VPs of sales need to empower their frontline managers to be better at sales coaching.
According to the 2017 CSO Insights Sales Manager Enablement Report, sales coaching that is left up to individual managers results in a struggle to achieve even average performance. Average performance!
“Almost 75 percent of sales organizations waste resources due to random and informal coaching approaches, and only about one-quarter leverage the huge performance potential of formal and dynamic coaching,” the report states. Not only are teams wasting resources by not training their managers how to coach, but they’re missing out on huge revenue potential that would come from merely having smarter sellers.
No other productivity investment improves rep performance like sales coaching. If sales executives want to see better performance from their teams, they must empower their managers to be master sales coaches. Here are ten resources for sales leaders to share with frontline managers.
Help frontline managers improve sales coaching with these resources
1. Not all sales managers receive the same level of management training. Fill in their gaps. Start by getting on the same page with your managers about what sales coaching actually is. “What is Sales Coaching?” from InsightSquared provides a concise overview of what coaching is, how it differs from training or mentoring and how it works in a sales environment.
2. Coaching is a multi-faceted practice. An infographic in “How to Coach Salespeople and Improve Sales Performance” by Salesforce provides high-level insights on why sales coaching should be a top priority and how best to approach it.
3. Developing a consistent, data-driven sales coaching strategy takes work. A webinar recording from LevelEleven titled “Build a High-Impact Sales Coaching Strategy” shows a product within Salesforce that can be used for effective coaching and discusses some research and best practices for the process.
4. Coaching should occur evenly across the team. Research detailed in The Harvard Business Review found that most managers focus their sales coaching on the very top and bottom performers within their team. “The Dirty Secret of Effective Sales Coaching” reveals how this happens and why coaching middle performers is critical.
5. Many teams define and track the key selling activities of their reps to provide more data for their coaching conversations. LevelEleven’s “How to Build a Sales Scorecard” demonstrates a simple, step-by-step process to build personalized performance scorecards for reps. Bonus: There are also free templates at the end of the article.
6. Professional development is often forgotten about in sales coaching, but it’s imperative for growth and retention of reps. The EcSell Institute put together an excellent series on “The Six Pillars of Sales Management,” and their in-depth dive in “Pillar #4 — Professional Development” details the three key aspects: education, feedback and motivation.
7. A major piece of effective sales coaching is how the manager approaches it. The Sales Readiness Group explains three growth-oriented mindsets sales managers should take when coaching reps in “Three Mindset Traits Top Sales Coaches Have in Common.”
8. Managers should hold weekly one-on-one sessions with each of their reps. The “Sales Coaching Agenda” template from LevelEleven has a short list of consistent questions to review in each session, as well as space to take notes on each.
9. Just like managers should continuously coach reps, sales executives must consistently coach managers. “11 Keys for Effective Sales Coaching” from Brainshark covers in-depth sales coaching topics like coaching buy-in, performance review and peer mentorship.
10. Sales involves a lot of soft skills, especially communication. “Sales Management: Don’t Ignore Soft Skills in Coaching” by LevelEleven features an interview with a top VP of sales on what types of soft skills managers should coach reps around.
Don’t dump all of this on sales managers at once. Bookmark this article to find relevant resources as needed. Know of any other excellent sales coaching resources for frontline managers? Please let us know in the comments below!