Why So Many Organizations Struggle to Enable Front Line Managers to Coach to Win

Coaching is a critical component for the success of any sales organization. That’s why we often push front line managers to focus on coaching.

But as sales organizations, we don’t enable effective coaching nearly as much as we should.

So, to help us discuss this issue, Patrick Rodgers, Co-Founder of Loupe, joined us on the latest episode of the B2B Revenue Executive Experience podcast.

Why should organizations enable sales coaching?

Great sales reps often get promoted to managers.

But as they make that leap, we often neglect to give them the tools they need to be successful.

As a result, these managers fail to realize that the reps around them are unique.

Managers must understand that each seller is a bit different, possessing unique performance gaps that the manager can help them work on.

Once a manager gets through that hurdle, they can truly begin helping reps improve their performance.

So, by helping make managers better, organizations begin operating under a multiplier effect that eventually makes reps better, too.

That’s why coaching is so critical.

Coaching vs. managing

So, what’s the difference between coaching and managing?

It all goes back to that multiplier effect.

Managing is focused on attaining a one-time outcome.

Managers give reps a directive — a task to do in one scenario. The rep may or may not understand why they’re being given that direction. If a rep is walking away with a task to do one thing, specific to one deal…that’s managing.

On the contrary, coaching is about working on something that applies across multiple tasks or multiple deals. Coaching is focused on making the rep better in a way that will have an impact across the board.

The bottom line?

Coaching has a multiplier effect.

“If we can make managers better, that should have a multiplier effect down to the rep level.”


The individual vs. the aggregate

Here’s one crucial point to keep in mind when assessing whether your organization is coaching effectively.

People’s individual performance can get lost in the aggregation.

You might have a sales team that hits quota. But take a closer look. Was it one rep that really drove the success while the others were at 60% of quota?

If so, you’re probably not really coaching that team super effectively. Instead, you had one awesome rep and relied on them to hit quota.

But these facts regarding an individual’s performance often get lost when we publish numbers pertaining to aggregate performance.

So, when assessing the effectiveness of your coaching program, look at how the manager did to get the entire team there.

There shouldn’t just be one rockstar.

Everyone should be showing improvement and signs of progress.

“There should always be a next thing in coaching if we’re going to make these companies better.”


Three things you can do today to be a better coach

  1. Remember that every rep is different.
  2. From how they receive coaching to the individual strengths and weaknesses they have.
  1. Coaching must have follow through.
  2. Nothing is worse for a rep than talking about something one week and then never talking about it again. That tells the rep that either they’re not important or that the recommendation wasn’t important. Both of those are bad options, so make sure you follow through on anything you talk about.
  1. Give the why.
  2. Give the rep context so they know what the impact of any changes you discuss will be. If they can’t see how a recommendation will make them better, other things will take priority.

“When uncomfortable conversations happen, it’s because expectations weren’t aligned from the beginning.”


We ask every podcast guest these two questions:

What’s effective in earning 15 minutes of your time?

So, if you can do your research and find something that will resonate, it’s going to get attention.

If you want someone’s time, you’ve got to put the time in, as well.

Your grandest piece of advice for a sales or marketing professional?

One thing that’s super important is having business acumen around your buyer. How does your buyer make money? How does their business make money? How does it work? What are the challenges in their industry?

The more research you do, the better off you’ll be in any conversation, whether that’s pivoting because a new challenge came up, or understanding why you might be getting push-back in a meeting.

The business acumen piece will serve you far more than even diving deep into your own product, because you’ll be able to better help them navigate the challenge of buying something.

This blogpost includes highlights of our podcast interview with Patrick Rodgers, Co-Founder at Loupe. To hear this episode and many more like it, subscribe to B2B Revenue Executive Experience here.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can find all our episodes here.

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