One of the biggest challenges most organisations have is to drive sustainable growth in revenue.
Effective coaching, by sales managers of their individual team members, is one of the best ways to address that challenge. It develops sustainable skills and capability of salespeople more effectively than formal training ever could.
In my last 3 discussions with sales management guru Bill Carson, we have been exploring sales coaching topics; Five facets of effective coaching, Coaching for sales performance and The Manager’s Role on a Sales Call.
However sales managers haven’t the time to ride along on too many sales calls. In this discussion we explore the importance of coaching pre and post a sales call. It is a very efficient and effective way to coach and enable the sales manager to spread their coaching time across a lot more salespeople and their activities.
In this discussion Bill outlines how sales managers can undertake re and post call coaching without going on the call itself – in fact it can be done remotely. He also emphasises the need to set time aside for lot’s of practice to cement the skills.
Watch or read the interview below to get insight into this efficient and effective approach to sales coaching
Bill Carson is an alchemist in Sales Mastery, Service Excellence and Personal Leadership. He provides Coaching, Training and Consulting.
John: Hello, I’m delighted to have Bill Carson with me again – welcome back, Bill!
Bill: Thanks, John!
John: Hey Bill, we had a great discussion last time about the role of the sales manager on a sales call with one of their people and how they go about managing that role, and as part of that we talked about planning that ahead of time. But of course a lot of calls that the salesperson does you as a sales manager are not going to be on, but for many of those calls you will get involved, in pre-planning and post planning or post reviewing, how the call went and doing the plan in the first place.
Bill: Yes, exactly.
John: How do you recommend sales managers go about that coaching process pre and post calls?
Bill: Yes. Well, sales managers are very busy so they can’t do it on all the calls that their salespeople have going on.
John: Why have salespeople if you’re going to do that?
Bill: Yes, exactly.
John: It’s really helping them build the skills of planning that call properly. Once they have the skills, you don’t need to do it all that often.
Bill: Yes, exactly. So, one of the powerful coaching roles sales managers can adopt is with their salespeople on, either one per week or a really important opportunity, and have a conversation with them, either by telephone or in the office, asking the salesperson to identify, “What’s your call objective? What’s the buyer action? What are you going to be asking for to move the buyer along? What are some of the questions that you’re going to drive?” and if necessary, do a little mini practice session there and then. Now, quality time needs to be set aside for this, this is not just in the car.
John: And if you’re going to do practice sessions, you’re absolutely right. And practice sessions are so vital, aren’t they?
John: That’s a real key part of the learning process.
Bill: Yes, absolutely.
John: I was talking with John Dougan the other day, and he had this 10-20-70 model. The 70 model was practice, transfer the knowledge and the skills the 10% and so on, ultimately down to really understanding… Like any coach in a sporting environment, most of the time you’re there getting the people to practice, you’re observing and so on. But it’s practice that ultimately then puts them into active function when you go on a call. And it happens, right?
John: So, the pre-calling and the post-calling is really involving that; it’s not just doing the planning, it’s then the practice.
Bill: Exactly. An example recently was a sales manager identified that a salesperson needed to improve the pre-call questions, so he said “Come back to me with five questions, shoot them, email them through to me, and then let’s have a quick discussion on those”. Then the salesperson went and did the call, and then the post-call conversation was, “Okay, how did those questions land? Which ones worked, which ones didn’t?” and from that, in this instance, some of them landed, some of them didn’t, so then they had a post-call conversation about that.John: And how they could’ve done it differently and what the options were and so on. Again, using the GROW model.
Bill: Yes, exactly – spot on. And if you map this to any sort of sporting activity, you’re looking at the differentiation around activity, around passing or around various skills, and it’s about building those over time.
Bill: Yes, absolutely. And it links to overall account planning and opportunity planning as well, but this is granulating down specifically into the skill.
John: The skill of planning the call and then doing the post-call coaching.
Bill: Yes, exactly.
John: Okay. Great message. I think to me, as a sales manager and even when I was a salesperson, it’s probably where I got most of the value out of being a sales manager, by really doing the pre- and post-call, and the post-call is so valuable. How did it go? What worked, what didn’t work? Let’s go through the GROW model to look at how you might’ve done it differently.
Bill: Absolutely. And I’ve seen the greatest gains from sales managers with their salespeople through practice.
John: Great point. Let’s end it there, and I look forward to coming back and having another discussion!
Bill: Thanks, John!
- “Guiding the buyers thinking journey”
- “Crafting a value proposition with our customer”
- “How good is your buyer’s business case?”
- “Five facets of effective coaching“
- “Coaching for sales performance”
- “The Manager’s Role on a Sales Call”
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