A Sales Manager’s Job
Is to Hire Sales Coaches, Not Be One
Sales coaching…It’s an incredibly powerful, yet often underutilized tool that has the ability to make sales teams go from good to great.
What does a sales coach do, exactly?
To put it simply, the expertise of a sales coach can range from being a generalist who helps sales professionals and sales leaders grow in all aspects of their career, to being a specialist who focuses on helping sales professionals perfect just one aspect of their craft.
Sounds a lot like a what a sales manager does, right?
A sales manager provides the members of their team with the very basic tools required for successful selling. The tools provided by a sales manager might include product knowledge, training in how to navigate the internal or political workings of the company, and negotiating power with a fulfillment team or the marketing department.
From there a sales coach can step in and help individual sales professional to apply those tools in the most effective manner and combination relative to their personal strengths and personality.
To the benefit of a sales manager and a sale professional, it is a sales coach’s job to ensure the available components of sales enablement and human capital are fully utilized in service of a company’s maximum revenue potential.
Let’s take a look at the story of Hubspot’s VP of Sales, Pete Caputa.
After launching his own software startup years ago, it wasn’t long before he was struggling financially due to lack of sales knowledge and proper implementation. This prompted him to hire his first sales coach and within twelve months, he went from generating $30,000 to over $100,000 in sales. Talk about a success story!
Hiring that coach made such a massive difference for Pete – with his mindset, money, and his business overall. Because of that he is now a huge advocate and firm believer in the value of hiring external sales coaches.
“A strong external sales coach will help you close deals in the short term, gain skills for the long term, and overcome weaknesses that might be holding you back from being a rock star. They’ll give you guidance as well as tough love,” Pete says.
3 Reasons Every Sales Manager
Should be Hiring Sales Coaches
For Their Team
1. Sales Coaches Offer a Fresh Outside Perspective
Involving an extra set of eyes within your business can be incredibly beneficial regardless of what industry you’re working in – no secret there.
In the grand scheme of things, it is ideal for the long term growth and improvement of a business to regularly bring in a third party consultant. Having an outside, neutral perspective provides a new lens through which to view the systems at work and the people carrying out these processes.
Business consulting firm, Basal Solutions, LLC puts it well: “Outside business consultants provide objectivity when assessing situations both internal and external to the business. The leaders in your organization can sometimes be consumed with matters that are more pressing and ignoring more subtle issues.”
The founder of Devote Business Development, Vernon Standing also offers some fresh insight on the topic; “Studies show that companies that hire help from the outside perform better than those that don’t. A consultant will offer a fresh perspective and unbiased opinions or ideas. This shows how important an outside perspective is to a company’s growth and performance.”
Additionally, contracting with a sales coach is beneficial because they will typically be up-to-date and knowledgeable about the current sales landscape. Buyer behavior and sales best-practices are constantly changing and evolving. An effective sales coach will be able to incorporate and utilize this knowledge in their practice and apply it to your business.
Sales coaches bring a very diverse background, toolkit of tactics, and wealth of knowledge to the table that can be successfully implemented across many different industries. They can lend a helping hand by sharing new strategies, whereas a sales manager is often formally trained only in whatever it is the company has taught him or her.
2. Sales Managers and Business Owners Alike Simply Don’t Have the Time
By most definitions, a sales manager’s responsibility is to set sales quotas, build a sales plan, analyze data, assign sales training and sales territories, mentor the members of her sales team and be involved in the hiring and firing process.
A typical day in the life of a sales manager includes tracking performance metrics, fine tuning product market-fit and pricing strategies, forecasting reports for upper management, and putting out customer service fires.
When there are so many different tasks on their to-do list waiting to be checked off, they often can’t be physically present to do the regular training and career coaching that is needed to keep their team firing on all cylinders.
The reality of it is that they’re just too bogged down with their day-to-day tasks to focus on the coaching and mentoring side of things.
Sure, every sales manager hopes that their team is comprised of efficient, productive, and successful members. It can be very difficult however, for even the greatest and most talented of leaders to do so with passion and vision when there are so many different demands being placed on them simultaneously.
This is where a coach comes in. Outside sales coaches can mentor and motivate with passion because they don’t have to weighed down by matters of product market-fit or having to put out customer service fires. This allows them to focus on the big picture; the nuance of driving sales that managers are too busy to give the necessary attention to.
I recently sat down to speak with a friend of mine, Alanna, who works in sales. She obtained an entry-level position immediately following college, and has been working in the field ever since.
With experience in the healthcare and hospitality industries, I wanted to ask for her input on the matter. I quickly found that she felt she would’ve had a leg up had she been provided access to a sales coach.
She looks back on entering the field armed with study materials and PowerPoint slides, but no access to coaching up to this point in her career.
This is what she had to say –
“Reflecting on the positions I’ve held over the last few years, I really would have liked to work with a coach prior to being put out in the field. It definitely would have allowed me to be much better equipped with the best techniques to use to attain my sales goals.
A coach is there to help you attain your goals and hold you accountable for meeting them rather than a manager who is setting goals for you and flat-out expecting that you reach them.”
3. Sales Professionals Are More Honest with People Who Can’t Fire Them
Sales professionals don’t always show improvement for the simple reason that they are afraid to be honest with their boss on why it is that they are under performing.
What if their honesty exposes incompetence?
What if they say something wrong?
Could it get them FIRED?
“A lot of my individual sales reps, they will come to me and say, ‘Jim – I’m really having a hard time getting past gatekeepers when I’m doing my cold-calls. Can you help me out with that?’
And they come to me because they are too afraid to take that to their sales manager, because they believe their sales manager will say, ‘Well – Wes, if that’s the case you better figure it out or I’ll find someone who can.’ So they kind of confide in me.”
Whether justified or not sales professionals everywhere share this fear, but a coach contracted from outside of the company they work in can provide a safe place the sales professionals needs to actually allow professional growth take place.
Now, I’d love to hear from you guys!
Have you worked with a sales coach before?
If so, was it effective and helpful in your own experience?
Did it transform your performance, or make a difference in reaching sales targets?
Le t me know in the comments!
About The Author of This Article: Asia Adams is a social media manager and blogger living in Phoenix, Arizona with her fiance and menagerie of rescued animals. Check out her blog, DreamsToPlans.com, where she writes about all things entrepreneurship, location independence, and travel.
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