The Coaching Effect Blog

5 Most Important Questions for a Sales Manager to Ask

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

April 11, 2012

Dave Kurlan, president of Objective Management Group, was a featured instructor at our spring Sales Coaching Summit. Dave continues to pioneer the sales assessment industry by providing EcSELL Institute members with crucial insights into sales force intelligence to ensure you can answer the “5 Most Important Questions”.  Here are the highlights from his Summit session.

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Topics: Sales Coaching Summit, Pillars, partners, talent identification & acquisition

Emotional Intelligence on the Sales Team

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

December 22, 2010

Emotional Intelligence on the Sales Team

Jaime Davis-Thomas, EcSELL Institute Director of Research & Publications

Emotional intelligence involves “the intelligent use of emotions: you intentionally make your emotions work for you by using them to help guide your behavior and thinking in ways that enhance your results” (Weisinger, 1998).

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Topics: sales producer, Career Development, sales management research, collaborative leadership, Emotional Intelligence, sales leadership, sales coaching, sales rep peformance, EcSELL Institute, Pillars, coaching, professional development, assessment tools

Stop Competing on Price

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

November 22, 2010

Stop Competing on Price

Written by EcSELL Institute's friend,  Howard Shore, Executive and Business Coach. We hope you enjoy it!

It is not unusual to find companies that have made a lot of changes to the business only to find that those changes had little impact on its ability to increase market share, or worse yet, caused market share to decline. It is also common to go into companies and find only a small percentage of their clients/consumers showing loyalty. The predominant discussions among their salespeople revolve around price. Many business owners mistakenly believe there is nothing that can be done to change client/consumer focus on price.

Declining market share, stable market share, and disloyal clients/consumers mean that a company does not have a suitable strategy or that its strategy is not being executed well. There are some companies whose strategy is to have the lowest prices in the marketplace (e.g. Walmart), and they have the scale, systems, and infrastructure to continually keep costs lower than their competition, allowing them to earn a sizeable profit because of the volume they generate. As long as a company has the capacity and/or can find enough vendors willing to put products on their shelves so that price/volume mix is worth the return on effort, it is a good business model. The challenge is that this is a tough place to play. Technology is constantly changing, and many businesses find that there is always someone willing to sell cheaper. So then what?

People often spend more time figuring out how to build their fantasy football teams, plan their vacations, and handle other unimportant matters than they spend on building their business strategy. While strategic planning is more difficult and is likely to result in some mistakes, not putting the proper time into strategy is inexcusable. Business strategy should be revisited at least quarterly in every business. Most companies do not make the time, and it costs them millions in future revenue and profits that they’ll never see.

A big part of building a strategy that helps avoid price competition is having the ability to segment the potential client/consumer base and target ownership of specific segments. The more segments you want to own, the higher your cost structure. The better you position and execute your segment ownership plan, the more you will grow. The key to segmentation is not looking at market segments by customer size, geography, industry group, or other traditional demographics. The key is to look them by the need or want that your company can best serve. Here are some examples:

  • Are they the type of customer that only looks for lowest price, no matter what?
  • Are you in the hospitality business, and are they looking to be pampered?
  • Are you in the fitness business? Are your target customers the ones whose doctors have told them that they will die before they are 40 if they do not trim 40 pounds?
  • Are you in the hearing aid business? Are your target customers those who have lost their hearing and are very sensitive about the issue and want to do business with people that understand their pain and can provide them with a proper experience to deal with this sensitive issue?
  • Are you in the transportation, freight forwarding, and logistics industry, and your clients are always squeezing you for lowest price? Could you charge them a lot more and still save them a lot of money if you helped them solve the inefficiencies in their logistics functions?

When developing your strategy, you must understand the potential marketplace at least 3 years out and project how you think your industry is changing in terms of products, customers, technology, delivering products and services, sophistication of employees, and other pertinent matters. Once you have considered these factors, you need to segment the different types of clients you have and which segments you want to own. Then you need to build your strategy to own them. If you are primarily competing on pricing and do not own any segment today, you have a tremendous opportunity to improve your growth and profits. Just take the time to build a winning strategy.


