From setting boundaries with sales reps to pushing back on unrealistic demands from above – the entire company needs to treat sales coaching time as essential.

Sales reps imagine the life of a sales manager to be one filled with time. Time to devise the next great sales incentive or craft sales coaching tactics that would make Gene Hackman’s character in Hoosiers weep. 

One of the biggest shocks for those new to sales management is just how little time a sales manager has in their day. Instead of working on those big-picture issues within the sales organization, management is typically working in the weeds, helping close deals and manage client issues.

What often doesn’t make its way into the schedule of a busy sales manager? Sales coaching.

Here are three signs your sales management team is too busy to coach, and tips to help sales managers make the time in their jam-packed schedule to help the sales team level up their sales skills and selling behaviors – and avoid the “I’m too busy for sales coaching” trap:

1 Boundaries? What Boundaries?

As a sales manager, one of the most important words in your vocabulary is “no.” There is an overwhelming number of demands on a sales manager’s time. It’s easy to get dragged into a million directions. But by continually dropping everything to put out fires, the sales manager may be unwittingly sending a message that their time is up for grabs. 

Tip: Encourage all members of your sales management team to be respectful of their own time and set boundaries with their team. Remind them that turning down meetings to make time for sales coaching may actually turn up the department’s sales.

2. Forgetting to Block Time

Calendars fill up. Sales coaching can seem like a lower priority item than, say, helping a deal across the last few yards to the finish line. The problem is, if something is not on a sales manager’s calendar, it is not going to happen. Sales management needs to block time in their calendar for sales coaching (just like any other important task or meeting), otherwise, it just won’t happen. 

“Sales coaching should be considered a sacred time. ” Dario Priolo, Selleration

Tip: Ensure sales management understands that sales coaching is a high priority within the organization as a whole. And that they should not only block weekly time for sales coaching on their calendar, they should also establish a sales management cadence. Bonus structures for sales leadership tied to sales management functions and team skill development help send the message that sales coaching is a priority for the organization and the sales manager’s time.

3. Demanding Sales Organizations

It’s easy to blame the sales manager for not getting sales coaching done, but the blame could actually lie with the sales organization itself. Sales management can be bombarded with requests for reports, stats, and feedback; these demands can easily get out of control.

When sales managers are dedicating their time to fulfilling requests from other departments, it’s not just their stress level that increases. Reps can grow frustrated when management is unable to find dedicated time to help develop their overall sales skills or give feedback on strengths and weaknesses.

Tip: Have a frank discussion with your sales management team. Ask if demands from the C-suite or other departments are interfering with their ability to find the time to help sales reps succeed and grow. If that’s the case, take steps to lessen the demand on sales management – whether it’s automated reporting, or creating processes (including blocking time) for internal needs to be fulfilled.

Sales Managers as Coaches: Use what time you have wisely and with purpose.

There will never be more time in the sales manager’s day. So for sales coaching to happen, it has to be a priority for every single person within the sales organization. 

From setting boundaries with sales reps to pushing back on unrealistic demands from above – the entire company needs to treat sales coaching time as essential. Otherwise, your sales management team will continue falling into this all-too-common sales coaching trap.