There are pros and cons to joining your team on sales calls. The upside of going is that it’s a real-time event. You get to assess the performance from the experience rather than an after-the-fact-narration that may be clouded by an optimistic sales rep. The downside of this activity is when the manager turns it into a “let me show you how it’s done”, or a critical assessment of the sales person’s performance.
Like any success it needs a process that both the manager and the salesperson understand. Clear expectations and accountabilities need to be set. You also need to agree on the role each other takes in the meetings. A sales manager can unwittingly undermine the efforts of his sales rep and cause the prospect to lose confidence when dealing with the rep. Ultimately the objectives for this activity are to:
- Observe the salesperson’s implementation of the company’s sales development process.
- Help the manager know where the salesperson needs training
- Confirm the importance of new business development
The five steps needed for successful curb-side coaching are:
- Preparation – Don’t wing it. Set specific plans and objectives. Have a call sheet that both you and the sales person completes well in advance of the sales call.
- Observation – Develop a checklist for the meeting and take notes for review immediately after the meeting
- Evaluation – How did the intended outcome of the meeting compare to the actual outcome of the meeting. This should be a collaborative exercise.
- Modification – Examine the tactics, strategies, behaviours and processes that were used. How might they be changed?
- Assimilation – Develop a plan to use the information gained at the meeting. This may include role-plays or training.
If you are planning some field calls think about the following:
With whom will you schedule field work?
Why did you choose that individual?
What do you want to accomplish?
By when will you schedule the calls?
How will you apply and reinforce the lessons learned?
The primary role of every sales manager is to make his sales people successful. Curb-side coaching is an invaluable activity if it is planned and executed well. Start working in your plan today and take this activity to a more dynamic and result-driven conclusion.