Editor's Note: This blog has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on June 22, 2020. Photo by Hattie Kingsley Photography.
How effective are your managers in their role as a sales coach? If you are not fully confident about your answer, it’s time to start putting less emphasis on the action of sales coaching, and more emphasis on the role itself of a sales coach. Shifting this mindset can sometimes be a challenge for sales organizations because for the last three decades all the attention and resources have gone directly to the salesperson in an effort to help them sell more.
To be clear on the description of a sales "coach" vs. sales "coaching":
Sales Coach: (n.) Someone who develops processes, relationships and growth experiences to maximize individual and team performance
Sales Coaching: (v.) The act of teaching and helping sales people improve or enhance their skillsets
The sales managers’ on-going development has been pushed aside in perpetuity even though senior sales executives are now becoming aware that their leadership team, and their ability to coach, has a HUGE impact on organic sales growth. EcSell Institute research shows that the top 20% of sales coaches bring in $4.1 million more per manager each year than their underperforming peers on average.
So why is putting an emphasis on the role of the “sales coach” so important versus just talking about “sales coaching”?
Here are 3 powerful reasons to focus attention on sales manager coaching:
1) Effective Sales Coaches Generate Increased Sales
Effective sales coaching reflects how often, and how well, a sales manager can coach. If a manager is not executing a consistent coaching cadence in these 5 high-payoff activities with their salespeople, or worse, is not an effective coach in these five areas all the coaching in the world will not help their sales reps increase sales.
2) Sales Coaches Are More Effective Leaders
To be fair, most sales leaders have never been effectively educated about how to coach effectively in sales and are not being provided on-going coaching resources. For most, they were very successful sales people that got tossed into a management role, were given a credit card, and told to “go hit your number!” Defining the role of sales coach is wildly important.
3) Sales Coaches Create More Engaged Sales People
It’s important for the manager to salesperson relationship to take center stage. For managers, their most important clients are their sales people, not potential buyers of their product. This sounds simplistic, but you’d be shocked my how many sales managers believe that coaching is simply regurgitating metrics back to sales people which the already know or believe that their role is to be super sales person that needs to sell for everyone on their team.
When you make this shift, you can measure sales coaching activity and behavior and correlate it to sales growth from the team. Coaching is not simply a soft skill, it is a vital sales growth metric, but only when you put emphasis on the sales coach’s effectiveness.
The best resource you can provide a salesperson is a great sales coach, this is as true today as it always has been, but now this fact is on the verge of going rouge. When it does, remember that “sales coaching” has much more to do with the person who is the “sales coach” than it does about the salesperson.
To truly understand the impact of the sales coach, consider downloading the first chapter of our best-selling book, The Coaching Effect.
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