I recently completed a number of studies regarding sales leaders and their salespeople. And one element that keeps resurfacing is that their salespeople are reporting that they want their leaders to be more solutions-oriented. When I examined this closely to determine what that specifically meant, I discovered salespeople want—during a coaching session or sales meeting—the sales leaders to help them solve their problems.
Sales leaders, I know you might say that’s, indeed, what all you do: go out and make sales with your salespeople and to solve their problems. However, more importantly, they don’t want you to do the work for them. Instead, they want you to show them how to do something and how to expand that into other areas in their pipeline. They want you to show them how to create a solution that is sustainable.
What Salespeople Want vs. Don’t Want in a Leader
Indeed, what your salespeople don’t want is for you to be in a coaching session or sales meeting and give them general instructions—that is telling them what to do. Your salespeople want you to illustrate to them how to make effective sales calls, how to create more opportunities, how to close deals, and how they can apply those strategies to other opportunities in their pipeline.
Are You Really Teaching Your Salespeople Anything?
I know you are riding along and selling side by side with your team all the time. However, I hear that as an excuse from sales managers who say, “I don’t need to coach because I’m riding along.” More importantly, what I experience is that in most cases those ride alongs don’t provide coaching. They essentially allow you to helicopter in and save the deal, but you are not teaching your salespeople anything. You’re proving the solution and they can’t extrapolate what you did to their own world. Thus, don’t be that kind of manager. Ask them what solutions they need. Brainstorm on solutions they can implement to help solve their sales problems. And show them how to apply those solutions to multiple opportunities in their pipeline while holding them accountable for implementing those solutions.