The Coaching Effect Blog

Sales Coaching: Experienced Sales Reps And The Importance Of Sales Manager Feedback

Posted by Stacia Jorgensen

February 18, 2014

Stacia_Jorgensen1_2014One of the great tools we have at EcSell is the power of survey data.  Through research endeavors like our Through the Eyes of the Rep Survey and the Through the Eyes of the Manager Survey, we can capture thoughts, behaviors, and experiences directly from both sales reps and sales managers.   After all, isn’t going straight to the source the best way to collect information?  The results of these surveys often capture nuggets of knowledge that have us all nodding our heads realizing we just uncovered a layer to the big picture of sales coaching.  I know I’m partial to the giddiness that comes with having information that helps us tailor and expand our understanding of the field, but that kind of power is pretty amazing when you think about it.  

For example, we just ran an analysis of Through the Eyes of the Rep survey data to understand how a rep’s level of experience impacts their interactions with their manager.  Through this survey, we were able to ask almost 700 reps about how often they meet one-to-one with their manager and the value they see in these meetings. We found some cool findings with real-world applications.  Here’s a quick snapshot of the highlights:

  • As a rep’s tenure in their position increases, they meet less frequently with their sales manager. 
  • High proportions of even the most experienced reps tell us that they find value in their one-to-one meeting times with their manager.

So what does this tell us?  The quick message is that sales managers should be meeting regularly with their reps regardless of the rep’s level of sales experience. Take a minute to contempt this as it seems like a simple finding on the surface.  Even those reps that have years and years of experience feel that they benefit from spending one-to-one time with their manager. It seems the natural tendency is often to pile more resources, especially the valuable resource of time, into our newer reps. After all, these are the individuals who are just learning the ropes and are newly navigating the nuances of this complex and every evolving field. This data demonstrates, however, that making the effort to regularly meet with all your reps is time well spent.  Even with their wealth of experience, veteran reps value that face time with you.

As a sales coach, your next task is to construct content or context for these meetings to meet the experience level of the individual sales manager.  Just as you would tweak your coaching strategies based on a particular sales rep’s strengths or weaknesses, tailoring to a rep’s experience level is key to adding even more value to these interactions.  With this in mind, now might be a good time to take inventory of who you’ve met with recently and make sure those veteran reps are still on your radar where our data tells us they like to be. 

If you would like to check out the full white paper with the result of this research vein, please click here. 

Interested in learning more about sales coaching?  Come to our EcSELL Institute Sales Coaching Summit April 14-16th at the Ballantyne Hotel in Charlotte NC.  

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