Picture yourself as a brand new or very junior Sales Rep. The one thing you desire most is to learn the skills and behaviors that will help you succeed in your role as a Sales Rep. So, you're likely looking for coaching from your manager. Instead, as what typically happens in most ride-a-long activities, is that the Sales Manager takes over the customer conversation and you're left in the background. In other words, your boss ends up selling instead of teaching. In fact, Sales Training is often in the very back of your manager's head.
Has this happened to you? Or, if you're a Sales Manager or a VP of Sales, have you done it to those more junior than you?
Okay, you're probably thinking "I try to teach through example". Fine, there's definitely something to be said for that: providing a role model is great. But admit the truth - YOU love to sell. And, whenever given the chance to sell, you cannot help yourself - that deep impulse inside of you has to relieve itself and the only way to do that is to sell. It's like muscle memory - when you're in front of a customer prospect, muscle memory takes over and you start selling.
Of course your Junior Sales Rep won't complain: Heck, you, the more experiences Rep is selling for him. That will likely get him closer to closing the deal with that customer prospect.
But what happens when you leave? What happens when you're not there to sell for him anymore? What happens when the Sales Ride-a-Long is over?
Well, your Junior Sales Reps didn't get the coaching they need. And, when the Sales Reps in your territory don't hit their quota, you'll be left wondering "What happened? Didn't the ride-a-long help them at all?"
Answer: No, it didn't.
As a Sales Leader, you need to retrain those sales muscles to respond differently when in front a customer prospect while training a Junior Sales Rep. You need to focus on their learning and their development, and less on selling.
Yes, I understand that it's hard. But, have you considered the consequences if you changed nothing?
The data from the 2015 Chief Sales Officer Survey shows that ramp-up time is an issue for most companies and sales organizations. I can't help but attribute some of the root cause to Sales Managers who sell, rather than coach their Reps.
But, what if, you could reduce ramp-up time for your Sales Reps? How much would that mean to you? How much would that mean in terms of quota attainment?
Coaching is critical. Reinforcing the message is critical. And providing a way for each and every one of your Sales Reps to practice and improve is critical.
In upcoming articles, we'll explore this very idea of helping turn Sales Managers into expert coaches. The benefits of doing so are enormous.