I had the opportunity to co-host a webinar about the future of sales coaching with Jake Miller, senior product marketing manager at Allego. As part of the webinar, Jake shared some of Allego’s insights based on a survey the company conducted of nearly 300 sales reps, managers, and enablement leaders about sales coaching. One key takeaway from this survey (see chart below) is that the number 1 ask from sales reps was for more skills-based coaching.
This emphasis on closing deals also speaks to the short-term orientation of many managers and, in many cases, the organizations they work for. While closing business is certainly a priority, the leverage associated with coaching your team on the skills required to close more business themselves is compelling. As an example, if a manager has 10 sales reps carrying an annual sales quota of $1 million each, even a modest improvement in how they sell can improve overall sales volume and profitability.
It is also interesting that in our research with Selling Power (Hallmarks of High-Impact Sales Teams), we found that managers at sales organizations with the highest performing sales teams were nearly three times as likely to participate in a sales coaching program than managers with low performing teams. They also spent significantly more time (see chart below) coaching their reps. Unfortunately, we also discovered that most managers receive no training on coaching.
In our book The High-Impact Sales Manager, we refer to this paradigm as the sales manager time-trap and note in the introduction that the commitment required to manage, coach, and lead a team will require time and effort. The impact of making this investment (time and money), however, is significant because it allows managers to lead, coach, and inspire rather than tell and take over.
From a learning and development standpoint, this transition from chief problem solver to sales enabler can be achieved much more efficiently through sales enablement systems that support video-based microlearning, skill application exercises, and performance support tools.
Ultimately, sales coaching is the number 1 ask by sales reps and the best way for managers to develop and encourage sustainable selling skills improvement across their teams.