Every sales department wants to grow sales, but too often sales leaders attempt to increase performance by only asking reps to sell more. Can reps do this? Of course, but if sales leaders learned how to coach, lead and manage with greater efficiency and effectiveness, the results would have a more immediate and long term positive impact.
EcSELL Institute research shows that 39% of sales leaders said their personal skill development was “more important” to driving performance than improving the sales skills of their reps. 58% said it was “equally important” while only 3% thought improving the selling skills of the reps was more important. Having said all that, only 50% of the participants in our study said their respective companies provided any resources for sales manager skill development.
Now the challenge… EcSELL’s theory behind the above disparity, which highlights the gap between what sales managers need to grow sales and the lack of applied resources, is as follows: we believe most sales leaders cannot articulate the activities and behaviors--within their control--that drives performance of sales teams. And, because of this they don’t know what or how to train sales leaders in order to improve results. Don’t get me wrong, sales leaders know they should spend time with reps, they know they should analyze and track metrics, they know they should have one-on-ones with their reps, team meetings, etc. But further research shows that in many cases, even though activities like this occur, they do not occur in a fashion reps deem effective, therefore the results needle does not move to the highest levels. Bottom line: sales leaders are not maximizing their team’s performance.
Sales Team Performance Pyramid
At a high level, there are three components of performance sales leadership can control, that strongly impact sales results. There are management tools and processes, leadership behaviors and what we refer to as catalytic coaching (C Factor). Sales leaders have the ability to affect the skills, behaviors and outcomes of all three components, and therefore are empowered to drive performance of their team. Watch for future blogs where we will take deeper dives into all aspects of management (along with the 6 Pillars of Management Productivity), leadership and the catalytic factor.