This one is for the enablement folks. Truth: I’m an enablement leader in my heart and soul.
I was just talking to an enablement leader friend who was really frustrated that they spent so many months building a robust training program – rolled it out beautifully – and had to hand their baby over to the sales manager to keep those skills alive. Which did not work…
I’m here to tell you why it’s not their fault.
I’ve been both an enablement leader and sales manager and can tell you that sales management is the busiest job in the world. We spend the bulk of our day fighting fires and there’s never been a learning emergency.
So if you’re an enablement or training leader and you’d like some tips to get sales managers to coach more often and keep rep skills alive, keep reading.
I’ve got 20 tips to help you increase the sales coaching focus at work. Below are my top 3 (get the rest at the bottom of this article).
#1 – Don’t expect them to do more work. As I said previously, sales management is the busiest job in the world. If you want them to coach, you’ve got to fit coaching into their jam-packed schedule. What meetings do sales managers have often? Rep performance 1:1s, pipeline meetings, team meetings, and sales huddles. You’ve got to find ways for your managers to keep rep skills alive during their existing meetings.
At Factor 8, we’ve built manager toolkits that have activities a sales manager can run during a sales huddle to keep skills alive after training.
#2 – Make it easy. If they need to build a deck, it’s not going to happen. If they need to create a process, it’s not going to happen. If they need to go on a scavenger hunt to find different information for the coaching session, it’s not going to happen. You’ve got to make it fast and easy for managers.
At Factor 8, we’ve created coaching guides for various rep skills that managers can easily use for skill reinforcement. They combine a cheat sheet of what “good” looks like, which questions to ask during coaching, and a ready-to-use worksheet that coaches both the will and the skill with an easy grading form.
#3 – Most managers don’t know what “coaching” means. Sure, they understand the definition, but they don’t know what it means to actually coach a rep and they definitely don’t know what “good” coaching looks like. That means you get a lot of things like this…
“Hey rep, let’s work on this deal.” You’ve been coached. ✔
“Hey team, what’s the forecast?” You’ve been coached. ✔
“Let me get on this call and help you close it.” You’ve been coached. ✔
Folks, this isn’t coaching. As enablement leaders, we know that.
So, in training hundreds of sales managers over the last few years, I’ve learned that it’s a tough skill, it’s not natural for sales managers, and they’re too nervous to do it (though they’ll never admit that last one out loud).
Just put yourself in their shoes. Imagine going to a top player and saying “Let me listen to your call and give you feedback on how to do it better.” Sounds terribly nerve-wracking, right?
That’s why we’ve got to address it and build confidence in their sales coaching, call coaching, and rep skill coaching skills.
If you haven’t taught your managers how to coach to build up their own confidence, it’s probably no surprise that you think they can be doing more coaching.
If you’d like to talk about more specific strategies or a particular issue you’re dealing with in making that connection with sales leadership so they really get behind enablement, I’m here to talk. Email me at LB@factor8.com.
Want more tips to increase the coaching focus at work?
Download our guide on “20 Ways To Increase Sales Coaching Focus At Work.”
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available for reps (and managers).