Written by Rob Malec
Using a sales coach might seem counterintuitive when the sales team reports directly to the business owner or sales manager. Consider a sales coach to be a force multiplier with a clearly identifiable ROI. If you want to increase revenue generation rapidly, then it’s time to engage the services of a sales coach.
Why Use a Sales Coach?
Here are a few specific signs to look out for when trying to answer the question, ‘Do I need to hire a sales coach?’.
The Business Owner is too Busy to Coach
If you are an early-stage business, it is likely you don’t have a sales manager. It’s also likely that you are wearing ten different hats and working eight days a week. Fires crop up, shiny objects appear, and you get pulled in many different directions on a minute-by-minute basis.
Effective sales coaching requires prep time, in-session focus, and post-session follow-up. Despite best intentions, overstretched business owners often just don’t have the bandwidth to apply to this task. It’s important to know when you need a sales manager.
The Sales Manager is too Busy to Coach
You may wonder, isn’t it the sales manager’s job to coach? Technically, yes. Practically, it can be a challenge. Much like the business owner, the sales manager may also be pulled in many directions.
Marketing, production, delivery, and accounting all vie for simultaneous attention – and may have been folded into the sales manager’s job role description. To some degree, knowing how to set your sales manager up for success can help. Even if you do so, rising sales team headcounts make coaching tough to accomplish. Beyond a head count of five salespeople, any sales manager is hard-pressed to meet their minimum weekly coaching goals.
Sales Managers May Lack Proven Methodology and Processes to be Effective Sales Coaches
The newly minted sales manager may be new to their role and still cutting their teeth. Identifying a sticking point with a salesperson or a sales process element is one thing but creating and seamlessly integrating an elegant solution is another.
Even experienced sales managers may not have all systems and processes documented. The absence of this infrastructure makes effective sales coaching difficult. It becomes tips and tactics focused rather than process & methodology focused. This results in the need for sales process and methodology training to be procured, which can be expensive.
Sales Managers and Business Owners May Not Be Good Teachers
We have all had excellent teachers in our lifetime – that person who “reaches us” and helps us break through a plateau. We have all also had teachers who were patently unsuccessful at doing so – and you’ve probably felt the frustration of investing time that you will never get back into a learning experience.
It’s often the case that the high-performing salesperson is promoted to sales manager. The logic is that because they can perform well, they can teach it to others. This logic is flawed. Because someone is a solid performer does not mean they are a good teacher or even enjoy teaching. Learning how to be an excellent sales teacher is necessary to get the coaching results you desire.
The Sales Team May Need More Bandwidth Than Those Parties Have Available to Commit
There are ways to be effective and efficient when implementing sales coaching. However, it is still time intensive. If the sales team is green, they will need a significant amount of coaching time in order to ramp up their productivity.
If the product or solution being sold is complex, the team will need focused attention being given to sales strategy creation learning. If ownership or sales management are busy in the ways outlined above, the time they have available to put into sales coaching simply may not be enough.
You Can’t Be a Prophet in Your Own House
You may have one of your team members come to you with a great new idea they heard from someone outside the organization, which turns out to be the exact same idea you had given them ten times before!
Objectivity and sound thinking packaged in a new way can be exciting and invigorating for a sales team. When sound ideas come from outside the organization, they have a level of street cred that homegrown ideas are not always afforded. This is yet another reason to hire a sales coach.
Is Sales Coaching Expensive?
Engaging the services of a sales coach does not need to be expensive. There are all manner of sales coaches to meet just about every learning need and training budget. Given the ROI on sales coaching services is so easily measured, you will quickly see if your investment is returning dividends.
You may even consider using a sales coach whose compensation is directly tied to the revenue the sales team generates. Such a commission program is natural, provides a clear incentive for all parties, and makes your sales coaching arrangement self-funding.
In my role as a Fractional VP of Sales, I’ve seen how effective sales coaching can transform businesses into predictable revenue-generating machines. If you’d like to discuss how sales coaching might be helpful for your organization, please feel free to contact me.