The Coaching Effect Blog

The Coaching Effect Blog

    Sales Coaching: Do You Walk the Talk?

    by Sarah Wirth / January 15, 2015

    Photo by Hattie Kingsley Photography

    EcSell Institute partners with a variety of organizations to help them improve their sales results. Although our members vary by industry, size and sales team structure, they have something important in common – they all believe more effective coaching of their sales reps can lead to better sales results. However, how much they believe in this idea and, most importantly, what actions they’re willing to take to support this believe can differ widely. This difference in belief and action makes a huge impact of how effective sales coaching becomes in their organization.

    Recently, we conducted a study of front-line sales managers and the leaders to whom they report to determine how sales managers are spending their time. We used a short online survey and in one of the questions, we asked for an estimate of the percentage of time front-line sales managers spend on coaching their reps versus other management activities. The sentiment among both the front-line sales managers and the leaders to whom they report was that, on average, a front-line sales manager dedicates about 19% of their time to rep coaching. While rep coaching represented one of the activities that took up the largest percentage of time, both the front-line sales managers and their leaders agreed that it should be more. Indeed, about two-thirds responded that rep coaching should receive more priority. So, if everyone agrees coaching should be happening more, why doesn’t it?

    Many sales managers struggle with making rep coaching a consistent priority because of the numerous different directions in which they’re pulled. Indeed, in our survey of sales managers and the leaders to whom they report, we found that activities like helping reps resolve customer issues and analyzing the pipeline individually take up approximately the same percentage of their time as coaching reps. Further, the combination of routine activities like travel, administrative work and company meetings take up nearly 40% of a sales manager’s time. Being pulled in so many directions, it is little wonder that sales managers and their leaders believe that rep coaching does not receive the proper allocation of time. Something clearly needs to change and, in our experience of working with thousands of sales leaders, we find that belief and action are the key differentiators. That is, those that (a) truly believe rep coaching is the key to driving sales and (b) align their behavior with this belief are the sales leaders that are effective at driving rep coaching.

    To determine if you have the belief and actions to effectively drive sales coaching, check out our latest newsletter:

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    Sarah Wirth

    Sarah Wirth

    Sarah Wirth is the president of Ecsell Institute and has over 20 years of experience in employee assessment, leadership development, sales executive coaching, and customer service. She has presented to executives from across the globe with organizations such as Mercedes Benz, Estee Lauder, Ritz Carlton, Cheesecake Factory and many more.