We can probably all agree that a great sales manager is one whose team consistently reaches or exceeds its revenue goals. Conversely, not-so-great managers may rely on their star performers or feel compelled to close business themselves, leading to more inconsistent results.
Why do some managers have repeated success at reaching goal, while others repeatedly fail?
Here are some facts:
- Of 1,200 companies surveyed, the number of reps meeting or exceeding quota was 50.3% when the coaching process was left entirely to managers. It jumps to 62.3% for companies with a formal coaching process.
- Companies with reps who receive <30 minutes of coaching per week have a win rate of 43%, where companies whose reps are coached >2 hours per week have a win rate of 56%.
- Another study by CSO Insights and Revegy suggests that a formal coaching process with >2 hours of coaching time per rep per week may increase the percentage of reps making quota to as high as 72%.
You see, it isn’t sales training that makes more A-sellers. It’s more A-sales managers. And you can’t be a great manager without being a great coach.
Sales organizations are, by and large, coming on board with this reality. That’s probably why you’re here right now reading this. Here’s the rub: Much like sales training does not make a top seller, agreeing that coaching is critical to seller success does not make sales managers good at it.
Most sales managers are elevated from individual contributors into the role without a playbook on how to be an effective sales manager. Now more than ever, today’s sales manager must constantly question where they spend their time, with whom, and most importantly how.
What makes a highly effective sales manager? Take a minute and try to answer the question.
We’ve studied this question and come up with our own five fundamentals.
5 Fundamentals of a Highly Effective Sales Manager
- Builds trust and teamwork
- Understands the key behaviors to successful selling and how to coach others
- Practices guiding vs. telling and explains the why
- Reconciles prior commits, tracks, and measures progress
- Aligns and contributes to company goals
Admittedly it could take a lifetime to master each of these five fundamentals, but it helps to know where to start!
From Why Coach to How to Coach?
If you believe in these fundamentals as we do, you may be asking, how do my organization and I consistently apply them? That’s easier said than done.
Most frontline managers naturally coach their teams, to some extent. Hopefully (but not always) this is one of the qualities that made them a manager in the first place. In that sense, implementing a formal coaching program isn’t an immensely heavy lift if the mindset is already in place. What it does is establish a common vocabulary, tools, and process by which the entire sales organization can follow to improve. Absent a set of guidelines, some managers will and some won’t, but coaching on the whole will not flourish.
Effective coaching is a combination of skills, focus, and time investment. Gartner research shows that the ideal number of coaching hours per direct report each month is 3-5 hours. The quality of coaching is optimum when you put in about four hours per month, per person. That’s an hour a week of a manager’s time for every direct report.
If all managers coach on a consistent cadence using a common framework, the basic ingredients for coaching to flourish and drive business impact are in place. Think of your sellers as your brand in the market. Reinforcing key selling behaviors promotes an exceptional sales experience for the customer that makes your company stand out.
The best time to get started is right now because sales coaching is a bit like compound interest. An extra .25% now doesn’t feel like a lot as you are getting started , but you’ll be very happy when your investment matures.
View the next part of the series, Fundamental #1 – Build Trust and Teamwork.
Take the next step. Use our free template to get started on a formal sales management coaching program.