The skills required to manage a sales team, or multiple sales teams effectively, are very different from the skills used by successful sales people, folks you might term as individual contributors.
Most sales leaders that I coach struggle with time and priority management, coaching sales skills, and advancing key deals.
Let’s consider these.
Time and Priority Management
When I teach and coach sales leaders, and focus on how they can best coach their teams, the response I hear most is … “I don’t have time for that given everything else I have to do.” This is scary!
Coaching teams is the job, not just something else to fit in to a busy schedule dominated by urgent requests from the boss and mindless tasks from ‘corporate’. It seems that the further you progress in your career, the less you use basic skills of priority management.
Maybe it’s time to stop and refresh on the simple principles of the time matrix. I am going to refer here to the Time Matrix from FranklinCovey, probably the leading authority on this subject. Their simple approach, shown in this diagram divides time utilisation into 4 clear categories. The diagram is self-explanatory.
Where do you spend your time?
If you don’t have time to coach, something has to give! Reflect on the past month and put a rough % of time you spent in each quadrant – they have to add up to 100%.
What is this telling you? How many ‘NOT IMPORTANT’ tasks can you avoid in order to make more time for the IMPORTANT and NOT URGENT quadrant?
Coaching People on Skills and Tools
The challenge I see most, is where an organisation has invested in sales training and great tools to drive efficiency and success… and the sales leader is unable to master the skills and tools themselves, let alone coach their teams to do just that.
And then there’s the coaching itself. Great sales leaders know the difference between coaching and ‘telling’, and they also know which team members to invest their coaching time in for maximum return.
Find a coaching format that works for you and use it consistently, by which I mean daily with all of your team. My favourite coaching approach, which I would strongly recommend is GROW coaching from Inside Our Development: https://www.smcov.com/insideout-development
Advancing Deals with the Team
Notice I said ‘with’ the team and not ‘for’ the team. The key difference here is what happens when a leader uses a proven coaching methodology to advance opportunities, rather than just telling the team how he or she would do it or has done it in the past.
That information may be useful, but just ‘heaping’ it on people as an instruction does little to develop skills of the team… or reduce dependency on you the leader.