The 3 Most Compelling Reasons Sales Managers must be Coaches

So, you’ve learned how to coach your sales team from experts like Mark Roberge. But are you aware of just how much is on the line if you cut back or don’t dedicate the time to do a great job of it?

Coaching is the key to high quality sales managers. The sales model is changing: manager competencies did not used to include coaching, but the new model puts it at the forefront. Alarmingly, a lot of sales managers set themselves up for mediocrity or failure because they don’t prioritize developing inside sales skills in their reps. Here’s why sales coaching is the key to both a sales manager’s and a rep’s current and future success:

Increases Revenue

A well-coached sales team consistently outperforms their competition. The graph below from the Sales Executive Council makes the business case for why sales managers need to allot a significant amount of time for coaching in their schedule.

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Clearly, in order for coaching to influence goal-hitting, managers need to spend 3 or more hours per month with each individual rep. In today’s business world, great managing means great coaching – and reps reporting to great managers deliver 4 times more revenue than those working for poor managers.

Improves forecasting accuracy

Forecasting accuracy falls almost entirely on your sales reps. They come to you with their forecast and you are expected to assess and revise as needed before presenting it to the powers that be. Coaching your reps on their forecasting skills is a time investment that will pay off big time when they come to you with much more accurate forecasts that you can spend less time tweaking. If you have a rep with “happy ears,” meaning they tend to be too optimistic in their forecast, teach them how to look at each opportunity’s age, size, and stage in the pipeline to determine whether each belongs in the forecast. Good coaching will improve their data and performance analysis, and it will save you time in the future as they get better and better.

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Reps WANT to be coached

Sales reps report high levels of job satisfaction when they have great managers. Better coaching improves rep engagement, which helps with retention and therefore lowers costs for the company. Of sales reps that leave their roles, 70% cite poor manager quality as the main reason. Great managers significantly increase rep productivity and decrease turnover, loss of top talent, and replacement costs.

Don’t focus your coaching on exclusively low performers, otherwise your reps will learn to think of it as criticism. Instead, coach everyone differently depending on their experience and talent. Newer reps need to be taught, so walk them through the sales playbook and set up opportunities to shadow more experienced reps in calls, meetings, and demos. Reps that have been at the company longer needs to be coached based on their performance metrics. Turn to the data when possible to illustrate what activity or activities your rep needs to improve on to drive the point home.

Great sales coaching is a serious time commitment, but prioritizing it has proven, significant long-term benefits. Why else is sales coaching so important? How often do you coach your reps?

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