What's more important -- sales coaching abilities or spending enough time coaching?

Posted by John Pattison on Sep 7, 2018 10:51:00 AM



One of my roles as COO of Objective Management Group is to be the wrangler of the data we have from assessing nearly 1.8 million salespeople, and in doing so finding new ways to build data models that can help fuel our research. One of recent interesting data models I constructed allows us to dig into the correlation between our Sales Management Evaluation data and the Sales Evaluation data of the salespeople who report to those sales managers.

Before we continue... If you haven't read Dave Kurlan's article from September 6, 2018, Finally! Science Reveals the Actual Impact of Sales Coaching, take a quick detour and do so. Dave lays out the data showing that sales managers who devote at least 50% of their time to coaching have salespeople whose Sales Percentile is 28% higher than those managers who devoted little to none of their time coaching.

Reading this article, it got me curious about something... Clearly, the time a sales manager spends coaching has a HUGE correlation to the abilities of his/her salespeople. But what about the sales manager's coaching abilities?

How much of a difference do a sales manager's coaching skills make in the abilities of the salespeople, and is that impact greater or lesser than the impact of time spent coaching?

Here's a copy of the data from Dave's article, and I've added a column on the right (the gray numbers) showing the percentage increase in the score between sales managers that spend little to no time coaching and sales managers who spend a substantial amount of time coaching.


I went back to our data and sliced it this time by the Coaching Skills of the sales managers -- lumped into categories of Strong, Fair, and Weak -- and pulled the same attributes from the salespeople that we have above.


Just like we saw with Coaching Time, there's a direct correlation between Coaching Skills and the abilities of the salespeople.

Salespeople reporting to sales managers with strong Coaching Skills tend to have a 16% higher Sales Percentile than those reporting to sales managers with weak Coaching Skills.

That 16% increase from Coaching Skills is fantastic, but it's a bit smaller than the 28% increase from Coaching Time. To be honest, this disappointed me a bit, because I know how much harder it is to increase a sales manager's coaching skills than to simply encourage them to coach more.

And then I thought of one more way to run the data... And that's when the true magic showed up...

This table shows the salesperson data for sales managers who coach very little AND have weak skills, compared to sales managers who coach extensively AND have strong coaching skills.


Sales managers with great coaching skills who also spend extensive time coaching have salespeople whose Sales Percentile is 49% higher than salespeople reporting to managers with weak coaching skills who also spend very little time coaching.

Neat, right? But the math is even a little neater. Remember Dave's 28% increase from spending extensive time coaching. And remember my 16% increase from having strong coaching skills. Well, if you take a 28% increase and add to it a 16% increase, you only get 44%. But we're seeing 49%, which means that there is an ADDITIONAL 5% increase that happens from the COMBINATION of time spent coaching and having great coaching skills.

Want to see more great statistics, and even learn for free how your salespeople compare to the other 1.8 million salespeople we have assessed? Head over to OMG's free online statistics tool, and you can not only see the average Sales Core Competency scores for your industry, but also sign up to have your sales team complete our online questionnaire to see how your team compares.



About John

John Pattison is the Chief Operating Officer of Objective Management Group, responsible for the day-to day-operation of the company, along with driving and supervising the development and support of OMG's suite of sales-specific assessment tools.

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