Are Your Sales Leaders Great Coaches?

Posted by Chris Mott on Wed, Apr 18, 2012 @ 09:04 AM

Leadership

I followed a discussion on LinkedIn recently, which started with this statement:

Many business owners and leaders that I speak to believe that “sales training doesn’t work.” What do you think?

If you read the comments, you’d see a range of thoughts, including, “Sales training is a must.”, “They likely have the wrong trainers.”, “Not all salespeople are trainable.” and “It works only when senior management is bought in.”  All of these statements are true particularly if you include the context.  What I found upsetting is that there was little reference to sales leadership.

In my experience, the majority of CEO’s do not come from sales.  They generally have finance, operations, technical, scientific or marketing backgrounds.  Many lack a full appreciation of professional sales, the nature of salespeople or seeing sales as less structured than other parts of the business.  Given this, it’s not surprising that when hiring a sales leader, they choose people who desire autonomy and operate well independently.

Objective Management Group’s research shows that only 7% of sales leaders are truly effective at coaching salespeople.  While shocking, this finding is not surprising when you consider that most sales leaders fail to invest enough time in this critical function.  Autonomous sales leaders were autonomous salespeople first. They operated with little assistance and intervention.  Imagine how much more productive they would have been if they had sales leaders with great coaching skills.  Since only 7% of sales leaders are effective coaches and they work for CEO’s whose core competencies are not in sales, building a high-performing sales organization is almost impossible without sales leadership training and development.

Sales leaders should spend 80% of their time on accountability, coaching, motivating, mentoring and recruiting.  A significant majority fails to invest this much time. Their approach to coaching (and I’m not knocking sales leaders) is to tell salespeople what they should do instead of helping them to discover the right strategy themselves.  They also frequently close the deal for them.  How can anyone learn without making mistakes and learning from them?

Kurlan and Associates, Inc. is hosting a two-day Sales Leadership Intensive at the Boston Marriot Long Wharf in May.  This program will focus on practical strategies and skill development for sales leaders.  Additional Information can be found by clicking here.

Topics: changing salespeople, best sales leadership training, better sales outcomes, coaching salespeople

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Sales Leadership Intensive

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