Three Strategies to Improve Manager Productivity
The daily routine of a selling branch manager, sales manager or recruiting manager is nothing short of chaotic. From supporting recruiters and sales reps on calls to completing administrative tasks and monitoring sales activities to helping recruiters pre-close candidates, the list can seem never-ending. To top it off, branch managers are responsible for coaching and developing their people. Yet for most managers, coaching often feels like extra work which is why it frequently "slips through the cracks."
According to CSO Insights, 74% of high performing companies say coaching and mentoring are a sales managers’ most important responsibility. Yet only 15% say they have they provide the right amount of sales coaching.
Lack of coaching happens for several reasons, whether it’s the manager lacking time and bandwidth, or the challenge of managing a remote team, or the lack of coaching skills and a common coaching framework and tools to pull from.
Here are three strategies to improve manager productivity.
In this day and age, most staffing firms have a distributed sales and recruiting organization in which sales reps and recruiters are geographically dispersed and/or working remotely. While this is great for the sales rep and recruiters, it presents a challenge for managers; especially when it comes time to coaching.
Traditionally, sales coaching has taken place in person via 1:1 meetings and role play. With video coaching, managers can coach recruiters and sales reps regardless of their location, whether it be company HQ, a branch office, out in the field, home or anywhere else in the world.
For example, if the branch manager discovers that his or her sales reps or recruiters are struggling with certain objections, the manager can create a video coaching activity asking recruiters and sales reps to demonstrate how they would handle the objection. Regardless of their location, recruiters and sales reps can see that the coaching activity has been assigned and record their response via mobile phone/device or desktop.
From there the manager can assess how well his or her reps and recruiters can handle the objection – without meeting with each rep or recruiter individually.
In addition, the videos being recorded by top performers-those who can demonstrate what "good looks and sounds like,"-can be shared with the group for social learning. This improves manager productivity and creates a fun and engaging learning environment because sales reps and recruiters want to learn from their top performing peers.
2. Reinforce Best Practices, Top Performing Behaviors
Historically, best practices, tribal knowledge and top performing behaviors has always, and exclusively existed in the minds of recruiters and sales reps and only shared around the water cooler. And even when they were shared, there was no mechanism to truly make it replicable. With video and video coaching technology, managers can push out best practices to the entire team via video and not a static document. Heck, we live in the age of YouTube!
For example, after a recruiter closes a difficult deal with a candidate, the manager can assign a video coaching activity in which they task the recruiter to video record themselves sharing the key takeaways and tips they used to overcome candidate objections and close the candidate. From there, that video can easily be shared across the organization for all to benefit from those tips. The video can also be added to a learning course or curriculum as a documented example of the best practice.
In this sense, the manager is able to show his or her team what "good looks and sounds like" without having demonstrate the skill themselves for each and every rep or recruiter. This improves manager productivity and helps the entire organization.
3. Support Your Managers in Developing Their Coaching Skills
Perhaps the biggest barrier preventing managers from coaching and developing their people is managers simply not possessing the proper skills. Most managers got promoted into management because they were a top performing recruiter or salesperson. But the skills required to be a great coach and create a great sales coaching culture are far different from the skills required to be a top performing recruiter or sales rep.
Staffing firms can use video coaching technology to support, develop and improve a manager’s coaching abilities. For instance, in our developmental coaching course, we task managers with video recording themselves how they conduct themselves in a variety of coaching scenarios such as:
- How to coach under performing sales reps and recruiters in which they self-diagnose their skill and behavior deficiency and self-prescribe their own solution
- How to do use metrics in a coaching conversation and gain genuine buy-in on the solution
Managers who learn to develop coaching skills not only have more productive sales and recruiting teams and improve employee retention, but they themselves become more productive because they learn to empower their people which builds self confidence. A team with self confidence is a team willing and able to make decisions on their own and rely less on their manager.
About Dan Fisher
Dan Fisher is founder and owner of Menemsha Group, a provider of sales enablement solutions dedicated to helping IT staffing firms improve win rates, shorten their sales cycle, and increase revenue per sales rep. Since launching Menemsha Group in 2008, Dan has consulted with over 200 IT staffing firms and has invested over 5000 hours coaching IT staffing sales reps. He’s authored is his own proprietary sales methodology and has previously spoken at Staffing World, TechServe Alliance and Bullhorn Live 2012. Prior to launching Menemsha Group, Dan spent 16 years in the IT industry running local, regional and national sales teams. Dan worked for Kelly Services, Oracle Corporation and Alliance Consulting. Dan currently resides in Boston, Ma.