Being an effective sales manager is a difficult task. Often, those thrust into the position were excellent sellers, but never really had any experience with coaching others.
Sometimes this causes a manager to instinctively react by just stepping in when a seller is struggling and “get it done” for them. That surely may have some positive short-term effect on the sales numbers, but it will breed resentment, apathy, and only serve to maintain the status quo long-term.
As a manager you have to work to keep pushing forward and the only way to do that is to ensure your salespeople are improving continuously. The only way to effectively do that is to stop giving those fish away and become a master fishing teacher.
What are the 3 essential steps to becoming a great sales coach for your team?
Great managers aren’t the ones locked away in their offices. They are the ones regularly walking the floor and even tagging along on meetings and calls.
Looking at CRM data or budget spreadsheets isn’t enough to really know where a seller is going astray. The only way you’ll be able to have a grasp on the reality of any situation, is if you put yourself directly where the action is.
Observing how your sellers are going about their selling, in terms of their process, their meetings, and their follow-ups is key to having an understanding and being able to coach towards improvement.
At least once a month, if not even once a week, you should have a meeting with every seller to discuss what you’ve observed.
It’s more effective to try to hold off immediate judgement and simply relay back your observations. Give your seller as objective of a play-by-play of their behaviors as you can.
Don’t ask accusatory questions to help avoid any defensiveness and simply state what you’ve noticed. It’s important for your team to see the cause and effect of their actions on their sales success.
Once you have relayed the information back to your seller on what you’ve observed, it’s time to prescribe a course of action.
Recommend a new tactic or approach your seller can utilize to help improve a specific pain-point in their sales method. By suggesting an alternative way of doing something, instead of criticizing what they’re currently doing, your salesperson will be much more open to attempting to change the behavior that leads to improved performance.
As a manager it’s difficult to detach yourself and not step in or become overly critical. There might be points where you feel like a lot is out of your control. And while it’s not your direct actions that influence the sales numbers, it is all dependent on your coaching ability.
Become the best coach you can be by maintaining somewhat of an outsider’s perspective. Become a fly on the wall and gain a deep understanding by observing what’s actually going on. Then report on what you’ve seen and heard as impartially as possible. Finally, suggest alternative strategies for your sellers to utilize. These 3 steps will provide your sellers with the tools to succeed and guarantee that you aren’t seen as just a manager, but a truly great coach.