The Coaching Effect Blog

Sales Team Development Meetings

Posted by Sarah Wirth

February 19, 2014

Like many of you, the EcSELL Institute leadership team has a weekly meeting where we discuss strategies, goals and progress. These team meetings help keep us on the same page, drive collaboration among different departments and ensure that we are focused on our shared priorities. Once a month, however, we dedicate our weekly meeting to a different purpose – our development as individuals and professionals. I have to confess this is the weekly meeting that I look forward to the most because it’s a chance to step away from the day-to-day work and invest in ourselves and each other.

EcSELL Institute research shows two of the most important things sales managers can do to motivate their reps is help them improve their selling skills and develop their careers. The reason these activities increase rep motivation is because people tend to be more engaged in their work when they are improving, learning and developing. And this is precisely why we as a leadership team dedicate two hours each month to our own learning and growth. That is, we all feel more energized when we’ve taken the time to consider a new idea or explore a different concept, so the investment of time yields a great return by amping up our engagement and motivation.

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Topics: sales leadership, Employee engagement, Motivating Sales Team, company culture, Adaptive Leadership, coaching sales people, coaching sales reps, professional development

Using Spot Bonuses to Engage All Employees with Sales Efforts

Posted by Sarah Wirth

August 8, 2013

An EcSell member and I were discussing compensation recently.  Specifically, we were talking about how to use variable compensation and bonuses most effectively, and the member shared an interesting best practice with me.  In their organization, they use “spot bonuses” on an ad hoc basis to reward people that helped drive sales growth.  These spot bonuses are completely at the discretion of sales leadership as to when they are rewarded, to whom they are rewarded and the amount of the bonus.  Most importantly, spot bonuses are awarded to people who are not part of the sales team.

What the EcSell member’s company has seen is that spot bonuses are highly effective in creating excitement and enthusiasm about sales throughout the entire company because now everybody is eligible for additional compensation based on improved sales results.  The bonuses reinforce the importance of sales to the entire organization, but most importantly they help give ALL employees a line of sight to how they can impact sales.  Every time a spot bonus is
awarded, the entire company learns what that person did and how their actions eventually led to increased sales.  This constantly reinforces how each person can be integral to the growth efforts of the company.

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Topics: compensation recognition rewards, Employee engagement, retention sales, Discretionary Effort, recognition ideas for sales leaders, top performing employees, ideas for sales leaders

Are sales leaders mentally lazy?

Posted by Will Kloefkorn

August 9, 2012

By Will Kloefkorn, Sales Manager, EcSELL Institute

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Topics: Career Development, Employee engagement, Motivation, Accountability Coaching, EcSELL Institute, coaching, ideas for sales leaders

6 Steps To Conflict Resolution

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

May 14, 2012

Conflict is inevitable. How you resolve conflict is critical. Handling it effectively a key to success but handling it poorly is the roadmap to further conflict.  Robert Pagliarini the founder of Richer Life a community of passionate people who want to learn and achieve more in life and at work, recently wrote an article for CBS MoneyWatch based on his experience counseling hundreds of people on financial disagreements. He shared the six key steps to conflict resolution.  Whether dealing with a money issue, a disgruntled employee, or a frustrated boss, these six steps apply. After reading this article, please add you best practices on how you resolve conflict with your employees.

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Topics: Employee engagement, Sales Manager Tips, sales leadership best practices

4 Steps to Manage in a Virtual Office Environment

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

April 2, 2012

Our friends at Sales Benchmarking Index revealed some interesting data.  In 2011, over 78% of all sales professionals worked virtually over 50% of their time.  The numbers who work 100% virtually is over 38% and growing each year. Sales Managers need to face the facts.  Your field sales people are virtual. No longer can you go into an office and have a face to face interaction daily.  No longer can you rely on the non-verbal communication.  No longer can Sales Managers rely on running into their sales people ‘in the hallway.’

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Topics: sales management research, Employee engagement, technology for the sales process, retaining top talent, ideas for sales leaders

Status Quo? Only if you want to get left way behind.

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

January 18, 2012

The pace of change in our economy and our culture is accelerating--fueled by global adoption of social, mobile, and other new technologies--and our visibility about the future is declining. This article, written by Robert Safian  of Fast Company, is titled "This Is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New (And Chaotic) Frontier Of Business:The future of business is pure chaos. Here's how you can survive--and perhaps even thrive". It does an amazing job of describing this new business landscape and is a must read for every executive.  Here are the highlights. Enjoy!

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Topics: New Leaders, collaborative leadership, Sales Coaching Summit, Leadership Culture, Employee engagement, company culture, sales management skills

Progress Equals Engagement. Start 2012 Right!

