Strong managers are the driving force behind best-in-class sales organizations. When you have people who are enabled to drive success from each rep, you have a sales team that will shatter sales records. Developing the coaching skills of front-line managers sparks a trickle-down effect that contributes to optimized productivity by your reps.
To maximize the returns of every sales team in your organization, here are some tangible strategies to follow:
1. Clarify Critical Benchmarks and Accountability
The best sales coaches understand the high-value activities that should be encompassing their time. Uncertainty about what's important means less time spent selling overall for the sales organization, and for sales managers it hinders their ability to emphasize those points for their own reps.
Top leadership has clear goals on what they want the organization to achieve. The key is that those goals are translated into actionable steps with the front-line managers. [Senior Delivery Partner Brian Walsh has a great post on this very topic here.] If revenue is down, the action item shouldn't be to make double the calls a day. That's going to create a fire drill and an environment where reps are merely focused on dials and not having meaningful sales conversations.
2. Use a Structured Coaching and Communication Plan
The best sales coaches have an organized and structured plan for reviewing opportunities and communicating feedback. This plan includes specific goals for each stage in the selling process, along with steps for evaluating and coaching for improvement.
A great sales coach should have a consistent cadence for monitoring performance, reviewing processes with reps and coaching for improvement. This coaching rhtyhm should also include common development strategies, such as reviewing meetings and role playing.
3. Remember the Buyer
The best sales coaches put the focus on what's most important - the buyer. The key to make sure this focus happens is to develop tools that allow them to easily understand the landscape in individual reps' accounts and territories. Standardized tools like opportunity review templates, territory templates and pre-call planners can ensure front-line managers are able to keep the buyer at the forefront of any rep reviews.
4. Give Purposeful and Actionable Feedback
The best sales coaches give their reps actionable feedback, which includes specific directions on the changes or adjustments a rep needs to make.
For instance, a rep that does well at generating leads but not converting sales might need specific guidance on how to better tie the solution to the business pain. Without offering tangible steps, the reps may know what to do, but they won't know how to do it.
Giving your sales managers the tools to drive accountability will create a team of people working consistently behind the same goal. When they're continuously reinforcing processes and best practices, you will not only build a team of great coaches, but one that's focused on bottom-line impact.