Raise Your Professional Profile? Invest Time In Sales Coaching

As a sales leader, you could be forgiven for believing that the top priority for someone in your position is to generate sales. In reality, however, those who truly stand out as sales leaders understand that the most important aspect of the job is actually to create a team of effective salespeople and this requires a systematic approach to coaching.

You do not need to look very hard to find data supporting the value of sales coaching. For example, in 2015, CSO Insights published data showing a direct correlation between the quality of sales coaching in an organisation and the number of sales reps who achieve quota. In organisations with great coaching, the figure was more than 94 percent.

Nevertheless, coaching remains a neglected aspect of the job, often taking a back seat to more typical ‘managerial’ tasks like report writing or sales forecasting. On the plus side, the willingness of sales leaders to overlook coaching presents a great opportunity for you to raise your professional managerial profile by actually investing time in it and exceed expectations.

The Benefits of Coaching

One of the most common explanations for why sales leaders neglect their coaching duties is because they do not really understand the benefits, especially when sales reps already receive high quality sales training. Yet, coaching can help to reinforce that information, while also providing reps with a strategy to put it into action.

A study carried out by Neil Rackham found that there is an 87 percent knowledge drop-off rate from sales training that is not followed up by coached reinforcement activities. To put that into perspective, without coaching, 87 pence from every pound spent on training is effectively wasted, because it provides no long-term value.

This means that, by spending extra time on your coaching duties, you can save your business money, help reps to put newly learned information into practice and improve the overall performance of your team. Ultimately, that improved performance is one of the best ways to stand out and raise your own profile.

Investing Time in Coaching

Of course, the other excuses that sales leaders offer up for their lack of coaching include not knowing how to coach and not having the time to coach, due to the time being taken up by other responsibilities. The former may be a valid excuse, although it can be addressed fairly easily, while the latter is not necessarily to your advantage as it highlights poor time management, a lack of organisational skills and, above all, an unwillingness to think outside the box by trying a new approach.

Certainly, it is true that not all of those promoted to sales leaders positions are naturally great at coaching, but this is why sales coach training programmes exist. With that said, coaching does not need to be over complicated either. Help your reps to define clear selling goals. Give them your own personal advice. Use metrics to monitor their performance and have regular meetings to agree on areas to improve and actions they can take to do so.

If, on the other hand, you feel you do not have enough time, you simply need to make some. Very few things will help you to stand out as an expert quite like coaching and that expertise will be demonstrated in the improved results. This will then boost your own personal profile, helping to set you up for your next career step.

For further cutting-edge advice on sales management best practice and advice, join the Miler Heiman Group’s team at their next Sales Leadership Series in London or Berlin in Spring 2017. Early registration is advised to avoid disappointment.