A recent study done by Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal investigated what they called, “decisive purposeful action,” by managers. What they found is that only about 10% of managers take purposeful action. The remainder fell into one of the following classifications:
- 40 % worked hard, but were unfocused
- 30% had low energy, little focus and procrastinated
- 10% were focused, but did little
Does this sound like your company?
So where would you start to turn things around? The managers with the most potential are those that are working hard, but have no focus. Why no focus? Perhaps they were never told what they were to do as managers.
I know when I was first promoted to the account manager position at Keebler, I had no idea how to proceed. My new boss had no time for me, so he assigned another account manager to “train” me. She took me on some store visits, gave me some pointers and she was finished. It took about a year to really get a handle on how to do my job During that learning period, I was very busy, but not very productive.
I believe this is a huge issue with sales managers. Most companies promote their best sales representative to the sales manager position. They provide no direction, no training, just the objective of making sales quotas. The new sales manager falls into the path of least resistance which includes micro-management and doing the sales calls for their employees. Of course, this leads to poor attitudes on the sales force and overwork and burn-out for the sales manager.
The first message a new sales manager must hear is, “everything is now different. You are no longer selling. You are managing the sales force so that they make their numbers.” The only effective way to perform these duties is to become a sales force coach.
Think of athletics. Does the coach play in the game? No, they are on the sideline, coaching. They watch their players and look for areas of improvement. The coach sets the strategy and calls the plays, but the players implement using their God given talents.
In sales management, you need to become the coach for your team. How important is this? The Sales Executive Council states that proper coaching improves the productivity of sales people by 35%. Sales training content retention improves 400% if sales persons are coached within 30 days of the training event. A sales person who receives coaching more than three days a month achieve on average 107% of their quota.
So, what does one do when they coach?
- You redirect the sales person to focus on their goals, procedures and sales methodology. Everyone must be on the same page when it comes to company goals, mission, and culture.
- You must make sure that your sales representatives are prepared. Do they know your company? Do they know the products? Do they know their “elevator pitch?” How well do they know their prospects? Have they done the necessary research to understand the potential client’s goals, objectives and areas of possible pain?
- Make sure that your sales representatives have set objectives for each day. Do they know who they will call, research or meet with?
- Observe your sales representatives during their calls, meetings, discussions with clients. Are they using the right techniques? Are they talking too much? Have they asked the right questions?
- Are your sales representatives following-up on meetings, contacts or touches?
- Make sure your sales representatives keep their name, the company’s name and its products in front of your prospects.
- Make your sales representatives practice questions, presentations, product knowledge, and other sales skills.
And of course other things as needed.
As you can see, there are many things a sales manager or coach must make sure their team is doing. They have little time to sell themselves, and it they do sell, it should only be a minor part of their job. If you do all the work for your sales representatives, how will they grow, improve, or add their own innovation to the process.
When sales managers coach, the entire sales organization benefits. At Dynamic Sales Strategies, we teach your sales managers how to coach their team. Give us a call. You might be surprised at the results and how the overall culture of your team changes for the better.