance. Sales organizations that embrace a coaching culture and invest in their frontline managers’ coaching ability will have a competitive advantage and outsell the competition.