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Achieving Sales Team Excellence with a Coaching Culture

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Mar 08, 2024

Most sales managers spend less than 10% of their time on coaching, and only one third of managers actually coach their people on a weekly basis. Yet, the Coaching Competency is the most critical part of a sales manager's responsibilities; it is also the most difficult skill set to learn and master. There are many reasons for this, but among them are: the managers themselves were not coached or they had a bad experience with coaching; they were elevated to a team lead or manager position based on their sales success and not their coaching performance; and they have not had any coaching training, either formal or informal. The have no best practices or systems and processes to help them succeed.

Some sales managers believe that coaching means helping salespeople with pricing and technical questions on an ad hoc basis but these discussions, while valuable, do not focus on skill development. Effective coaching involves scheduling multiple coaching conversations with salespeople each week to improve their skills and help them win more sales. This is called Intentional Coaching and is the path to building a sales coaching culture.

The good news is that there are concrete steps managers can take to initiate high-touch coaching that will help develop the necessary sales skills in their salespeople and contribute to a coaching culture that will lead to sales team excellence. These must be executed well and consistently of course, to make an impact.

  1. Consistent and Frequent Coaching executed well, will lead to improved skills and bottom- line impact.
  2. Effective Debriefs on a regular basis, focusing on why they got a particular outcome and working backward to uncover the causes.
  3. Asking Enough Questions and understanding the importance of not dominating the conversation, by frequently asking questions.  Just as in selling, successful coaching requires frequent question-asking.
  4. No Need for Approval from your salespeople, meaning you aren't overly concerned with whether your salespeople like you, which allows you to coach them to be more effective.
  5. Able to Stay in the Moment while selling, you may find yourself becoming emotionally involved in situations, causing you to listen to your own inner voice instead of the customer. By improving this tendency, you will be able to more effectively coach your salespeople.
  6. Having and Coaching to an Effective Sales Process will help you address areas for growth in your salespeople.
  7. Passion for Coaching is possibly the most important component and as a coach, you must have a true inner passion to develop others to perform at their very best.
  8. Beliefs Support Coaching meaning you strongly believe in the role and importance of coaching.
  9. Uncovers Compelling Reasons to Buy while selling, you have been effective at uncovering prospects' compelling reasons to buy. As this is a critical factor in Consultative Selling, this makes you a more effective coach to your salespeople.
  10. Knows How People Buy involves developing a strength in getting prospects to tell you how they will reach a buying decision which allows you to coach your salespeople to be more effective.
  11. Doesn't Rescue the Salespeople means you are willing to let your salespeople fail giving them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
  12. Effective at Getting Commitments means you are adept at getting your prospects to agree when they will make a decision. By improving your personal skills in this area, you will be able to coach your salespeople to be better at it as well.
  13. Handles Joint Sales Calls Effectively means you go on joint calls, avoid heavy participation in the call and instead observe the call and then provide coaching feedback.

Here is the unfortunate truth. New sales managers, as well as the companies who promote them, believe that the very things that made them successful salespeople will make them successful sales managers. Then, continuing that belief into a sales manager’s tenure, sales managers don’t ask for and aren’t offered sales management training and coaching which emphasizes how to coach salespeople. As a result, new and growing sales managers must rely on the sales manager they reported to when they were in a sales role for what sales management is supposed to look like. That of course leads back to the beginning of this article that states the problem, less than 10% of a sales managers’ time is spent coaching their salespeople. To achieve sales team excellence and build a coaching culture, companies must put specific coaching activities in place consistently, and provide development opportunities for their sales coaches to achieve excellence in their role.

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Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, achieving sales success, sales training tips, sales team excellence, coaching culture


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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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