How much time should a sales manager spend on coaching?
Sales coaching is a critical part of the job and requires constant upskilling. Relevant sales coaching is instrumental in ensuring reps can consistently reach their targets. As a sales manager, the most often asked question is how much time should be dedicated to coaching the reps.
There isn’t a fixed industry standard or best practice on how many hours per week or month are required for the best results. But a rough estimate agreed upon across the industry is spending 25% to 40% of the time in coaching.
However, spending 40% of the sales manager’s time in sales coaching is a tad bit difficult, considering sales managers are always short on time.
How to allocate the sales coaching time slots
Even if the sales managers can allocate minimal time to coaching, it’s vital to get the most out of that time. Efficient sales managers grow their salespeople with the best coaching. A sales rep must realize that he or she is not merely a checkbox on the calendar. During the time spent together, sales managers must give their full, undivided attention to their team members.
Let’s look at a simplified framework that helps sales managers understand which timeframe is suitable for their different types of sales reps. The best practice for the allocation of slots based on the sales reps’ performance is listed below:
- 25% of the time for reps who knock the ball out of the park consistently
- 60% of the time for reps who regularly meet their targets but could definitely do better
- 15% of the time for reps who struggle and are labeled as poor performers
Often sales managers make the mistake of spending the same amount of time coaching all reps regardless of their skills. This method doesn’t consider gaining the best return on your time investment.
Sales managers should spend most of their time educating salespeople with average skills because this will yield the greatest return on time investment. Representatives with ordinary skills are, by definition, average performers. There is room for advancement. An ordinary performance can be transformed into a high achiever with the help of effective coaching. It has been observed that the average performer met 19% more of their target quotas when provided quality coaching.
Salespeople with high skills have room for improvement, so don't overlook your best performers. Even top salespeople must develop new skills. To keep your top performers engaged and rewarded, empower and challenge them. Coaching top performers yields a good return on investment but not as well as coaching average performers. Reports highlight an increase between 25%-40% sales activity with effective sales coaching generally, so just imagine how much more productive top-performers would be with the right coaching.
Salespeople with limited skills may not be able to succeed on your team. You should consider whether coaching is a productive use of your time for these reps. Spending too much time coaching failing salespeople is a time trap. Other management actions may be required to address salespeople who lack the necessary skills to be successful on your team.
The sales reps’ motivation to grow is critical in deciding where to invest coaching time.
Considerations for Coaching
It's also critical not to overlook high-performers in your sales coaching, even if they don't appear to require it. Top performers are constantly looking for ways to improve; if they don't see room for advancement at your company, they're more likely to leave for another opportunity. Furthermore, the risk of being poached is high, so they are vulnerable to competitors if they don't feel trusted or connected to the company.
Remember that coaching for top performers will be structured differently than coaching for average and poor performers. It will involve more collaboration and sharing of ideas and less directing.
It’s a basic rule of thumb to invest with the highest potential return. Sales reps who are “worth” the investment of time and energy in sales coaching are ready, willing, and able to be coached. Look for a coachable attitude in sales candidates through focused interview questions and a complete personal assessment.
If you can recognize the behavioral attributes that signal a propensity to grow upfront, you’ll populate your sales team with coachable reps, and contribute to your organization’s culture of continual development.