Making Remote Coaching Work in Your Sales Organization
Coaching is the number one sales management activity that drives sales performance. Sales managers that grow and develop their salespeople will grow their business. Best in class sales organizations understand that effective sales coaching is key to their success. With sales managers being pulled in so many directions it becomes difficult for them to be in the field. Sales managers with geographically dispersed teams may put off coaching because they are uncomfortable with remote coaching.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Sales executives who understand the value of coaching are looking at strategies to enable their sales managers to coach their salespeople remotely. With free platforms like Skype, Zoom and Facetime technology enhance the sales manager’s ability to have personal coaching sessions. The limiting factor preventing more sales managers from remote coaching is their comfort with coaching.
Remote Coaching vs Observational Coaching
Coaching is coaching. Sales coaching is both a skill and a process. Coaching skills whether remote or in-field are the same! The process is the same! The only difference is that the sales manager can’t observe the salesperson in action. That is the one downside. There is nothing like being in the sales call and observing how the sales rep is performing. However, coaching is coaching regardless how one delivers it.
When asked to coach remotely whether it be by phone or Skype, sales managers find coaching an even more daunting task. Even highly effective coaches tend to slip into the “tell mode” instead of asking effective questions when coaching remotely. Managers need to be in the right mindset and have the confidence to be remote coaches.
For coaching to be effective, it must be done on a frequent and consistent basis. Sales managers who coach on a monthly or bimonthly basis will experience accelerated growth of their teams. Therefore, if there are travel, time or budget restrictions remote coaching can be impactful.
The other advantage of remote coaching is that managers can have highly structured coaching discussions. By structuring coaching calls, both the sales rep and sales manager can be well prepared to make the session highly effective.
5 Steps to Developing Awesome (Remote) Coaches
Coaching is a tough skill to master. Many sales leaders believe that more tenured sales managers are better coaches. That is not the case. There is no correlation between coaching effectiveness and tenure.
A Well Defined and Understood Coaching Process
First and foremost, sales managers need to follow a coaching process. In fact, awesome sales managers employ several different coaching approaches like Situational Leadership, DiSC and Focused Coaching. Sales reps who follow a defined sales process perform better. Coaching is no different. Sales managers who follow a coaching process also get better results.
Having a well-defined process helps break down the steps and ultimately makes it easier to master that particular skill.
Coaching is a difficult skill. Sales managers require ongoing training and development of their coaching skills. Teaching them a coaching process helps with skills acquisition. Organizations who have a well-defined and understood coaching process outperform those companies who don’t. It is therefore critical that your sales managers are effectively trained in the process and have ample opportunity to practice the skills necessary to become awesome coaches.
Having a clear coaching process and training your sales managers to coach to that methodology, doesn’t guarantee that you will have awesome sales coaches. The key is providing your sales managers with pull-through tools like coaching reports, coaching plans and coaching planners to help them coach effectively. Training alone doesn’t create awesome sales coaches. Have constant reinforcement is key to skill mastery.
Structured Approach to Conducting Remote Coaching Sessions
Creating a structure coaching call helps both the sales manager and the sales rep get the most out of each session. Setting the expectations as to what the coaching call looks like and clear expectations enables both parties to come to the session well prepared.
Regular Coaching Sessions with Their Manager
As we all know people respect what you inspect. Therefore, it is incumbent that the next level of sales management has regular coaching sessions with their sales managers. Sounds crazy but it works. By spending time reviewing how remote coaching sessions are proceeding and reviewing the documentation with the sales managers, it reinforces the importance of what they are doing. The sales executives who role model effective coaching with their sales managers develop better sales coaches.
Lastly, by having the next level of sales management support the process with ongoing coaching, it creates a high degree of accountability. Both the sales manager and the sales executive share accountability to ensure the remote coaching program is well implemented.
Want to become an Awesome Sales Coach?
In conclusion, sales organizations that understand the value of effective coaching and are interesting in having their sales managers do remote coaching there are a few important steps to make this transition successful. Remote coaching is still coaching. You need a well-defined coaching process and highly effective coaches. Providing both a structured approach and support tools helps improve the overall effectiveness of coaching. Lastly, the next level of sales management must be actively involved in providing highly effective coaching for their sales managers. If you are interested in developing a remote coaching program, please contact me directly to discuss how we can help make remote coaching work in your sales organization.