Why sales coaches must be in the field observing their team

While at my kids’ soccer practice last week, we were going through a few basic passing drills when I noticed more than a handful of them were struggling. Basically, one kid would kick the ball to a teammate, and rather than move to meet the ball wherever it went (to the left or right) to make a good return pass, the teammate just stood in the same spot.

I’m talking about little kids here, so you can imagine how quickly this drill was going off the rails. Luckily, the head coach and I were on the field with them and were able to correct the issue rather quickly. The true test will come in a few days when we play a game. But for now, we think we have it all figured out.

I share this story because as coaches – whether you’re a youth soccer coach like me or a sales coach – it is our responsibility to observe and course correct the behaviors that are taking place on our teams by getting out in the field to work with them individually and truly see how they are executing in a live situation.

I’m sure I don’t have to spell it out for most of you, but for the sake of argument, it looks something like this in sales:

  • Get out from behind your desk and be in the field with your team
  • Once you’re there, watch as they conduct a sales presentation, qualify a customer, and manage their pipelines
  • Use a framework to measure their success

Too many times, sales coaches think they can armchair quarterback it by sitting in their office and analyzing spreadsheets and sales pipelines to find the gaps in behaviors. When they do that, they are failing their teams.

To me, it’s all a matter of observation vs. perception.

Perception is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is more emotional in nature. You can pick up on someone’s emotions as a coach, but it’s difficult to develop them based solely on perception.

Observation is factual. When someone says you’re observant, they’re saying you can walk into a room or situation and see details that others just don’t see. That’s a sales manager’s job – to be observant. And the only way to observe and truly coach your sales team is to be in the field with them.

I keep going back to the sports analogies but think about the fact that we recently finished March Madness. As great as Duke basketball is, if head coach Mike Krzyzewski decided tomorrow to leave the sideline and have his players come to him after the game to let him know how they did, they’d find it increasingly difficult to keep winning like they have been.

It’s Krzyzewski’s job to pace the sideline, observe how his team is doing for four quarters, and coach them to victory.

Do the folks here at Axiom expect you to be the next Mike Krzyzewski, or even the next great youth soccer coach, when it comes to your role as a coach? No. But if you get out in the field with your team and observe them in action, you’re bound to have more wins than losses. And in the sales world, that’s one heck of a start.

Want to learn more? Axiom has all the tools, resources, and applications you could ask for to help you on your journey to being a successful sales coach. For more information on the content above, visit our solutions page or schedule a demo.

Brian Kludas, VP of Client Success

For the past 15 years, Brian Kludas has been directly involved in developing, executing, and managing sales excellence initiatives in a variety of industries. Brian's success has come through dedicated service to clients and a focus on improving seller and leader effectiveness through coaching and development. Having served in sales, sales leadership, operations, coaching, and training, Brian brings a unique blend of technical knowledge, program design, project management, and operational efficiency to the Axiom team. Brian is currently the Senior Director of Client Success. Brian is proud of the impact he makes on his clients' success. He's also proud of his accomplishments as a dedicated father, husband, and friend. Whether coaching youth sports, mountain biking, camping in the Arizona desert, being MC at community events, or even doing occasional stand up comedy routines, Brian loves a challenge.

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Topics: Better Coaching, Better Selling, sales coaching

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