Sales coaching is only effective if the sales manager takes the time with their sales team to focus on coaching. I have learned that in making the commitment to coach my sales team, it could be one of the most time consuming activities but an activity that produces improved sales results and helps develops your sales team. Sales coaching is not a one time activity, but an activity that needs to be consistent, continual, prepared and planned out for it to be effective. Do you set aside time to coach your sales team?
HOW TO SET ASIDE TIME TO COACH THE SALES TEAM
How do you manage your time and your appointments? As a sales manager, we have many things coming at us at once and if we are not organized, things can pile up quickly and even the best sales managers have the best intentions of making time to actually coach their sales team. Now there is a difference between post visit coaching and reviews. I am talking about a prepared coaching session where questions are asked, goals are set and plans are made to have actions and follow up. Now if you are like me and use an Outlook calendar to plan your work day, week and month, do you book time with individuals on your sales team for coaching? I set aside at least one hour of coaching with each of my “coachable” team members. I treat these face to face or phone coaching sessions as an important meeting and spend hours preparing for the coaching session. Now remember that there is a difference between being a sales manager and a sales coach. You can be both, but be sure you understand what coaching is all about before claiming that you coach. Set aside time and make it a monthly activity with your sales team.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE SALES COACHING SESSION
I have created and used templates which include prepared questions I want to ask as well as forms to use to capture goals and a format and system to track and hold the sales team accountable for reaching goals they have set. Create your own questions and templates to reuse and create a folder on your computer to index and save for future use, it will really help save time and make your sales coaching preparation much more efficient.
I also prepare by reviewing notes from our past sales coaching session and try to have a continuation from our last sales coaching session. I use an online tool called CoachAccountable which helps by automating many follow up items by sending email reminders on dates set for action items. The actual sales coaching session might only take 1 to two hours but the preparation I take prior to the meeting take just about the same amount of time. With the tools and templates I have created, it helps saves time as I can reuse these in the future to fit the need for whatever goals the sales rep is trying to accomplish.
To gain the full benefit of sales coaching, be sure to consistently set aside time and book your sales team members for a prepared sales coaching session. You will gain the benefit of goal attainment, increased sales as well as developing your sales team to continually improve professionally and to help them reach any goal they set for themselves.