As a manager, there is so much to do and never enough time. Research has found that sales managers spend just 32% of their time managing their team and only part of that is spent coaching.
To make the most of your time prioritization is key – and the top priority for any salesperson is their targets. So it follows that any task that helps your team reach its targets should be at the top of your list.
According to CSO Insights almost half of the businesses they studied left coaching up to sales managers. The same study found that quota attainment was only 53.4% when left up to managers, but this improved by over 10% when a dynamic approach to coaching was implemented and win rates increased by 27.9%. Coaching does make a significant difference in sales performance, so it’s imperative that you find time to do it.
So how do you find more time to coach when you’ve still got to do all this other work? Here are 6 ways that you can find more time in your week.
1. Look at what you’re reporting
We have access to so much data now that it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole of metrics and reports. Take a look at the reports that you generate and review each week. How many actually give you or others information that can impact the performance of your sales team? If some of the reporting and analysis that you’re doing doesn’t have a direct link to meeting quotas, giving your reps more selling time or improving your ability to make decisions, then it may be time to stop doing it.
2. Give your meetings an overhaul
Meetings are a fact of life in any business, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be productive. Take an objective look at every regular meeting that you have scheduled in your diary and see if there are any that perhaps you don’t need to attend or can delegate. For those that are important and actually add some value to you or your team, consider whether they can be more efficient. Could you cut the meeting time in half with a clear agenda or pre-reading?
3. Control technology don’t let it control you
Many of us are slaves to technology. Every time we hear a ping we have to drop what we’re doing and check our email or pick up our phone. The reality is that most things aren’t urgent or don’t require our immediate attention but they are very distracting. Take back control of your time by turning off your phone or WiFi for blocks of time so you can concentrate on specific tasks. Alternatively, you could allocate a couple of times a day to check your emails and messages rather than having a look every time something new is in your inbox.
If your inbox is becoming quite overwhelming you can also use tools or apps to manage your messages. Color code your messages and move them to different mailboxes so that you can then look at them when you need to.
4. Use your calendar to your advantage
Do you schedule regular one-on-one’s with your team? Even if you manage a remote team, you can book in regular calls with each of your team members. This means your coaching sessions will be planned and become part of your daily or weekly routine. By having the time scheduled you also demonstrate to your team how important coaching is to you. A good tip is to set up coaching sessions first thing in the morning before you and your reps become distracted with other things.
Customer visits are another important task that you can schedule in each week. This not only ensures you get out and meet customers regularly but also gives you the opportunity to observe your sales reps in action so that you can give them immediate coaching and feedback.
5. Say no
Just because someone asks you to do something doesn’t mean that you have to do it. While saying “no” doesn’t come naturally to many people, it’s important to say it sometimes, particularly when you’re asked to do something that doesn’t add value or isn’t important. Otherwis, you may risk becoming overwhelmed by a growing to-do list that isn’t helping your team sell more.
6. Set achievable goals
Write to-do lists and actually set small goals to work through it. Perhaps allocate one crucial task that’s a priority each week. This means you can slowly chip away at your to-do list and actually get some of the most important tasks done slowly but surely.
If it helps you can use tools that list tasks, prioritize them for you or allocate them to days or weeks. Tools like Asana or Trello let you keep track of things that you want to do and allocate them into the future.
By following some or all of these tips you can take control over your to-do list and calendar and create time to coach your team. As coaching becomes an integral part of your schedule, you will also start to see a difference in the performance of your team.