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August 30, 2022

Why Sales Managers Don’t Coach

Sales Manager Helping team

Sales managers are the connection between an organization’s leaders and the field. Funneling strategy down, the forecast up, executing for customers, and developing their sales reps is essentially several full-time jobs. They oversee sales strategy, set sales goals, and track sales performances. Due to the demands of the role, often the development and coaching parts of the job fall by the wayside, and interactions with reps are little more than pipeline reviews. But, true sales leadership is more than dictating and reporting; leading is about coaching and helping teams to reach their full potential. It’s not that sales managers don’t want to coach, but rather because of these three reasons:

1. Don’t Have Time

One of the most common reasons sales managers don’t coach is because they feel they do not have the time necessary to commit to their salespeople. They are focused on closing deals because that’s what produces revenue and grows the business. Also, they are busy reporting and working with leaders to show current and forecasted sales performance. A study into a Fortune 500 company found that only 10% of the sales manager’s time was spent coaching. 10% of a manager’s day is not nearly enough time to even form relationships with your salespeople, let alone grow their skills and careers.

2. Don’t Know How

Another reason sales managers may not be coaching their salespeople is because they simply do not know how. Most sales managers lead the same way they were led when they were still a sales rep. If sales managers never have a good coach themselves, then they most likely do not have the necessary skills to coach their salespeople properly. This leads to an endless cycle of sales managers who lack the essential skills to coach their teams adequately. To prevent this cycle from repeating, sales managers need to experience great coaching themselves.

3. Don’t Believe it Produces Results (Fast Enough)

Lastly, sales managers may struggle to justify spending time coaching salespeople when results are not immediate. Sales managers love immediate results because it is quantifiable information that they can report to their leaders. However, coaching is a process that takes time and dedication. With proper coaching and time, salespeople will begin producing exponential results. Sales managers must be patient and keep in mind that their commitment to skill development will produce long-term results.

How to Create a Culture of Coaching

Make Time

Sales organizations that want to create a culture of coaching have to take a deliberate approach. First and foremost, managers must schedule dedicated time for coaching over and above 1:1s/pipeline reviews. To increase time availability, sales managers should optimize their use of CRM, forecasting, and sales engagement tools to lessen administrative work. They should also try to delegate their budget and marketing requests to someone else.

Experience Great Coaching

Once the sales manager has dedicated time to coaching, they can begin learning how to be the best coach for their team. Sales managers can turn to dedicated coaches from other areas of the company for advice and guidance or reach out to an external resource. Many training companies offer specific training programs on how to be a great sales coach, which can help. On-demand coaching platforms (like our sales coaching offering) can give sales leaders the experience of great coaching and ongoing support.

Focus on Quick Coaching Wins

The best way to ensure enthusiasm for a coaching program is by showing managers big impacts fast. Our sales leadership coaches always focus on the most common and easiest-to-solve sales challenges, so that sales managers see results right away. Additionally, using call recording software can make coaching fast and scalable by providing deep insights from pre-existing data and showing managers how they can best help their reps in the least time.

Changing managers’ minds and habits around not having time, not having the skills, or coaching taking too long to show results can be overcome with a comprehensive strategy and the right tools. The three key factors are making time, building coaching skills, and focusing on quick coaching wins to build momentum.

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