Like any teacher, a sales coach is striving to help the sales rep and allow him or her to be the doer. Although the coaching session may focus on pre-call planning, post-call debrief, and lessons learned, the sales manager should ask questions of the sales rep. Insightful and precise questions can lead the rep to recognize how he or she needs to improve.
One of the goals of the questions is to get the sales rep to think more than one step ahead and get them to see the bigger picture.
The conversations and questions need to be “data driven and based on a company’s key performance indicators and not subjective,” says Sawchuk. “Very specific data can lead to a discussion and help the salesperson to understand why the issue exists.”
From there, the sales manager can offer suggestions about improvements, what to do, and what not to do. This type of discussion where the sales rep comes to his or her conclusion after seeing data is engaging and clear and can shorten the time period to get to the change.
With data, the salesperson’s weakest areas can be identified. So, regardless of what stage the rep is struggling with, coaching can help. The sales manager can base coaching on what the rep needs to improve upon.
“A sales rep can’t get better until they strengthen the weakest link of their skill set,” says Sawchuk.
Sales managers need to recognize the landscape change that is the market today. Just like in every other phase of life, technology is having an impact.
While sales reps in the past had all the information and shared it with customers, today that information can be gained from the internet. This means that sales reps are no longer product peddlers and order takers, but instead need to be consultative business experts. Their job is to help their customers understand and solve their key issues, reduce costs, reduce risks and increase sales for them. Sales reps need to understand their customers in a deeper way and can utilize data to do so.
Sales results aren’t the only things that suffer when sales managers fail to put in the time to coach their sales reps. Morale and engagement suffers, too, forcing employees to leave.
“When Millennials don’t get the attention they want and feel they need, they look around for other employment,” says Pancero. “When incomes and/or skills plateau, people look for a new job.”
So, a sales manager not only assembles the team, he or she impacts the longevity of the sales force.
Sales Managers Must Provide More Direction
Trust The Sales Process
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