Sales Coaching Blog

Sales Performance is not About the Sales Rep

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

March 26, 2014

Bill_Eckstrom_Headshot_2014_sWhat I say in the title of this blog is not a “chicken and the egg” thing—it is fact.  Sales performance is not about sales reps.  If you don’t believe this, fire all your sales managers and see what happens; sales revenue will eventually go away, new sales will dry up (unless your managers stink).  Or, consider the antithesis and fire all your sales reps; do this and great coaches will find a way to replace them (because recruiting should be the role of every coach) and keep sales moving.

You see, performance is not about hitting a sales goal, hitting goal is what sales leaders get paid to do. Maximizing performance is the essence of any sales leader’s role, and performance is the output that results from coaching.  So, maximizing performance is the result of doing the right activities, with the right people, with the right effectiveness.  So here’s an idea—quit worrying about the number and focus on maximizing the performance of your team! 

My statement of “performance is not about sales reps” will be hard for some to swallow, and those who wish to debate this are likely the same ones who are not willing to face the realization that it all falls on them.  “Them”, being the front line managers, the next level managers or one up from there, and “it” being the responsibility to maximize sales.  Think about the management role like this… from now on it is never the sales rep’s fault!  As long as a sales manager has the responsibility to hire/fire, performance falls on their lap.  And, if that is the case it is time to put structure and discipline to the manager role so coaching effectiveness can be measured and performance maximized.  It is time for all sales forces to implement a sales coaching methodology.

To answer the above need, the EcSell Institute has created something that will forever change the world of sales, and our members are the first to have the ability to be a part of this revolution (this post is not meant as an advertisement, but my passion for this topic would wane if there were no solution). When sales departments come to the realization that managers are the opportunity and solution for growth (not the sales people), the logical next step is to provide them a coaching & management methodology that can be tracked for compliance and effectiveness.  Until this happens there are no metrics to show if managers can coach, lead or even manage.   And, without knowing this there is no way to acknowledge if managers are enhancing or hindering performance (our estimates are at least 60% of sales managers are hindering their team’s ability to sell more).

Coaching no longer has to be a soft skill, and when properly tracked produces hard metrics and data leading to information that sales leaders have never before seen, and when utilized properly will produce sales outcomes that have never before been realized.  Again, maximizing sales is not about the rep, but about what managers do, or don’t do, with reps that most impacts sales results.

So, now you know.  Now you know there is another way to grow sales that I can implicitly state is a more sustainable and effective way to grow. 

If you read this you can elect to do nothing, and the bell curve shows that many will sit back and view the early adapters anyway.  They will watch to see how it works and may even decide it’s just too much work.  Or, you can jump out in front.  Be the leader, the innovator that may cause some waves, but is willing to shake things up a bit to see better results.  However, regardless of where you fall on the curve—you won’t forget.  For some time tomorrow, next month or next year, your boss will ask about it, your competition may be using it or you may decide yourself it is time.  But, you won’t forget.  Because in spite of the complexity this transition may cause, by doing nothing you have made a conscious decision to minimize sales results.  And, having walked in your shoes, there is no way I could sleep at night knowing that everyone made less money because of me.

Read more about how coaching impacts sales team performance by downloading this free e-book Sales Performance Made Simple:  Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

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