Sales Coaching Doesn't Have to Take Long!

Posted on 11/06/2014 in Sales Coaching

We repeatedly hear comments from sales managers such as:  
 "I know that coaching is important but I don't have enough time to coach."
 "Because I have limited coaching time, I only coach my poorer performers."
 "How much time should I spend coaching?" 
What can possibly be more important than developing the skills of your salespeople to sell more effectively? Coaching salespeople is the most important part of a sales manager’s job. Here are some practical tips and guidelines to help you spend more quality time on coaching:
  1. You don’t have to spend a lot of time coaching.  (In fact, a study by the Sales Excellence Council demonstrated a 17% increase in performance for those coached more than three hours per month, as compared to those coached less than two hours per month). For sake of an example, if we assume that you manage a team of 4 to 5 people, this means that your total coaching time per month would be 15 hours or less.  If you allocate your total coaching time per month into daily or weekly coaching events, you should be able to reserve that time without taking away from your other responsibilities.

  2. Do a series of bite-sized coaching sessions.  A 15-minute conversation or meeting with an individual salesperson can be used as a focused coaching opportunity.  For example, when debriefing a joint sales call during which an objection came up, use the time to ask the salesperson questions such as, "What are some other ways that you could have responded to that objection?”

    The point that we’re trying to make is that you likely have a lot of opportunities each day to do a series of 15-minute coaching conversations. We don’t expect you, or encourage you, to spend three consecutive hours coaching a salesperson.  A series of shorter coaching conversations is better than one long coaching session.

  3. Some of your people don’t need as much coaching time as others.  Recall that a common mistake is for a sales manager to only coach his/her poorer performers.  We want you to spend time coaching everyone, including encouragement, praise, and motivation with your top performers. A little bit of coaching time with top performers will go a long way.

  4. Some coaching can be done with your entire sales team rather than individually.  For example, at one of your regular sales meeting, consider doing some focused skill-building.  STAR’s Sales Meeting Kits are a do-it-yourself resource that would allow you to do this in a time-efficient way.