Coaching – A Critical Element of Sales Performance and Retention

Most sales managers would agree that coaching their sales teams is key job function contributing to their success. However, when it comes to actually defining what the term “coaching” means, how best to do it,  and what are its affects in the long term, each sales manager would probably have a different opinion.

What is coaching? Is training and coaching the same thing? How much time should a sales manager spend coaching? How much time do they actually spend? What type of sales rep benefits most from coaching? Do top performers need it?  What are the best ways to coach?  Does it affect sales staff turnover?

Leslye Schumacher of Talent Bits and Bytes recently addressed these issues in her blog post, “How Much Time Should Sales Managers Spend Coaching Their Salespeople?” You can read the entire article here. In my opinion, it’s a must read for anyone involved in managing sales people.

In this very well researched article, Schumacher quoted several studies that give much clearer answers to these important questions. Here are some of the highlights:

  • To maximize sales results, the optimal amount of coaching is 5 hours per month per sales rep.
  • Salespeople that are coached daily outperform other salespeople by 30%.
  • What prevents sales managers from coaching is the time spent on administrative tasks, the time spent direct selling, and lack of training in proper management techniques.
  • Only 7% of sales managers were found to be effective at coaching without training.
  • Core salespeople receiving ineffective coaching averaged 83% of goal attainment. Their performance rose to 102% when they then received effective coaching.
  • In regards to retention, top performers were 50% more likely to stay if they received good coaching

The conclusions are clear. These statistics prove what the top sales managers have been practicing for years; coaching works and you have to plan to make time to do it! Not just any coaching, mind you, it has to be effective. Take the time to learn how to “show how, not do for” properly, and you will be a better sales manager for it.

For more information on how you can improve your coaching skills, check out my book, Action Plan for Sales Management Success. It details specific techniques used by today’s top producing sales managers so you can maximize the impact you can have on your sales team’s performance.

Or if you would like specific action items on how you can improve your coaching skills, schedule a free strategy session with me here.

Remember as John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” More motivational quotes here.

Aim Higher!

Susan A. Enns, The B2B Sales Coach, B2B Sales Connections,, or

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