Coaching the Coach: Key to Making it possible for the Sales Manager

by Vicki Arnold .

Organizations aiming to improve their sales pipeline and close more deals frequently concentrate on methods to much better equip and train their sales reps. This is a natural, commonsense approach and is definitely part of an efficient sales efficiency intervention. I’ve often quipped, however, that if I had a dollar to invest in a sales improvement initiative, I’d invest 75 cents on the sales supervisors. That’s hyperbole, to make a point, but there’s some real truth behind that statement.


The only way I’ve ever seen an organization really profit from a sales training investment and achieve a substantial ROI through much better sales outcomes, is to develop and execute what I call an effective learning system. Without going into great information, see the graphic listed below and consider how frequently your sales managers have to be engaged for such a system to produce genuine lead to the field.

Consider the list below truths about frontline sales managers:

They are a great source of training material (usually they were top sales manufacturers).

They have to buy-in to the training material you’ll teach reps.

They ought to go to training to learn exactly what their reps will learn as deeply as the reps.

They should also participate in training with their reps to offer training support.

They need to examine the efficiency support materials you develop, to assist the reps and aid with rep skill transfer.

They should attend coaching training to prepare them to coach their reps to mastery, as successfully as possible.

They have to react properly to analytics and reports about learning metrics and sales efficiency.

They must manage rep expectations, behaviors and results (performance management).

They have to drive behavior change with reps on the front lines to enhance sales outcomes.

a2That s a lot of engagement? The fact is that modification (specifically with incumbent representatives) hardly ever occurs on the cutting edge of a sales organization without constant sales manager participation till the modification is cemented. Sales supervisors are frequently consumed with examining and reporting on numbers to senior leadership, involved in chance management or selling personally, unclear about the top priority and expectations for coaching, and over-burdened with non-coaching jobs. The result: They are entrusted little time to concentrate on training reinforcement and sales coaching throughout and after the onboarding procedure, along with for other training initiatives.

The difficulty ends up being how do organizations help their supervisors become better coaches and coach more frequently? There are multiple answers to this question, consisting of eliminating cultural barriers to training and releasing up the time through disciplined prioritization. However, the solution we’ll concentrate on here is the power of training the coach.

Coaching the Sales Coach.

Managers are people too, and they work inside complex, busy organizations with contrasting priorities much like reps. What’s more, managers are simply as not likely to swap their own habits and end up being more reliable without the very same kind of support. We frequently ignore this factor and expect supervisors to just do it after training.

For that reason, it is equally vital if not to establish purposeful prepare for understanding sustainment, skills transfer, and coaching to mastery for your sales supervisors (aka the coaches). Simply put, it’s time to coach the sales coach. Here are some ideas you may find useful as you consider how to do this in your organization.

Communicate expectations: Set clear expectations and objectives, and offer managers with the ability to concentrate on fulfilling them.

Reproduce the very best: Study top-producing supervisors in order to assist others reproduce exactly what they are doing differently to drive much better results.

Totally free manager time: Coaching is a high-priority activity and gets outcomes. Supply supervisors with time to evaluate group and individual result in search for behavior patterns and performance spaces, to efficiently coach toward closing the spaces.

Foster coaching quality: Select a coaching model that is shown reliable. Look for one that is behavioral-based (for developmental coaching), with a method to engage the reps in the analysis of their outcomes, activities, and techniques (habits), in addition to the co-creation of the very best solution and an action strategy to execute it.


Take advantage of technology: There are virtual coaching items and other sales management e-tools and apps that can support training, boost manager performance, and enhance their training effectiveness. This ought to belong to your general sales enablement and sales manager enablement technique.

Increase a level: Provide training and performance assistance for the manager’s manager to help him or her coach the frontline sales managers on executing exactly what they’ve been taught, specifically ways to enhance, sustain, move, and coach their reps better.

Manage expectations: In addition to developing expectations into the management by objectives (MBOs) and efficiency plans for frontline sales supervisors, develop the coaching the coach expectation into the senior leadership roles with efficiency management components and MBOs.

Gain leadership assistance: Have senior leaders buy-in (top-down support) for all of this and develop measures and reports, so leaders can examine what they expect.

Contract out for more support: Provide expert help for sales supervisors from the outdoors (sometimes more reasonable). Try to find individuals who can deal with the supervisors over a period of time (weekly or biweekly for at least one quarter or longer).

Bottom line: Behavior change is a procedure, not an occasion. Consider executive training for the senior leaders and for those who coach frontline sales supervisors. If you aren’t currently coaching your sales coaches or thinking about how to provide added support for sales supervisors, I hope this post has actually offered you with food for thought and some concepts to obtain begun. As constantly, I’d delight in hearing your feedback in the Comments section.