My last post talked about the challenges of teaching my middle daughter, who recently got her learners permit, to drive safely. We compared teaching safe driving to the importance of consistent sales coaching and the types of conversations that should happen with regularity and consistency between your sales leaders and sales team. For this post I want to continue in the theme of safe driving and sales coaching. My oldest daughter has been driving for a few years now and we recently had a conversation about texting while driving. The data is overwhelming. Here’s an infographic I found on this topic:
When you think about how little time it takes to travel the length of a football field while looking at your phone – and all the bad things that can happen while you’re distracted – it’s hardly surprising that so many accidents happen as a result of texting and driving.
So what is the connection to sales coaching? In our sales consulting practice we recommend sales leaders establish a regular rhythm of coaching conversations with everyone on their team. Ideally these should happen weekly and biweekly at an absolute minimum. I can already hear sales managers groaning as they read that last sentence and thinking “when am I supposed to fit that into my already full schedule?” Well, think of scheduling regular, structured, formal weekly coaching sessions with everyone on the sales team as the same as looking forward and paying close attention while driving down the highway.
Would you like your team to avoid big, spectacular sales crashes? Ask your sales leaders to look forward on a regular basis. Challenge them to ask questions on a regular basis. Ask them to observe (and share) patterns and trends in the market on a regular basis. Ask them to observe (and share) patterns, trends, bad habits, and self-limiting beliefs from your sales team on a regular basis. Challenge them to engage in role play on a regular basis (most sales managers will resist this at first because most are really bad at it). In short, make sure your sales leaders coach your sales people on a regular basis so they can stay ahead of all the subtle nuances and changes in your sales pipeline, allowing them to make minor smooth corrections rather than sudden shifts and dramatic changes.
As CEO what can you do? How often are you coaching your sales leaders? When you talk with them, are you simply going through a tactical review of the pipeline? Are you asking the right questions? Are you leveraging the market feedback your sales team can provide in real time? Do you see patterns in where your sales leaders are focused? Are they focused on the right things? The right activities? The right people on their team? What would happen to your sales culture if you lead by example and coached your sales leaders as you expect them to coach your sales people?
Not sure where to start? We can help. We start by helping you understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of your sales leaders. How do they measure up in terms of their coaching skill set? How about the skills required to create a culture of accountability? Motivating the team? Attracting and retaining A-player sales talent (A-players won’t work for B-managers)? Growing the team? How about your sales people? Are they capable of growth? How much? Where do they need help? What self-limiting beliefs get in their way? Are they coachable? If you invested in their professional development would it be worth it? How long would it take you to realize a return on your training investment?
We can help you understand these and many other important questions with our Sales Effectiveness & Improvement Analysis. We’ll be glad to send you a sample and discuss whether or not this would be a good next step for growing your revenue. Or you could just keep your eyes down and hope you don’t crash. It’s up to you.
For more information on how we can help Optimize Your Sales Team - click Here.