Your success as a sales leader and a sales manager depends upon your ability to achieve results through your salespeople. The more effective your sales force, the greater your results.
Developing your sales force means improving their skills and abilities, and it is the most direct path to improved sales results. But managing isn’t enough. You have to lead, and you have to help your salespeople to grow.
You have to notch them up.
There’s Not Enough Time
As sales managers, we often believe that there isn’t enough time to coach our salespeople, so instead we simply direct them. We tell them what to do and how to do it, and in doing so we eliminate their resourcefulness and initiative. We often choose the fastest method of helping the salesperson instead of the most effective way.
We create dependents.
The truth is that there isn’t enough time to not coach your sales people. No company that I am aware of has the time or resources to train and develop their sales force the way they would want to. And none can keep their sales force out of the field long enough to train them on everything they would like to train.
Coaching bridges the gap between managing and developing the sales force (these ideas don’t have to be mutually exclusive). Coaching allows the sales manager to spend the time working with their salespeople not only on the problem, challenge, or opportunity at hand, but also on the more important outcome that is the salesperson’s continued development and growth.
Instead of managing the sales force, doing their thinking for them, directing their actions, and telling them what they need to do, coaching helps develop the salesperson’s ability to make the right choices in the future, to think about their challenges themselves, to engage their resourcefulness, and by doing so, eliminating their dependence on you, their sales manager.
In short, coaching helps your salespeople to grow.
Making Time To Notch Them Up
As a sales leader, you are charged with producing results, and that means you have to find a way to develop your sales force and make it more effective while moving fast and pursuing opportunities, revenue, and goals. The reality is that best opportunities for development are found in the concrete opportunities your sales force is working on now.
Coaching the sales force in real time and on live opportunities allows you take the salesperson’s development from the academic exercise it is in training and breathe life into by dealing with real challenges. It provides you the opportunity to continually notch your salespeople up, working with them in a way that improves their skills, improves the way that they think about and understand what they need to do to be effective, and improving their overall performance.
Over time, your investment in notching your sales force up through coaching will return dividends far beyond your investment in time.
How much time do you spend training and developing the sales force before you put them into the field?
How much time do you spend annually on continued development and training?
If you coached for a single hour each week, what percentage of an improvement would that be over the sales force’s current development and training plan?
What are the advantages of working on real prospects and clients instead of always training and developing in an academic setting?
What do you have to do to integrate coaching into your day-to-day routine?