Sales Coaching Blog

Sales Leaders: Your Team is Perfectly Coached for the Results They Produce

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

June 18, 2014

Bill_Eckstrom_Headshot_2014_sSometime back I put together this chart in order to make a point to sales leaders. I plotted the national defensive ranking of a major collegiate football team over a 15 year period.  The measurement is “total defense national ranking" at the end of season.  Put another way, the chart shows how this specific defense ranked versus the other approx. 132 division I football programs.  And, while this graph shows a disturbing trend, here is what you need to know; a new defensive coordinator was hired prior to each season signified by the number in red: 

 

 

   1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

     4       13      12       5        8       4       26      8        55     11      56     26       56    114     55     7

At the end of 1999, the old defensive coordinator retired and in 2000 a new coach took over the defense.  The old coach’s defense averaged a national ranking of 7.6 over a six year period.  The new coach averaged a national defensive ranking of 29.6 over a three year period. 

At the end of the 2002 season the defensive coordinator was moved out and a new defensive coach took over in 2003.  That coordinator took the defense from 55th place to 11th place in a single year.   

Due to some athletic department moves, another coach took over control of the defense the following year, 2004, until he was discharged at the end of the 2007 season.  Under his four year reign, the ranking of his defenses averaged 63rd nationally. 

Finally, another coach became coordinator in 2008 and within two years the ranking went from 114th to 7th

If you follow college football, or any sport, the above is not surprising, for we all know it starts and stops with the coach.  How a coach identifies talent, acquires talent (recruits), retains talent, develops talent, strategizes, plans, engages with players, challenges players, etc., all spit out an end result that equates to a performance ranking.  Every coach owns this.  If you don’t like the results, get a new coach or teach the existing coach a new way to impact performance.

The comparisons to sales management should be obvious.  Not only from understanding what it means to coach (quit thinking in such micro terms, think of coaching as being accountable for everything that impacts the performance of your team), but that your team is perfectly coached for the results they produce.

Are you happy with the results?  Are you making goal?  Are you making it by the skin of your teeth?  Will you make it next month, next quarter, next year?  Is your team successful because of your skills or in spite of them? 
Your team is perfectly coached for the results they produce.

Gallup’s recent research claims that only two out of ten managers have the talents to fully succeed.  Two more have some of the talents and could be sufficient, and 6 out of 10 (60% for you non math majors) basically have none of the talent.  Here is my grasp of the obvious… according to statistics, 60% of YOUR managers are in the wrong role and will fail, 20% more will never maximize team performance and the 20% balance has the ability to maximize the performance of their team, but likely will never get it done for they don’t know what it is they should do more or less of.  BTW—if you get both 20% groups performing to their abilities, they contribute about 48% greater profits than the 60% group.
Your team is perfectly coached for the results they produce.

One of the challenges is identifying the 60 percenters along with the 20 percenters?  While hiring assessments can assist prior to moving one into a sales management role, organizations should not use them to determine who to keep or move out regarding their existing sales management team.  So, the only way to identify and weed out poor management performers is to measure their coaching/leadership/management acumen and then educate them--teach them what drives performance, give them the proper tools, provide all managers a plan to implement what was taught, hold each and every one accountable for executing activities, analyze results and measure again to see if improvement is happening.   If you do this you have provided every manager the opportunity to succeed, and will now have objective data from which hard, performance changing decisions can be made. 
Remember-your team is perfectly coached for the results they produce.

To learn more about how to be a high performing manager, attend the EcSell Fall Coaching Summit

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Topics: sales leadership, sales team performance, sales team coaching,

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