In today’s sales environment—where product and service solutions and customer relationships are growing more complex—there is an increasing need to continually raise the skill level of salespeople. Managers play a critical role in making sure those skills are learned and used.
Statistics speak loudly that manager support/coaching is the number one action that can amplify organizational sales performance:
Organizations can gain a 29% increase in topline salesforce performance due to the skills of sales managers, independent of the skills of their salespeople.1
Manager coaching has a great impact on performance over and above the impact of training alone. In our study, while just training salespeople resulted in a 43% improvement in performance, when manager coaching was added, overall performance improved 67%, a 24% improvement over training alone.2
Unfortunately, sales manager coaching is at an all-time low, resulting in as much as 85% of sales skills never being used to drive performance.
Why aren’t sales managers dialing up the decibels?
Barriers to Coaching Effectiveness
The reason managers are not dialing up the decibels is there are significant barriers buffering sales managers’ effectiveness in coaching and supporting their salespeople. Our research and experience shows the primary barriers to sales manager coaching can be summarized by three NO’s:
- No Time
- No Skills
- No Motivation
No Time: Real or perceived, the number one reason managers give for not coaching more is they simply don’t have the time. What are they doing? Closing deals for salespeople, tracking performance, writing forecasts, and dealing with complaints from customers and executives. The thought of a lengthy coaching session with their salespeople is daunting to busy sales managers.
No Skills: Most organizations elevate their superstar salespeople into the management rank and expect the same degree of success as a manager, but often without a process to prepare them to coach. But the worlds of the salesperson and the sales manager are very different, as the chart below shows.
As a result, many sales managers fall back on the skills they know best—taking over sales at the least sign of trouble, becoming the “super closer” and “Heroic Sales Manager.”