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

January 4, 2012

To get yourself and your sales team off to a good start for the new year, focus on progress -  research proves it. Teresa Amabile is Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. She researches what makes people creative, productive, happy, and motivated at work. Steven Kramer is a psychologist and independent researcher. They are coauthors of The Progress Principle (Harvard Business Review Press, 2011) Teresa and STeven discovered that fostering progress in meaningful work is the most important way to keep people highly engaged at work — even if that progress is a "small win."

The phenomenon is called the progress principle; it works because people want to feel that they are contributing to something that matters. The new year presents a great opportunity for managers to put the progress principle into action.

  • First, note the progress made by your team or organization over the past year — the major accomplishments and the small wins, too. And communicate the list broadly. All too often, progress gets ignored as people move from one task or project to another. Simply noting what was accomplished and how it contributed to the goals of the organization can have a big impact on how people feel about themselves, the organization, and the work they do. Wesley, a researcher at a chemicals firm that participated in our study, made clear how much it meant to him when his VP did this at a holiday celebration: "We had a wonderful Christmas celebration, during which time our VP and Director of R&D reflected on our terrific achievements over the year."
  • Don't stop with enumerating the year's accomplishments. Celebrate that progress and recognize all those who contributed to it. People who work hard deserve the opportunity to celebrate and rejoice in what they have accomplished. It nourishes them psychologically and motivates them to accomplish even more in the coming year. And don't recognize only the people directly responsible for a particular achievement. Recognize everyone who contributed across the organization, including support staff. For people to give their best in the future, they must feel that their hard work really matters. They benefit, through satisfying engagement in their work. And the organization benefits, too. When employees are more engaged in their work, their performance improves — contributing to the bottom line.
  • Map out goals for progress in the upcoming year and say why that progress matters. Be sure to include both broad, aspirational goals and smaller, interim milestones. For people to be fully engaged, they must feel that they are making steady progress, not just slogging away in hopes of a major breakthrough. And be sure to articulate why those goals matter — why they are meaningful to the organization, customers, and/or society. Making progress on meaningless work doesn't boost engagement; people must feel that they are contributing to something they value. Great leaders at every level of an organization are able to communicate not only what needs to be done, but why it is important. This means communicating the mission and values of the organization, and ensuring that all employees understand how their own work contributes to the mission.
  • Finally, resolve to support people's progress each day in the coming year. For the progress principle to work, people should experience progress more often than setbacks. Give them the goals, resources, and time they need to succeed, and remove or reduce any obstacles to progress. And insist that people across the organization support each other as much as possible. Create a climate of attention to progress, where everyone is looking for opportunities, every day, to help colleagues move forward on meaningful work.

These actions are not difficult or costly, but they can have a real impact on employee engagement and performance. Make it your pre-New Year's resolution to give your sales people meaningful work to do and to support, recognize, and celebrate their contributions now and throughout the coming year.

What tips do you have for ending the year at work on a positive note and jump-starting progress for the coming year?

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Topics: Employee engagement, Motivation

10 Reasons Why You Lose Top Sales Talent

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

December 28, 2011

Eric Jackson recently wrote a story for Forbes Magazine about the "Top Ten Reasons Why Large Companies Fail To Keep Their Best Talent."  Interestingly, may of these problems could have been avoided if management had better coaching and leadership skills. Your workforce is demanding more and it is the responsibility of the sales manager to meet those needs in order to retain your best employees. (Learn how the sales management profession must evolve to keep pace with societal, technological, and workforce change at the spring Sales Coaching Summit.)

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Topics: Employee engagement, retaining top talent, retention sales, Performance Review, Leadership & Management

How Hiring a Sales Manager Can Be a Growth Strategy. Part Two

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

December 7, 2011

In a recent report, CSO Insights revealed some telling statistics that relate to the sales management function. More than 90% of companies have raised revenue targets – in many cases by over 25%.  This requires sales reps to be fully engaged in the extra effort that it will take to make successful sales. It also requires that the VP of Sales from growth-oriented companies know how to hire sales managers that can grow a sales team that will flourish during these economic conditions. Danita Bye, President of Sales Growth Strategies, shares further research on this subject in part two of this series.

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Topics: Employee engagement, talent identification & acquisition

Managing Millennials Part 3: Selling "Selling" to Millennials

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

November 7, 2011

When talking to sales managers, the most frequent complaints about the Millennial generation are that they don't want to work hard (pay their dues), and they don't appreciate the opportunity a sales career can provide. These sales managers feel they have their backs to the wall. They know they need to hire new reps because their senior people are getting ready to retire, but they can't attract the right kind of young people to the career. Here are three suggestions to help senior sales managers make the sales career attractive to young people.

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Topics: sales producer, Employee engagement, Motivating Sales Team, Millennials

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