Sales Coaching Blog

Highlights from Nov Sales Management Webinar

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

November 25, 2009

We had a great Sales Management Webinar yesterday. Our featured instructor was Dick Canada, CEO, Dartmouth Group, Founder of the Center for Global Sales Leadership at the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University, and business author of "The 24 Sales Traps and How To Avoid Them". It was an active discussion between Dick and Bill Eckstrom, Founder and President of the EcSELL Institute.  

Highlights:

  • Caution your people not to negotiate too early - create value first 
  • Discard open vs closed questions - coach to pain and problem questions
  • Ensure your people offer solutions later in the sales cycle - after needs are developed  
  • Be cautious attending closing calls - it is usually about lack of effectiveness (investigation of needs)
  • Encourage field travel of "first calls" where needs are uncovered and developed
  • Plan questions prior to call. Ask your sales rep to write down ten questions and look to see how many are fact-based/closed ended questions and how many are pain/problem question. 
  • Schedule appointments 10-14 days out for senior executives
  • Focus on only one behavior at a time for coaching calls
  • Manage effectiveness in transactional sale and coach strategies and effectiveness in consultative (major account) sales

They talked about the two important drivers of sales results.

  • Efficiency - how you go about getting in front of the customer. This is very important in transactional sales.    
  • Effectiveness - how you behave once you are in front of the customer. This is critical in consultative sales.

As a sales manager, you need to be very aware of the type of sale your rep is dealing with and then focus your energy on the driver that has the greatest impact on that type of sale. 

Dick Canada also provided his recommended reading list.

  • Managing Major Sales by Ruff & Rackham
  • Major Account Sales Strategies by Rackham
  • The 24 Sales Traps by Canada
  • Managing the Field Sales Force by Spiro

A really good question was sent in after the Sales Management Webinar. Here it is:

QUESTION: "How much time should a Sales Manager spend with his sales reps on sales calls. That is, if a sales rep calls on an account 5 time per year. How many of those calls should the Sales Manager make with him. Is there a rule of thumb, or is it just a matter of need. Of course, if there is no need defined or known to exist, it could mean he doesn't need to make any sales calls with him...?"

ANSWER from Bill Eckstrom: "I would not measure it by the number of times visiting an account, but only by time spent with each rep (regardless of account), and think about it this way. How much of your coaching can a rep effectively utilize?

Sales reps need to improve upon, as Dick Canada puts it, efficiency, effectiveness or both. Do you have a method for measuring efficiency/effectiveness and how often do your reps deserve feedback on their skills that ultimately produce sales?

In my first field sales management role I had 10 sales reps, and would make sure I traveled with each a minimum of two times yearly (spent a minimum of two days with each rep on each trip). With each "ride-a-long", they received written feedback on activity levels and skill sets (this was in addition to almost daily calls with each). There was no way to measure their progress without going with them on sales calls at least twice yearly.

This was again summarized in their annual review. It is a juggling act, but no less than twice yearly and quarterly if time permits. I would not recommend more frequency, for there needs to be sufficient time between "ride-a-longs" for the reps to work on what you coached them to do.

Regarding your thoughts on "need" to spend time with reps, whether the reps think they have a need or not--THERE IS ALWAYS A NEED! Every sales leader, manager or rep should be constantly striving to improve upon their respective skills. As Sales Managers, it is our job to create that culture, and it won't be created without actively coaching reps at every level of their development. It should not be an option for them."

Join us for our next Sales Management Webinar on December 14, 2009 at 10 PST / 12 CST / 1 EST.   Check out the topic and instructor.        CLICK HERE

Topics: sales management webinar, Leadership & Management, Sales Management, sales management resources, sales management books

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