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Finding: Managers Spend Minimal Time Engaging in Sales Coaching

February 02, 2016
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

It’s a common misconception in the sales world that great salespeople are born, not made. While it’s certainly true that certain personality types are more natural to making sales than others, it’s important not to underestimate the importance of a good sales manager and sales coaching to the process. Sales managers who are too overworked to regularly finesse the skills of their team are not doing their employers any favors. New data, however, show that skimping on sales coaching is common in industry today.

Recent research conducted by the Sales Management Association and CSO Insights (News - Alert), a division of MHI Global, found that many companies are missing the mark on sales coaching, hampering sales win rates and revenue growth. The research, which was based on surveys thousands of sales executives to determine sales effectiveness benchmarking and trends, found that most companies, in fact, still lack a formal coaching strategy.

Another report by CSO Insights titled “Optimizing Sales Management” found that the average win rate of the more than 600 companies surveyed was just 47.1 percent in 2015, and that the average salesperson to sales manager ratio today is approximately 6:1. This means that managers are constantly crunched for time, with too many peripheral duties that keep them from their core function of improving the skills of their sales teams.  Overall, sales managers are spending an average of only 20.8 percent of their time to coaching and mentoring sales people. Often, this leaves sales personnel – particularly newer and younger salespeople – to figure it out on their own, which often leads to the development of bad habits.

While coaching is widely considered to have the greatest impact on sales effectiveness, formal strategies tend to be poorly executed or non-existent in a majority of sales organizations according to Sales Management Association. Since it is time- and resource-intensive, management’s coaching focus is too easily diminished by competing priorities, inconsistent practice, and ineffective delivery.

Highlights from the research include:

  • More than half (55 percent) of all the firms surveyed have ineffective coaching programs;
  • An overwhelming 77 percent of firms said they don’t provide enough coaching to their salespeople;
  • While “identifying skill deficiencies” was listed among the top three factors respondents felt had the biggest impact on revenue growth, it ranked #12 on a list of thirteen priorities for sales managers; and
  • Implementing an effective coaching program optimized for coaching quality and quantity can help grow revenue up to 16.7 percent faster.

The reports recommend that companies make use of sales management technologies to help sales managers better utilize their time, keep track of performance statistics, coach and communicate with their sales teams and help motivate individual sales personnel and teams. The research is published in the report titled, “Research Brief: Supporting Sales Coaching,” and is available via Sales Management Association’s Web site