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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistMon, Dec 25, 2017 5 min read

5 Signs Your Sales Manager Is Failing as a Sales Coach

{}If your sales team has been struggling recently, the last place you might look at is your sales manager. Something else has to be wrong, right? Unfortunately, sometimes your sales manager is failing as a sales coach, leading to a number of problems that are the likely cause of your poor sales team performance. But how can you tell if your sales manager is in fact failing as a sales coach and it’s not another problem?

Here are five signs that indicate your sales manager isn’t an effective sales coach.

1. They’re Focusing on the Results, Not the People

A great sales coach puts the person before the sale. If you notice too much emphasis is being put on the success of sales and not enough is being invested in helping the sales team, you’ve got a problem on your hands.

Effective sales coaching involves observing your sales team, finding out where weaknesses lie, and helping each individual team member learn how to overcome them. If more emphasis is being put on mistakes and not enough on how to help the individual’s performance improve, your sales manager is failing as a sales coach. 

2. They're Spending Too Much Time on the Wrong Salespeople

Sales managers often feel compelled to give extra attention to their top 20 percent of performers, as well as their bottom 20 percent. While it might initially seem to make sense, it’s the middle 60 percent that really needs the most attention. Think about it this way—your top performers are doing fine on their own and they need less help to continue to succeed. If your bottom 20 percent of performers are consistently performing poorly, they may not be right for the role in the first place. Both extremes don’t need as much attention.

The middle of the pack, on the other hand, has the potential to go either way: If these reps are ignored, they’ll inevitably drop to the bottom and not rise to the top. If they’re coached, they’ll likely thrive.

3. They’re Not Investing in Regular Coaching

Sales coaching isn’t something that should only happen when a new team member is hired or a new product is introduced. Sales teams need time and effort invested into consistent and ongoing coaching to further improve their skills and learn new techniques.

In fact, 65 percent of employees agree the quality of training and learning opportunities they receive positively influences their engagement at work. Engaged employees are more prepared to take on new tasks and, in turn, become better salespeople for your business.

So, if regular coaching isn’t something your sales manager prioritizes, it could be what’s hindering your sales team.

4. They’re Not Motivational  

Sales teams need to be motivated and inspired in order to perform to the best of their abilities. If your sales manager doesn’t rally the team together and motivate reps, your team is likely burned out, frustrated, and in a sales slump.

There are dozens of ways to motivate a sales team, from creating fun competitions and verbally recognizing team members to offering rewards to top performers. Regardless of what the motivational factor may be, your team needs to be motivated in order to perform, and every great sales coach knows that.

5. They’re Not Teaching the Team about New Products

If your reps aren’t aware of the benefits or features of a new product, how can you expect them to sell it to someone else? An effective sales coach knows that, in order to persuade prospects to purchase a new product, the team first needs to know why someone should buy it in the first place.

Plenty of time should be set aside for educating sales teams on new products or services, and questions should be addressed. Without investing time into product education, making sales becomes a lot more difficult.

If you’ve experienced any of these five signs with your sales manager, it might be time to hire a professional sales coach.


Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.