When was the last time you checked out how true sales leaders coach? Last year? Five years ago? If so, it’s time for a wake-up call. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we all work.
Your reps need coaching from you more than ever before. Craig Wortmann, a clinical professor of entrepreneurship and founder of the Kellogg Sales Institute, says, “Coaching is always important, of course, but now is make-or-break time.”
To be a true sales leader during these challenging times is to stay in touch with what’s happening. If your reps continue to work from a remote location and call on prospects with email and video tools, they could be losing motivation. We have no guarantees that the business world will return to what it was before the pandemic and some of your team members may be struggling with that uncertainty. Reps who thrive on personal interaction, large group meetings and travel could be suffering from isolation.
Remember to reach out on a daily basis to see how these reps are doing. A quick video chat can work wonders. Some reps may tend to withdraw under challenging conditions. If you have that same tendency, set reminders on your calendar to reach out on a regular basis. This may sound like a ton of work. It is: unless you use a sales coaching management platform.
The best sales coaching management platforms contain the results of the sales skills assessment you and your reps have taken. With this data, you’ll know how you and every one of reps behave, at work and under stress. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to maintain this awareness and to change your behavior to give your reps the support they need.
Speaking of support, reps need to feel the love right now. Our economic situation means they are encountering closed doors and stalling tactics. They may start thinking that nothing they can do will make a difference when it comes to the bottom line. This kind of thinking will be especially prevalent among your most impatient reps. Remind them that they can focus on delivering value to prospects and accounts. Orders may be slow in coming now, but prospects and accounts will remember who has been reaching out and trying to help. When economic conditions improve, your reps will be in a good position to close new business.
For some reps, productivity may continue to take a hit this fall. Instead of sending their kids off to school, they’re faced with more months of monitoring academic assignments and breaking up sibling quarrels while trying to work. Don’t ignore the situation. Acknowledge it. Offer to help them set up a work schedule that allows them to succeed.
Your reps have always needed your feedback. Previously, some of this feedback happened in informal settings — in the break room or on the way to lunch. Your rep may have been waiting for the ‘right’ time to ask you a question. This waiting may have been motivated by their fear of looking ‘foolish’ or not wanting to bother you.
If they’re sitting in a remote work location, they may not ask you about something they want to know. When your reps are in a situation like this, they need more feedback from you. Feedback is a key aspect of how true sales leaders coach. With a sales coaching management platform, you can monitor every step of your reps' sales process efficiently.
When a rep needs to learn how to handle buyers who want to negotiate on the price of a contract, you might first coach them on putting together a proposal that shows value. In the next coaching assignment, before they meet with the prospect, ask them to summarize what they’ve said in the past to contacts who ask for a price break. Have them store their answer in the sales coaching management platform so you can review it together during your next session. You might also ask them to summarize a sales scenario when they successfully closed a deal for the original price. After reviewing their answers, praise them for the work they done so far, and encourage them to emphasize the right aspects during their upcoming conversation.
How True Sales Leaders Coach
Storing the details of your sessions in your sales coaching management platform allows you to track the progress of each sales rep. True sales leaders coach by bringing out the best in each of their sales reps.