Bill Eckstrom’s session at this year's Summit demonstrated the evolution of sales coaching and power of being an extraordinary sales coach.
Here is a summary of his presentation. I only wish you could have heard it in person!
In 2009, Google was wondering why some divisions were performing better than others, so in classic Google form, they went on a metric mission to understand what was happening. They spent the better part of a year doing interviews, surveys, coding questions and answers, etc. When completed and the report was presented to the VP for People Operations (which is Google speak for HR), his response was “That’s it? It’s that simple?”
Google, like most companies, put associates into management and advanced them through management roles due to their deep technical expertise. What they found in their research is that a manager's technical expertise ranked dead last in what was important to their team’s success.
Google missed the fundamental driver of performance: Sales Coaching!
Why is something that can be so easy to acknowledge be so hard to execute against? This poses two questions that are critical to explore and answer.
- Why are so many organizations stuck?
- What is the solution to better sales coaching?
As many of you already know, at the EcSell Institute we’ve been putting a great deal of our resources against the science of sales coaching. We’ve affiliated ourselves with people like Dr. Mary Uhl-Bien at the Institute for Innovative Leadership and others. Here is a snippet of what the EcSell Institute is learning. First let's answer question #1.
"Why are so many sales managers stuck?"
Mega trends have changed management. Let's begin by looking at the different era’s.
Agrarian Era: This was a time when success was determined by skill, work ethic, some of your intellectual capital and certainly the elements (weather).
- Selling Process — one to one
- Management Approach — only managed oneself
- Leadership — was not in the vernacular
- Coaching — was non existent
Industrial Era: The era was characterized by tools and processes. System efficiency and discipline were hammered into people. Keep in mind during the late 1950’s, the U.S. peaked with almost 55% -75% of our economy was manufacturing based.Selling Process
Service Era: This era was all about the customer. 1980 economy has fallen to 30% manufacturing. The conversion to service products and a service based economy was in full swing. Research suddenly recognizes the impact ofthe right human capital. Persoanal strengths are valued and talent-based science/research is introduced.Selling Process
SPECIAL NOTE: Today, this is where most organization still reside regarding their coaching, leadership and management approach
Now let’s focus on where we need to be.
Network Era: Today only 9% of our jobs as manufacturing based and we have become a networked society. The buzzwords are “distributed information", "relationality", "connectionist”. We went from the “customer is always right” to hearing things such as “we just fired a customer” to "the customer had already made up his mind on what he wanted to buy before we ever made a sales call." The customer is now an active part of of the sales process—not just someone you serve. Customer involvement is the norm Intellectual capital no longer equals power because it is now so easily accessed and gained by anyone.Selling Process
- Management: Obtaining and resourcing the tools and processes
- Leadership: It is a behavior, not an organizational potion. Research is showing that leadership behavior is needed at all levels in order to maximize performance. It does not just reside in the management levels. Leadership is “using influence to create change”
- Sales Coach: This term is replacing Sales Manager. We define it as "creating a leadership culture and guiding the individuals and the team to achieve organizational results".
- Coaching is not regurgitating metrics or analytics, but it is those numbers that tell you where and what to coach.
- Coaching is not just about developing a sales methodology, it is about working with those on your team to execute it flawlessly.
- Coaching is not about telling your Sales Managers’s to just hit their number, it is about spending time with them and helping them develop into better coaches.
- Coaching is about understanding each person as an individual and setting up a development plan based on their unique needs and goals.
Being an extraordinarly sales coach is the first and foremost requirement of anyone in sales management and it is what will make the biggest impact on sales performance.
What is the solution? Put yourself on the journey of discovery.
Our sales management profession is undergoing a major evolution—we are moving toward the Sales "Coach" of people rather than a Sales “Manager” of tools and processes.
Sales 2.0, which is all the rage, is about the technology, which certainly is a compoent of the job. However, while important, I have never heard a top producer stand up at the annual meeting and thank management for the new CRM system! In order to maximize performance, you need to focus on coaching people, not just managing the technology.
Bottom line is this: We believe that organizations need to focus their energy and resources on becoming a better coach. But realize this, great coaching will not magically appear. It will happen with diligent effort and a investment in yourself and your sales management team! Let EcSell help you with this journey. That is what we are all about.
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