The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Sales Leaders' Top Challenges — Coaching

Sales Leaders Top Challenges — Coaching

You're not an Avenger.

I know that is disappointing. Trust me, I'm disappointed, too. Who doesn't want to be a superhero? We all want to be the man or woman who swoops in to save the day, but that only gets to happen in a Marvel or DC movie.

In the real world, we don't have these types of superheroes.

But as much as I would like this blog to be about my favorite Marvel characters, that would not be the best use of your time or mine.

Stop Stepping In to Save the Day

When I say, "You're not an Avenger," what I'm saying is that as a sales manager, your job is NOT to save the day!

We've all been on sales calls with our reps when the salesperson starts to stumble, stutter, and slam on the breaks of a needs analysis meeting. Our first response is to grab the steering wheel and keep the car from driving off the proverbial cliff.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Coaching Salespeople

We want to swoop in our Ironman suit or Captain Marvel spandex and save the day, the appointment, and our sales rep, right?

That's what a good sales manager is supposed to do, right?

WRONG!

Yes, I said wrong. That is not a typo.

If you step in and "save the day," you may be temporarily helping your sales rep, but you're not helping them in the long run. Our goal as sales managers is to develop talent and train them so that they can "save the day" themselves.

You have to be able to replicate yourself, your skills, your experience in the salespeople who work for you. You can't be the only superstar on your staff. You can't be the only person who can do a needs analysis, make a presentation, or close new business. If you are, then you're the biggest bottleneck in your sales organization. 

3 Ways to Develop Salespeople Through Coaching

Your time is best spent when you're transferring your expertise into your salespeople. The best way to develop your salespeople is by not flying in to be the hero but rather to sit back, observe, and coach. So, here are three ways that you can develop your people through coaching:

1. Go on Sales Calls — Yes, I know that you're already doing this, but I want you to be strategic with your calls. You should schedule a full day of calls with the same salesperson. You should do this every week with a different salesperson. Have the rep schedule needs analysis meetings, presentations, and key account meetings. Your goal is to see them in various situations so that you can get a better understanding of their skills. 

2. Observe — Yes, observe. You will not be an active participant. You're there to observe your rep as they lead the meeting, the needs analysis, or the presentation. You must keep yourself from jumping in when things start to go sideways. Yes, that's hard, but if you swoop in the "save the day," you're not teaching them anything other than to rely on you. That is not a good long-term strategy to develop talent. 

3. Provide Feedback — This is the key element in coaching. You must schedule time for feedback on how the sales rep performed in the meetings. If you're riding together from appointment to appointment, time in the car is an excellent opportunity to provide feedback. If you're not, then schedule a time to provide feedback. When you're providing feedback, you should follow this simple, straightforward style:

  • Tell them 3 things that they did well in each appointment.
  • Tell them 1 thing that they did do that they should avoid during their next meeting
  • Tell them 1 thing that they did not do that they should do in their next meeting.

By being proactive in your sales coaching process, you'll develop better, well-trained sales reps that will be more successful without you having to play the role of an Avenger. 

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Topics: sales coaching