Sales Coaching Blog

Sales Manager Training

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

July 16, 2014

Bill_Eckstrom_Headshot_2014_sThink for a minute, not about training sales people, but about sales manager training.

The average sales rep is accountable for approx. $2M in revenue…

  • We know where they’ve been
  • We know how many customers & prospects with whom they’ve visited
  • We can measure their effectiveness and performance
  • We know what talents and skills lead to sales success
  • We can accurately screen for those talents and skills
  • We continually provide them skills development
  • We provide and ask them to follow a process/method that leads to more predictable sales outcomes
  • We train them to the process/method
  • We track their compliance to the process/method
  • They receive all sorts or recognition for attaining and exceeding their quota

The average sales manager is accountable for approx. $14M in revenue…

  • We don’t know where they were last week, last month, last quarter
  • We don’t know what % of their time is spent with top, bottom or middle performers
  • We don’t know how much coaching they are doing
  • We don’t know the quality of the coaching they are doing
  • We don’t provide them a coaching process/method, so therefore we have nothing to track
  • They receive little to no skills training, for organizations aren’t aware of what drives performance
  • They receive little to no recognition

In summary, the position that most impacts the performance of sales people, and…  we don’t know where they’ve been, what they are doing and if they are effective.

Lack of performance visibility in any role is not acceptable, especially one that controls so much revenue.  And today, the only metric senior sales leaders have to gauge management success is whether or not a team sales goal was achieved.  While not a poor indicator, it is an outcome that does not show the “why”, the “what” and the “how”; without which, replicable, sustainable performance cannot be achieved.

Now that the problem has been stated, here is the start to a solution.

  1. Identify what drives performance of teams.  EcSell research has identified the following themes make up high performing sales coaches
  2. Understand the activities and tools that most strongly correlate with the above coaching themes. Said another way—what is it that managers do/don’t do that can obtain the most “discretionary effort” from their team
    • Hold weekly 1:1 meetings with their sales reps
    • Do career development planning with each
    • Provide written coaching feedback that evaluates a rep’s skills against your sales process/methodology
    • Require reps to provide managers a “pre-call plan” prior to any joint work
    • Hold weekly team meetings and quarterly retreats
    • Hold skills training for your reps a minimum of monthly
  3. Train and put in processes for your managers on the above
  4. Track to make sure the above is occurring
  5. Measure coaching effectiveness by surveying your sales producers

Actually, it doesn’t sound overly complicated, but based on our work with sales leaders from throughout the world, the most significant success factor is whether or not the senior sales leader buys-in and holds his/her team accountable for coaching execution.  Without this commitment performance increases are minimized resulting in little organic sales growth. 

All sales leaders have a call to action:  make coaching a priority.  Understand why coaching is critical, understand the role of the coach and make sure effective coaching occurs.

To get more in-depth information about how sales coaching impacts sales team performance, download this e-brief book "The Three Drivers of Sales Performance".

Topics: Sales manager training, Sales Coaching Model, sales coaching, sales coaching methodology

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