Coach's Corner S01E07: How To Train My Sales Team so I can Focus on Other Areas
Updated: Oct 7, 2021
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Darrick: Hi, folks, it's Darrick and Walt again with Coach's Corner, we are both business coaches and strategists with Denver Business Coach and we like to discuss some questions that come in from clients or folks in the business community about issues that they've been having or challenges that they've been having. See if we can address them in a small way and also give all of you kind of a sense of what it's like to work one on one with a coach.
Walt: If you're a small business owner or an entrepreneur and would like some professional guidance in these areas, that's what we're here for. And so I'm going to dive right into today's question, which is from a marketing services firm in Centennial who asks, I've always done most of the sales since I started the business, but now I need to grow a sales team. I've just hired a woman who seems to have good skills and is highly motivated. But I realized that it was easier to sell than it is to train and manage a sales team.
Walt: We need to grow, but I can't afford to lose my solid customer base. Yeah, this is very typical, I think, of some of the clients I've worked with, Darrick. I'm sure you have as well, where there they started a business, their passion and natural ability to sell was what took them to the next stage. And now they're growing to a point where they can't do everything. That adding to a sales team is a key step. And that's what they're asking for help on.
Darrick: Yeah, it's a very common question, you picture yourself if you're an entrepreneur or you are a small business owner and this is your baby, you've lived and breathed this thing forever. So talking about it is second nature, right, you don't even have to think about it, but you think about bringing in someone else to represent you in that way and to talk that talk to potential new clients that don't know you. That's a whole different ballgame. And a lot of entrepreneurs overlook the steps that it really takes to bring a good salesperson up to speed. Good salespeople are hard to find. And we talked a little bit about recruiting in one of our other videos. And that's a whole other piece of this, of identifying the right talent. But even once you feel like you've identified the right talent, not taking the shortcuts in the beginning, making sure that person gets all of the education about your product or service that you're selling, that you take care of the process of the sales, that you have them shadowing you when you go out to a sales call that that that gradually turns into you shadowing them and watching and providing feedback. They're just a lot of steps that you need to go through before you send that person out. If you try to shoot them out on the street and say, here's our brochure, read our website and go sell this thing, you're not going to be successful. So it's really about investing the time upfront to make sure that salesperson can do it and it's challenging and I think one of the biggest challenges is assuming that that salesperson is also going to be the best one to take care of your current clients.
Walt: Yeah, those skills are a whole different skill set. And so what we try to work with our clients on is, first of all, as you said, creative process and then stick to that process. And a lot of times I find that our clients are not only looking to manage a small growing sales team, but they're also going to continue to do some of the sales themselves, which creates potentially some conflicts when it comes to things like territories or priorities of accounts and things like that.
Walt: The skills that go into making a sales rep, a good sales rep often don't translate into being a sales manager. And I've worked in plenty of large companies in the sales environment whereby kind of routine, the top sales reps are promoted to managers. And I can see say more often than not, they fail as managers, even with all the training and support that a large organization might give. So what we try to help them, even if they're staying on as a salesperson, is to provide not only the right process but look at some of their skills and how they manage a sales team and provide advice and structure as to how they can optimize the situation. And sometimes we'll help them create fair but competitive compensation structures that are reasonable and motivating to the employee, but also protect the company's profits. I've worked with somebody who they were paying their salesperson percentage of topline, and we talked about the fact that in this case, it made more sense to pay as a percentage of gross profit as opposed to a percentage of revenue. So it's things like that that we can help them do a better job managing and growing the sales team.
Darrick: But isn't that something, like compensation can break a sales team?
Darrick: It really can work if you inadvertently put a plan together that motivates the wrong type of behavior, that maximizes that plan, it can be a disaster. And I've been in the middle of a couple of those situations where all of a sudden an entrepreneur is sitting there thinking, hey, I had a good product, I got good service, go on. Now, I've somehow broken it and I need to fix it.
Darrick: And that's one of the things we help with.
Darrick: So if this topic or any other topic is something that you're struggling with or having a challenge with, that's what we're here to do and help you with. You can reach us at denverbusinesscoach.com. And if you have a question of your own that you would love for us to address in this forum, we'd be happy to look at it and field it. We love to talk about new topics. So so reach out. But thanks for your time today. We'll see you next time.
Walt: Yep! Look forward to working with you. Take care.