It’s no secret. Often times the best sales people do not make for the best sales coaches, yet sales departments continue to promote their top performers into coaching roles.
Personally, I believe this happens for 3 reasons. (1) It is how it has always been done. (2) It's easy and convenient. (3) Sales departments have yet to define what characteristics make a good sales coach and how to identify those characteristics in the candidates.
One of the most valuable things about our work at EcSell is that we use data as the guiding force for our work. We don’t just guess, use our own personal experiences, or philosophize about the impact of sales coaching. Instead, who we are and what we do is based on empirical evidence.
One of our main sources of data is the EcSell Institute Through the Eyes of the Rep (TTEOTR) survey. Part of this survey asks reps to tell us what they believe their manager does best as a sales manager, or coach as we like to call this role. By analyzing what a rep perceives their manager does best, we have a window into understanding what manager behaviors reps feel benefit them the most. In other words, when we know what behaviors our reps value in their manager, we know which manager behaviors make the biggest impact.
I am a sucker for good openings. As a result, Simon Sinek had my full attention from the beginning ofStart With Why.He punches the reader in the mouth on the first page by setting them up to make a false assumption.
He does this by giving the reader detailed information about an event, and sets the reader up to be confident he is describing John F. Kennedy, but in reality, was describing Adolph Hitler.
The great poet Maya Angelou famously said: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”. This phrase is so easy to intellectually understand but can be so darn tough to live by everyday life.
In his bookA Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl articulates that the greatest power we have as human beings is our power to choose. Regardless of the environment we are living in, or the conditions we are facing, every human being has the conscious ability to choose: hope or despair, happiness or sorrow, empowerment or victim-hood. There are no legitimate reasons to complain. Frankl has earned the right to take this stance for two reasons:
The most successful leaders look themselves in the mirror and accept ultimate responsibility for success AND failure. To date, every bit of research has proved this powerful position to be right over time, especially for our clients. However, when Navy Seals Jacko Willink and Leif Babin push this message through their own words in their bookExtreme Ownership, it takes on an even more powerful meaning.
For reasons I can’t fully articulate, sometimes inspiration strikes and propels me to take on a challenge that I once would not have considered possible. Currently, a gentleman by the name Tom Bilyeu, and the work he and his team are conducting at Impact Theory, has become one of my catalysts for personal and professional growth.
Impact Theory’s stated mission is to free people from The Matrix. Said another way, they want to end the poverty of poor mindset. If you spend some time on their site, listen to Tom’s podcasts, entertain the life lessons shared by their guests and open your mind up to growth and learning, you will quickly become inspired and realize that our potential as human beings is merely scratching the surface.
EcSell Institute research shows that more than 50% of sales managers knowingly execute less than 48% of the high performance coaching activities that will drive the most sales. The result of this statistic is obvious; sales revenue is left on the table due to the sales manager’s lack of willingness to execute.
For perspective, how would a President, CSO, EVP Sales, etc. respond to the above stats if they were applied to sales people? What if they learned half of their sales reps were doing only half of the activities that led to the best outcome? It would be unacceptable, heads would roll, yet in the sales leadership profession this double standard is unknowingly accepted because coaching performance is not measured. How much more would be sold if sales leaders fully committed and behaved like high performance coaches? An additional $4.1 million per manager (read this whitepaper).
Just like when you treat a wound, sometimes the best thing you can do is apply pressure. The same is true in sales coaching. New findings from our research indicate that the most highly impactful sales managers are ones who gently push their sales teams in a way that elicits a positive reaction or growth.
First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when we talk about this pressure or pushing. At EcSell, this is a part of a concept we call the Catalytic Factor, or the C-Factor. Sales managers who have the C-Factor create an environment on their team that propels people into higher performing zones and zones of growth through the introduction of challenges, new experiences, or strain. Here, we focus on two behaviors in this concept: encouraging reps to move outside their comfort zone and stretching a rep’s selling skills and abilities.
Another year almost in the books and another review of the past 12 months. At my age (which I’ve alluded to in other blogs, articles, etc.) it’s amazing how much I continue to learn. Yes, I say this every year, but I’m hopeful the journey continues.
So without further ado, below is a sampling of my 2016 thoughts, affirmations and lessons.
The blog essentially boils down to the one thing that sales reps want for Christmas: coaching. Sales reps want and crave coaching from their managers. It drives motivation and productivity and ultimately more sales.
In that "spirit", I though I’d share some of the responses we received from our recent survey asking managers what their manager/leader could improve on regarding his or her sales coaching skills.