Do you ever feel like most of your days are spent going to meetings, assembling information for reports, and putting out fires? Do you wish you had more time to focus on the things that will make the biggest impact?
What if you had more time each day to spend coaching your salespeople to close business? Just one more hour a day would be an extra 250 hours a year. How much would that increase your sales? Would it be 15, 25, or 50 percent?
So how much time did you spend coaching your salespeople to close business this week?
Not enough, would be the answer from most of you.
If you get to the end of a week and wonder why you didn’t have time to do the coaching your sales reps needed to close business or to the end of the month and panic because your team isn’t going to hit their number, it’s time for a change.
Prioritization is Critical
You will always have too many things to do. Prioritization is critical. Once you have prioritized you can make time to do the things that matter most. If you want your team to hit their number, you must spend time coaching them to do that and stop letting low priority tasks take up your time.
Making sales a priority is a challenge for almost every business leader I know. They have many other responsibilities. Even when sales is your main focus it can be challenging because of company meetings, reporting, and putting out fires.
Planning is the key. It’s easy enough to allocate time to coaching and it’s crucial to your success. But to actually schedule it and stick to it, that’s the tough part. We all know how our time can get usurped throughout the day with other people’s urgencies.
Every good sales leader knows that attention must be paid to the way each sales rep works their opportunities through the pipeline. The right daily activity is needed. When selling is neglected because too many things get in the salesperson’s way, the sales leader must clear the path so that salespeople spend the majority of their time selling. If you don’t spend time coaching, you won’t know why opportunities are not moving through the funnel and what roadblocks to remove.
Can you imagine waiting to dig a well until you are thirsty?
When the sales rep doesn’t meet their quota, it’s too late.
Sales Coaching Defined
So, what do I mean by sales coaching exactly?
As a sales leader, you have to manage and coach your team as well as report to your own boss and take care of other responsibilities that come with the role.
The role is to keep your salespeople spending the majority of their time selling.
Selling is everything from prospecting to closing the deal and retaining the business. It includes any time spent generating leads, meeting with prospects to qualify them, meeting to ask questions and move the opportunity forward, closing the deal, retaining the business and asking for referrals.
Everything else gets in the way of selling. Not that it isn’t important to do other things but they reduce selling time. When you manage your sales team you make it possible for them to spend the majority of their time selling. When you coach them, you make sure they are doing the right things right. You help them strategize to close deals. You help them determine what recourses they need to bring in to get the deal closed.
Most sales leaders are good managers. They know what to do to keep things running. The majority need to become better coaches and make more time for it. But how? There are so many things to do in a day. How do you get time to coach your salespeople so they can close more business and hit their quota?
The first thing you have to do is make coaching a priority. If it is a priority you will do it. If you don’t feel you know how to coach well enough, then make it a priority to learn. Give me a call and I’ll help.
I recommend making a list of all the things you need to do in a day. I’m guessing there are many that have nothing to do with coaching your team.
If you prioritize coaching and then organize the others into groups by the importance you can start to plan your days so you will have time to coach.
As with anything you want to get done, you have to plan ahead. Your calendar is your best friend. If used properly, it will help assure you have time set aside for coaching among all of your other activities.
Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annually
Here’s what I recommend. Plan your daily, weekly, monthly and annual activities and put them on your calendar. Make sure there is time for coaching each week.
Crazy as it sounds you should also plan time for planning. This is time well spent! It has a direct impact on your revenue. The more time you can spend coaching your salespeople to close business the higher likelihood that you will hit your goals.
The Big Picture
Start with the big picture. Your whole year. Then work down to the daily level.
If coaching is a priority then plan everything else around it.
Annually – Planning for the upcoming year should happen in October or November. Set several hours aside to set goals and make your plan. Based on your goals you can set the events, programs, conferences, trade shows, promotions and other activities you will need to meet your goals as well as the planning time needed. Coaching will be built in. Adequate planning time helps things run smoothly.
Monthly – You’ll need 1 hour a month to plan for your upcoming month. As a suggestion, 10 to 12 days before the end of the month is a good time to do this. Take a look at the big picture so that your weeks can run smoothly. After you decide how much coaching time you will need every month, put anything on your calendar for the month that is already planned. If you have a trade show coming up, important client visits or a big presentation be sure to block off plenty of preparation. If it looks like there won’t be enough time for coaching, make some changes.
Weekly – Put a 30-minute appointment on your calendar each week to do your planning your upcoming week. First, reflect on the prior week. Did you get in enough coaching time? Did you get your projects done? Was it a good week? Then look at the upcoming week with a focus on improving from the previous week. Put scheduled meetings on your calendar, travel time, and time to do follow up from any sales coaching. If you keep a to-do list block time on your calendar to work on it. Two days before each one to one meeting with your reps, add a 30-minute block to plan. This will allow you to review their opportunities and determine some of the coaching that will be needed.
Daily – Choose a time, first thing in the morning or last thing in the day, to plan your upcoming day. This should take you about 15 minutes if you have done your weekly planning. Before checking email and voicemail and before everyone else’s priorities get in your way, take a look at your schedule and priorities for the day and make any necessary adjustments. Make sure you have time scheduled time for Sales Coaching. Don’t skip this important step. Add time for daily planning to your calendar.
My clients can’t believe how much time they can make for coaching when they use these ideas for prioritizing and planning. If you’d like to make more time to increase your team’s sales, start today! Give me a call at 775-852-5020 or schedule a few minutes with me to discuss.
Alice is nationally known for her expertise in elevating sales to increase valuation for companies with a B2B complex sale that have exceptional growth potential. She’s originally, from the widely known Miller Heiman Group. Spending her time strategizing with CEOs and their leadership teams to build the strategies that find new business and grow existing accounts is her passion. Her clients love her spirit and the way she energizes their sales organization.