Editor's Note: This post has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on December 7, 2020.
Simply stated, the job of everyone in a management role is to drive greater performance of their team, and sales is no exception.
Moving to a Sales COaching Model
At our last summit, I referred to the need of our profession to move from a traditional sales "management" model to a sales "coaching" model. The management model in sales is typically comprised of sales managers only held accountable to tasks/duties and tools/processes, with the strategy or belief those are all it takes to hit a number - though we hear the word coaching with much greater frequency, it is only referred to as an action, not a position. As a verb, coaching, though valuable, is too limited in scope. Coach is also a position similar to a golfer who golfs. In sales we have sales coaches (formerly known as sales managers) who coach.
The reason for the change in vernacular is the word and position of manager was developed in the industrial/manufacturing era with a primary purpose of making sure those on the manager’s team were following the tools and processes that led to a predictable outcome. This meant discipline and efficiencies were hammered home with associates, with little regard to human relations, for during the manufacturing era, businesses did not understand the impact of human relations on productivity.
When you think of the word "coach", it was derived from athletic teams where a coach’s job description was simple: Win. Their jobs encompassed strategy, human relations understanding, personal interactions, tools, processes, team development, developing assistant coaches, etc. In addition to being more robust than the understanding of the "manager" role, "coach" sounds more like what we need to do in sales to consistently succeed. Coaching is not a component of the job, coaching is the job!
The Sales Performance Model
As with any model put forth by the EcSell Institute, the end result has to be increased performance. Here is the new performance equation and model with a sales coach as the driver.
P = Process:
In contributing to the performance of individuals and team, process is the element that drives execution and consistency. When coaches create an orderly work environment, goals are clear and team members are held accountable for achieving them. Team members also know the processes to follow to execute their work in the most efficient way and they find those processes to be valuable to improving their performance.
R = Relationship:
This is the foundational driver of effective individual and team performance. Without a good relationship, it is difficult to lead a team member because you will not know them well enough to when and how to motivate them to achieve. Nor will they trust you enough to allow you to push them to their best performance levels.
C = C-Factor:
Departing from order and venturing into complexity is challenging for almost everyone, and it’s even harder for coaches to convince others to do so. But the most successful coaches are adept at challenging those on their teams in unique ways to foster growth.
G = Growth:
To lead your team to maximum performance and growth, you must leverage each of the drivers above. Ignoring them, even while embracing the other two, will yield an imbalance in your coaching style.
These are critical changes to the way a sales manager should approach his or her job and directly affects a team's performance. The output is a measurable result that can and should differ for each business, department, region, or role.
For more insight into the Performance Equation, check out this resource: