Great sales managers also coach.
The reality for many sales managers is that they are placed in a position where their top priorities are sales numbers. They inspect, analyze, report, and forecast numbers to improve accuracy and ultimately increase expectations.
Quite often, they are so immersed in their day-to-day focus, as well as other daily activities – like dealing with issues, answering calls and emails, attending meetings – that their time is ultimately counter-productive. Unfortunately, these types of sales managers are operating under a false sense of security as well as a false assumption. Even if these activities are done efficiently and effectively, are any of these activities significantly improving the productivity of their sales team? What kind of difference has their output made in their ability to achieve an objective?
Ironically for these managers, the exact opposite approach will net the biggest results. In reality, coaching and development has a longer lasting impact on the results the sales teams see.
Great sales managers make their teams stronger and more competitive in the future by investing in them long-term. They empower their teams and consider the time spent training, coaching and developing as a return on investment. The leverage of coaching is that it pays off with exponential results as each sales rep and team is increasingly more productive.
Talent development through coaching can be time intensive, difficult, and represent just one additional responsibility for a sales manager. But, when done right, it not only further develops each individual, it also replaces the time spent doing previously counterproductive activities. Therefore, talent development is a win-win.
Start by evaluating daily tasks in terms of their pay-off and return on investment. Learn how to proactively manage your schedule to eliminate what doesn’t bring a positive return. Dictate your schedule, and delegate what doesn’t belong on your plate.
As a proactive manager, effectively manage the actions of your team by developing a clear line of sight between sales actions, sales goals and their outcomes. This should ultimately lead to the achievement of these goals. Coach sales representatives and teams to improve and develop within the context of each situation and opportunity. Finally, focus your time on the early sales cycle when the most value can be created, and the resource of your time is most valuable.
While there is no magic formula, great sales managers know that developmental coaching is what will make a dramatic difference in sales output and lead to sustainable results.