Sales coaching is one of the best ways to improve your sales team. While sales training focuses more on overall development of the entire team, sales coaching is much more personalized. It involves working with sales reps individually to help them improve their confidence and skills. When professionals work on teams with a strong sales coaching culture, they develop the mindset and resilience to succeed in their roles. They know that their company cares about them as individuals — not just how much money they can generate.

Author and sales expert, Kevin F. Davis, says a sales coaching culture is built upon each manager’s mindset to proactively apply leadership skills to develop each salesperson to their maximum potential. To achieve this kind of culture, leaders must overcome some common obstacles. We discuss Davis’ thoughts on these hurdles and his tips for overcoming them in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Roadblock No. 1: Senior leaders are overly results-oriented. It’s tough to create a sales coaching culture when everybody from the top down is under pressure to get results. Here’s the thing, though — results are a byproduct of the skills and activities that achieved those results, Davis says. Don’t count on improving by only focusing on results. You must improve what salespeople do and how well they do it if you want to see better results.

Roadblock No. 2: Sales coaching is a fuzzy concept. Many companies don’t clearly outline their expectations for sales coaching. Managers don’t know how much time they should spend on coaching or how often they should engage in coaching conversations. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, Davis says.

Roadblock No. 3: Sales managers don’t make time for coaching. When leaders already have full plates, it can be challenging to fit in coaching. Oftentimes, though, managers are reacting to what they think are urgent requests rather than being proactive in helping develop their team’s knowledge and skills, Davis says.

So, what can leaders do? Here are two of Davis’ suggestions:

Refocus on the early stages of the sales cycle. Davis recommends creating some questions that sales reps should be able to answer during the initial stages. Then, train sales managers to ask salespeople those questions. Be sure sales managers are engaging in daily and proactive sales coaching.

Create coaching standards. Sales leaders should provide clarity around what needs to be discussed and how often they have conversations with their team members. Davis says it’s important to set a realistic goal so you’re not starting an initiative that you can’t sustain.

All sales leaders want their team to be as successful as possible. By creating a sales coaching culture, managers can provide the kind of intentional, personalized guidance that can make their sales reps — and their entire organization — stronger. By learning to steer around the obstacles above, sales leaders are on their way to the kind of culture they envision.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Kevin F. Davis is the author of The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness, which was named an Axiom Business Book Award Winner. Kevin is also the author of Slow Down, Sell Faster!