Great article, thanks Howard.  If you enjoyed this, you might also find the article "Creating Willing Buyers" interesting as well. This white paper comes from our Resource Library and is a small sample of the way we keep our members abreast of the latest research, technology, tools,and best practices in sales management. As the sales coach, it will be your job to make sure your reps are prepared to sell solutions, not compete on price.  Need some help with this? That's what we are here for!  Call us anytime 402-850-4239. Just ask for Will.



Howard Shore is a business growth expert that works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To contact Howard Shore please call (305) 722-7216 or email him at .

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Topics: sales producer, EcSELL Institute Partner, sales coaching, Pillars, sales methodology & sales skills development

Sales Rep Behaviors that Predict Customer Loyalty

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

October 4, 2010

Our Pillar Partner, Brookeside Analytics, has identified sales rep behaviors that predict customer loyalty. These are an extension of the Employee's loyalty predictive index - a study conducted by Harvard at AT&T.

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Topics: sales producer, Best Practice, Customer Service, Leadership & Management, Pillars, Sales Management, partners, Resources for sales managers

Research Focus: Professional Development in Sales

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

July 8, 2010

By J Davis-Thomas, Research & Publications  

Each month, the EcSELL Institute Research & Publications Team focuses on one of the 6 Pillars of Sales Managment. This time, we're focusing on Professional Development in Sales.

At EcSELL Institute, we know professional development in sales -- management's ability to meet the individual reps' needs related to their own careers -- is one of the drivers of sales productivity. In fact, according to our survey of Sales Managers, 91% of sales managers polled believed that Professional Development strongly impacted the productivity of a sales team. 

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Topics: sales training, Career Development, sales management research, Research, sales coaching, Pillars, professional development, assessment tools, 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity, time management, sales methodology & sales skills development

10 Golden Rules of Sales Force Productivity

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

June 22, 2010

Ellen Bristol, Bristol Strategy GroupGuest Article by Ellen Bristol, Bristol Strategy Group

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Topics: EcSELL Institute Partner, Planning, Customer Service, sales analytics & performance tracking, sales rep peformance, Pillars, Sales Management, sales performance, 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity, time management, sales methodology & sales skills development

Learnin' to Fly, But I Ain't Got Wings

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

June 10, 2010

Research Focus: Sales Methodology & Sales Skills Development by Jaime Davis-Thomas, EcSELL Institute Resident Nerd 

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Topics: sales training, Research, EcSELL Institute, Pillars, Sales Management, 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity, sales methodology & sales skills development

Sales Manager And Leadership Lessons

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

April 27, 2010

"Was there one of my top 150 people who was thinking, ‘You know, Jeff, commercial real estate shouldn't be so #@$%!* big', but didn't have a way to say it".  Jeff Immelt, GE's Chairman & CEO is now looking for new ways to connect with, develop and coach his team and he seems to have gotten creative.

Think about it this way...  Let's say you have a sales rep who put together a great year and exceeded their number in a big way.  Any prudent Sales Exec/Manager would investigate what they are doing and share new best practices with the balance of their team in hopes of emulating the result.  Don't pass up the same opportunity given what we know about GE, their success and approach to developing talent. 

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Topics: Best Practice, New Leaders, Sales manager training, Career Development, front line sales managers, sales coaching, professional development for sales management, Leadership & Management, EcSELL Institute, Pillars, Executives, Sales Management, sales management skills, coaching, professional development, sales management resources, Resources for sales managers, sales performance, 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity

Making Sales Performance Analytics Work for You

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

April 5, 2010

posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas 

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Topics: Best Practice, Engagement, sales analytics & performance tracking, technology for the sales process, goals, sales coaching, Leadership & Management, Pillars, coaching, sales performance, 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity

The Role of the Sales Coach

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

December 9, 2009

bill eckstrom

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Topics: New Leaders, Teamwork, Sales Management Summit, Leadership & Management, EcSELL Institute, Pillars, Executives, Sales Management, coaching, sales leadership conference

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