Auditing v Coaching
As manager you are responsible for every communication your team sends out right?
Well yes and no. It’s impossible for a manger to keep a check on everything his team is sending out or saying. The best a manager can do is actively listen in and check communication randomly.
Problem is, there is a fine line between auditing and coaching.
But is auditing your sales team really a bad thing?
Let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons.
Pros of Auditing
a) Track progress of training
Trainings are good. Only problem is that they don’t always translate into execution.
One way of making sure that your team is moving in the right direction is listening to calls and constantly reminding them of how they can improve. By implementing an auditing mind set you are making sure that there is constant follow up on best practices enforced.
b) Outline clear expectations
As old school as it may sound. Having a well-structured auditing sheet that outlines parameters on which your sales individuals are being rated helps you define expectations.
The auditing sheet actually spares you conversations like ‘I did not know that’ or ‘Hang on, I never knew that was part of our operating policy!’
This holds particularly true if you have a large SDR team that is constantly being monitored for quality of leads handed over to AEs. An auditing approach will ensure that you can roll out best practices in double quick time.
Cons of Auditing
a) Big brother is watching
Sales individuals by nature prefer to be left alone and function in an open environment. This means that they are not always open to feedback, especially from an auditor. Our experience has shown that auditing can fail if you do not sell the value associated with the exercise. In addition, experience sales reps do not like to be 'audited' in any way.
This is particularly troublesome when management fails to sell the value associated with the audits and also does not explain the audit methodology to sales individuals.
b) Restricted creativity
Our experience has shown that auditing can be overwhelming. Eventually, sales individuals stop thinking for themselves and follow what they are told. While this is a good thing if you are worried about compliance. It’s not a good thing for the creativity of the sales individuals.
In fact, this is the biggest factor against implementing an auditing mindset in a sales team.
What we recommend
We believe the best way forward is to get rid of a formal auditing sheet and concentrate on positive enforcement of sales trainings and best practices.
A sales coach is a must, no matter how good your team is. Start out the process of coaching with an all hands that outlines the reasons for the coaching as well as the nature of the future meetings. You might want to avoid the word ‘auditing’ all together. Instead, use terms as 'coaching'.
What the sales coach should be doing
The sales coach should concentrate on improving skills as opposed to enforcing company policy. If you do not have a dedicated sales coach, your sales managers should be filling in this role. However, a dedicated sales coach is ideal.
The sales coach should also create a customised sales training plan for each member of your team. This will ensure your team does not end up spending hours on something they already know!
An individual training plan also motivates sales individuals to participate in the coaching process.