As a sales manager, you wear many hats. You assign accounts to your reps, you resolve interpersonal squabbles and you report numbers to the top dog in the corner office. If your days blur together and you feel like you’re trapped in the Groundhog Day movie, doing the same things over and over, you may be failing in an area that befuddles many managers: the need for sales accountability coaches.
The core mission of sales managers is to help reps make their numbers. And you’ve been doing your best, coaching reps in your one-on-ones. If one of your reps never has prospects show interest after a demo, you've probably sat in on one of their sessions and provided feedback. Maybe the rep is racing through the presentation and talking so much that the customer never has a chance to ask questions. You’ll pick up on the problem immediately. And you’ll be tempted to tell the rep exactly what’s wrong.
Don’t do it. When you interact like that, you’re teaching the rep to come to you to solve their problems. That approach can be reassuring for new reps, but some reps will never transition to independent thinking which should be your ultimate goal. The first step to being a sales accountability coach is to encourage reps to think about what they could have done better after they report that the prospect has moved on.
Establish a Self-Improvement Plan
The next step is to have them suggest the steps they’ll take to improve their demoing abilities. They might promise to practice in front of a co-worker or record themselves giving a demo. You can document their commitment and track it in the notes section of a sales coaching system. Encourage them to set specific goals about what they’ll change – such as frequently pausing to ask questions or changing the content on at least three slides to incorporate more prospect-friendly data points. During your weekly one-on-one meetings, ask them how they’re doing. Watch the videos they’ve made and offer feedback, making sure to point out what’s good.
Profile of Great Sales Accountability Coaches
Good sales accountability coaches, according to Kevin Davis, “adopt the mindset of a sales consultant.” Once you have allowed your rep to identify what they what to change and how they plan to go about the process, help them measure their progress. Achieving true change doesn’t come easily to everyone. Your rep will need your support if they don’t succeed at first. Your support can come in the form of acting like a sales consultant – talking through what they did wrong and what they’ll improve in the future. They may need to adjust more than one aspect of their demo process before they see lasting results. Encourage them to keep trying.
As you coach your reps within this framework, they’ll think of you as “someone who is truly committed to their success” instead of as someone who is always telling them what to do. When you show them improving numbers for their demo-to-close ratios over a period of several months, they’ll see that their hard work has made a difference and you’ll know you’re one of the good sales accountability coaches. If you struggle with this part of your job, sign up for sales manager training.
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