Sales Coaching Blog

To grow or not to grow ... bigger

Posted by Will Kloefkorn

February 27, 2013

Roughly every third week I have been blogging about what I am hearing from sales leaders across the Country and today that steak continues. Ask yourself the following question; would you rather grow at 10% or 20% this year? Ok, that answer is obvious so let’s take that question a step further. What if in order to grow at 20% this year you had to put a guaranteed 10% yearly growth at risk? Would you still opt to shoot for the 20% or would you be content to settle for the 10% growth knowing that you were not maximizing your team’s performance.  I pose this question as hypothetical, but the reality is that this is a real question that sales leaders are asking themselves every day. Finding the answer is causing an inner struggle that taking place in the pits of countless executive sales managers’ stomachs on a daily basis.

 

Here is the challenge that is taking place. Most sales organizations across the board have done a decent job of bringing a good deal of order to their sales team, especially at the sales rep level. Most sales managers can recite with pretty decent accuracy the actions and high payoff activities that their reps need to execute against in order to hit a projected level of growth - say 10%. So, executive sales leaders know that if they can have their frontline sales managers simply hold their producers accountable to a certain level of activity they should be able to stay the course and achieve their growth targets. On the surface this is great news right? It is, however most executive sales leaders know that if their frontline managers were able to more effectively coach, lead, and engage their teams that they could achieve even higher levels of performance than say simply reporting on the numbers, helping them reactively solve problems, making sure compliance is in order, and maybe worst of all being super sales people – more aptly put they doing all the fishing and never teach the reps how to fish.

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Topics: executive sales management, Leadership Culture, Accountability Coaching, front line sales managers, Leadership Development, sales coaching, Resources for sales managers, top performing sales organizations, ideas for sales leaders

Opening day

Posted by Will Kloefkorn

October 16, 2012

Today the EcSell Institute community kicked off our annual Fall Summit with the Management Academy. Sales Managers from throughout the United States are sharing proven best practices in the 6 Pillars of Sales Management. There are a lot of different industries represented in the room this morning and the energy is outstanding. The group spent the first 2 hours of the morning tackling Talent Identification and Aquisition. Below are 3 highlights on some of the important topics that were discussed:

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Topics: sales analytics & performance tracking, Motivation, Through The Eyes Of The Sales Rep, IHS, EcSELL Institute Member, Leadership & Management, Sales Management, collaboration, coaching, Resources for sales managers, 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity

Sales Technology versus Sales Coaching

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

August 16, 2012

 In the spirit of always keeping up with new ways to continuously help our members grow, I’ve been investigating a plethora of new high tech, start-up, venture funded, industry experienced, revenue producing, can’t miss technologies for sales departments.  Going through this exhausting and confusing exercise made me pause and reflect…

  • Why do organizations put so many resources against product development, but yet so few against talent development?

  • How much do sales teams spend on mobile phone bills and off-site meetings versus helping their sales leadership team become better coaches?

  • Why do people get promoted to management without an understanding of the activities and behaviors that drive results?

While most of the technologies I reviewed are likely worthy and can assist in providing information that can lead to better decisions, none of them are focused on improved  coaching behaviors.  For example, one can implement new technology that helps them understand and provide insights to cases in a sales pipeline.  You can accurately see where sales are progressing and stalling.  What one might learn is that deals are getting stuck at the decision making stage in a sales process, which may indicate that a rep may not have identified all the proper decision makers, which would also indicate the rep isn’t likely conducting the best needs analysis prior to getting to the proposal stage.   The message to the sales manager…  Go help your rep improve in those areas!

In the above scenario, is it a sales rep issue or a sales leadership issue?  Great sales leaders would take full accountability and responsibility, for they understand the performance of anyone on their team is a reflection of how they coach those on their team.  The challenge is that without the proper behaviors and tools, a sales manager won't likely know how to impact what was described in the previous paragraph.  And, what our research shows is that most sales managers would respond by taking a more active role in the sales process, as opposed to effectively helping the rep improve in those identified areas.

So, data is insignificant without knowledge of how to affect those from whom the data is derived.  Likewise, great coaches won’t know where and how to coach without accurate, meaningful data.  (here is where I shamelessly plug our Sales Coaching Summit for those who want to improve the way they coach.)http://www.ecsellinstitute.com/sales-coaching-summit-fall-2012?&t=65280

Conclusion:  Emphasize not just technology and data, but how to improve coaching behaviors that impact the numbers.  Understand that improving and hence, growing sales, is a journey and not a destination.  At no time would a sales leader ever think they’ve done all they can do from a technology stand point, and similarly one should never hit a point where they say “we’re done growing our coaching skills”. 

Lastly, remember the timeless phrase “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten”.  Make sure there are resources and best practices dedicated to grow in technology and human behavior—not just one!

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Topics: Sales Coaching Summit, executive sales management, Motivating Sales Team, Accountability Coaching, Leadership Development, poor performing sales reps, EcSELL Institute Member, sales coaching, Leadership & Management, Sales Management, sales management skills, sales leadership conference, Resources for sales managers

Favorite Books of our Members

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

October 6, 2011

Below is a list of some of our member's favorite books.  Add these to your reading list when you travel on business.

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Topics: sales management books, Resources for sales managers, ideas for sales leaders

Management Tips from Harvard Business Review

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

April 27, 2011

Below are some of our favoriate Sales Management Tips that have been shared by the Harvard Business Review's online site.

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Topics: Best Practice, executive sales management, sales management resources, Resources for sales managers, ideas for sales leaders

What's Up With Inside Sales?

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

December 29, 2010

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker, EcSELL Institute

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Topics: EcSELL Institute Partner, Inside Sales, Resources for sales managers, ideas for sales leaders

Daniel Pink on "The Surprising Science of Motivation"

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

October 25, 2010

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories -- and maybe, a way forward. Source: http://www.ted.com on YouTube
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Topics: sales planning, sales management research, compensation recognition rewards, Engagement, Planning, goals, sales coaching, sales management skills, coaching, Wisdom, Resources for sales managers, Strengths

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

The SECRET to boosting sales performance

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

September 22, 2010

Posted by: Kristi Shoemaker, Marketing, EcSELL Institute

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Topics: sales management research, Research, professional development for sales management, Resources for sales managers

10 Steps of Sales Compensation Planning

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

September 3, 2010

10 Steps of Sales Compensation Planning

Guest Article by Bob Malandruccolo

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Topics: sales producer, Best Practice, sales planning, compensation recognition rewards, sales analytics & performance tracking, Sales Management, Resources for sales managers, sales performance

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