In this second part of our post-sales kickoff meeting (SKO) series, we’re talking about how to make sure all that great sales coaching your preached about during SKO actually gets implemented. We’re diving into how to tell if your sales managers are even good sales coaches, how you can give them the right boost, and how to track their success. In case you missed it, part one covered how to make sure your sales reps have the right tools they need to succeed.
First, figure out if your sales managers are even effective coaches. Not all sales coaches are the same, so how exactly do you judge something that can be subjective? Use this quick reference “grading” sheet to get an idea of where their strengths and weaknesses are.
Sales Coaching Guidelines
Are they using the right methods?
Yes, each one of your sales managers undoubtedly has their own style, but that’s not to say they don’t need the right building blocks. Your sales managers should be asking the right questions, and guiding your sales reps to the answers versus just flat out telling them what’s right and wrong.
Are they getting out in the field?
Only so much sales coaching can be done in the office. Your managers are relying on information passed from their sales rep, and not seeing what’s actually happening in real time. Check to make sure your sales managers are heading out in the field with their reps. They can go on prospect meetings, demo presentations, or even visit some of their sales reps toughest clients. Whatever they choose, seeing their sales reps in action will give them the best information to work with regarding their sales skills and potential areas for improvement.
Are they setting performance goals for their reps?
It may seem obvious, but when your sales managers engage in sales coaching, the whole point is to help their sales reps improve. So shouldn’t they be setting goals? Not surprisingly, employees whose managers help them set performance goals are more engaged too. One Gallup study showed a difference in engagement of 61% from employees that felt their managers helped set goals, and those who didn’t. That’s over a 50% difference in engagement that your managers can easily help improve!
Are they using the right tools to achieve training success?
To truly be on top of their game, your sales managers should be engaging technology tools to expedite and streamline the sales coaching process. We all know by now classroom style learning is not the most effective. Make sure they have access to online learning tools or upgrades like video recording technology so they can really make a difference.
After you’ve started to determine whether your sales managers already rock at sales coaching, or whether they need some assistance themselves, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and help.
How to Help Your Managers Get Better at Sales Coaching
The first step in helping your sales managers get better at coaching is remembering that they need professional development too. It’s time to take all the same aspects you’re measuring your managers with, and take a look introspectively at your own skills.
- Ask them the right questions
- Get involved in their day to day
- Help them set goals
- Provide them with the right tools
When it comes to tools, you should be involved in the decision process and help drive new technology adoption within your organization. Your managers may provide suggestions, but ultimately they need your buy in too. But even better, instead of waiting for them to ask for it, stay ahead of trends and give them access before they know they even need it!
Not sure where to start with technology? Here are a few tools to get you started:
- 5 Ways to Use Sales Technology to Start 2017 Strong Infographic
- How Video is Changing the Sales Training Game
- 5 Tips for Choosing the Right Learning Technology
How to Track Sales Manager Coaching Effectiveness
It’s not the simplest equation in the books, but there are several metrics you can track to gauge your sales managers level of success within their sales coaching programs. Here’s a few ways to tell:
Are your top performers staying?
Top performers look for continued development and a great relationship with their managers. Regular, and effective sales coaching can be one factor that keeps your top performers from jumping ship. In fact, a recent study found that 50% of adults left jobs to get away from their managers. If your sales managers have high turnover rates, it may be one hint that their sales coaching skills are lacking.
Is sales rep performance improving?
Of course the end goal to your sales managers coaching program is improved rep performance. Are sales number increasing over time? Are cross sell and upsell opportunities growing? Are average deal sizes increasing? These are all great ways to keep an eye on whether sales coaching is working, and which areas might need the most focus.
Are your sales managers regularly engaging?
One great way to hold your sales managers accountable is by seeing how much effort they’re putting in. The should have frequency goals for the number of times they will work with each rep, and it shouldn’t be too hard for you to keep an eye on whether they are actually following through.
Are your sales reps happy?
Get candid feedback, or launch anonymous surveys that allow sales reps to share their opinion on the sales coaching program. Are they satisfied with what they’re learning? Do they like how their sales manager is interacting with them? Do they feel like they are developing professionally? Talking to the subjects of your sales coaching initiatives is a great way to measure success.
Don’t forget to revisit part one of our series to see the right sales manager tools for success, and stay tuned for part three of our post-SKO series where we will dive into time management.
Want More on Sales Coaching?
- Training and Coaching the Mobile Employee
- Breaking New Boundaries: Elevate Performance With Great Sales Coaching eBook
- The 5 Deadly Sins of Sales Coaching