Photo by Hattie Kingsley Photography
Want to hear a joke? What do Nike and top performing sales managers have in common?
They just do it.
Okay, okay. That was a terrible joke, I admit. But at the same time, the thought behind this is actually sound. Recently, I wrote up the findings from some EcSell Institute research on the ways that top performing sales managers work and coach that make them successful.
Here is my quick summary of what I found.
1. Top performing sales managers are better at coaching their team members.
Shocker? Not really. We at EcSell have a bit of a broken record thing going on when we say that “Nothing Impacts Growth More Than Coaching”. Top performers perform better because they coach better. They’re able to encourage, identify, develop, push and pull the little details from each of their reps that elevate their individual performance and, hence, their team’s performance.
2. Top performing sales managers coach their team members more.
Again, we’re not making logical leaps and bounds here. Sales team members perform, collectively, at higher levels when they are coached more often. This finding comes straight from the mouths of sales reps. When sales reps say they have more coaching interactions with their leader, they also have greater sales outcomes.
This just makes sense. If you exercise more, you’ll likely lose more weight. If you practice piano more, you’ll likely be able to play more difficult pieces. If you receive more coaching from your manager, you’ll likely sell more.
3. Top performing sales managers document their coaching activities more.
Here’s where things get interesting. Part of EcSell’s offerings is the ONE-UP Coaching Cloud. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll just say it’s a tool to help sales managers keep track of their coaching activities.
Top performing sales managers are much more likely to use this tool and document their coaching activities. And the difference isn’t minor, it’s huge. What this means is, when asked to do so by their organization, top performers take the time to account for the coaching they do with their team.
This last finding may be surprising, and let’s be honest, somewhat of a bummer for many. Raise your hand if you love the documentation aspects of your work. Anyone? Anyone?…….Bueller?
But try this. . .
Pick an average member of your sales team — not your best and not your worst — and ask yourself these questions:
1) How many 1:1 meetings have you had with this team member this year?
2) What, specifically, did you discuss with them during that first meeting of the year? How about during your most recent meeting?
3) How, precisely, has this team member developed, improved or plateaued between the two points in time?
I’d wager a guess that coming up with particulars to these questions may not be easy. Why? Because you’re busy. Because you have multiple people that you coach. Because you have details and to-dos lined up all begging for space on your memory board.
4. Top performing sales managers have figured out that a way to assert some control over the list of things that can easily get out of control is to document their coaching.
By adding documentation to their coaching process, they have an advantage in the game. Recalling past events is easier. Holding reps accountable is easier. Seeing gaps in who and how they are coaching is easier. And demonstrating the power of their role is easier.
Does it take some time? Sure. Is it everyone’s favorite thing to do? Not always. But top performing sales managers show us it’s a big game changer when it comes to improving sales and sales coaching.
Want to improve your coaching game? Want to improve sales? Document.
This was just a quick summary of the findings highlighted in our research. If you want to learn more about growing your coaching skills and becoming a top performer, read my full analysis in the white paper below — Just do it.
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