The Coaching Effect Blog

What is Sales Management Missing?

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

December 16, 2009

william eckstrom and ecsells institute 

Most everyone agrees the productivity of their sales team is a reflection of the way they are led, managed and coached by senior leaders in their department.  EcSELL's research proves this as does the plethora of research that hits the desks of sales execs every year. 

EcSELL's first white paper of 2009 shows that outside of the ability to identify and acquire talent, the way sales teams are led and managed ranks #2 in terms of sales management's impact on sales team productivity.  96% stated these skills had a strong to extremely strong effect on sales productivity.  The obvious follow up is then to ask respondents to rank their own skills or those of the Sales Managers on their team.  When complete, only 69% gave a top two box score with only 15% ranking their leadership and management skills as "extremely strong".  In EcSELL's most recent research, we are separating the "coaching" competency and the early returns indicate less than half will be in the top two box, with the preponderance being "neutral" to "weak".

Add the above stats to Bersin's & Assoc. research that shows half of U.S. companies have some sort of leadership development programs for their management/exec teams and the numbers begin to make sense. 

I find it baffling when organizations claim to understand the need for development, but do nothing.  Think about the progression:

  • Organizations are expecting/needing increases in sales revenue this year
  • The revenue produced by your sales teams is a reflection of the way they are led, managed and coached
  • If production increases are needed, it would make sense that organizations also need to increase their leadership, management and coaching acumen
  • Only 50% of businesses have plans to improve how they lead, manage and coach sales teams

Logically then, the organizations that are doing nothing only "hope" to improve the productivity of their sales teams since they are not putting resources against what science shows has such a significant impact.

EcSELL's answer to all this...continually provide the opportunity for all your Sales Managers to learn and develop the traits and skills that great leaders, managers and coaches possess.  The investment to do so doesn't have to be exorbitant; there are resources out there, such as EcSELL that provide this type of programming in perpetuity. 

Our EcSELL members have an expectation that their sales management team should always be improving, and they are not waiting for a corporate initiative to begin the journey.

Topics: Career Development Plans, Professional Development Ideas

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