Sales Coaching Blog

Sales Coaching: Another Reason It Matters

Posted by Stacia Jorgensen

March 23, 2016

This past month, I learned a valuable lesson. It’s quite a simple lesson. It’s so simple, in fact, that I think its sheer simplicity makes it easy to overlook.

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Topics: sales manager, sales leader, coaching sales reps, sales coaching, sales rep peformance

How Often You Should Meet With Your Sales Reps: The “Just Right” Approach

Posted by Stacia Jorgensen

February 26, 2016

Remember that oldie-but-goodie of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? You know, the one where Little Red Riding Hood goes through a series of items where each is too much of one thing but not enough of another only to find that there is a “just right” to each? As part of our continued research into what makes top performing sales manager effective, we have found that there is also a “just right” amount when it comes to meeting with your sales reps.

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Topics: sales leadership, one on one meetings, sales manager, sales leader, team meetings, meetings, Sales Managers, Sales Research

Sales Coaching Research: Do Your Sales Reps Trust You?

Posted by Stacia Jorgensen

November 4, 2015

I’m sure I don’t need to go into a lengthy persuasive argument about how important it is for sales reps to have trust in their sales manager. Trust is an important component of any relationship, right? We see this in everything from our relationships with our spouses or partners to our auto mechanic. If trust isn’t present, we aren’t as productive, healthy, or happy as we could be. 

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Topics: sales leader, sales coaching, trust, Leadership, Sales Research

How to Squeeze the Most from Your Workday

Posted by Kathy Collins

September 15, 2015

 

I’m a planner. I wake up early, go to bed late and in the middle get a whole lot of everything else done.  Over the years, I’ve developed some daily guidelines that help to keep me moving in the right direction. Here are a few helpful tips that might be helpful to you as well.

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Topics: Planning, Sales Manager Tips, sales leader

How Your Briefcase Can Make You A Better Sales Coach

Posted by Stacia Jorgensen

January 20, 2015

A colleague recently directed me to an article titled “The Trick to Being More Virtuous” by Arthur C. Brooks, a contributing writer for the New York Times. The author discusses the idea of moral elevation, or “an emotional state that leads us to act virtuously when exposed to the virtue of others.” In Brooks’ case, he found that carrying a BYU briefcase gifted to him influenced his thoughts, behaviors and interactions with others. While this article’s thesis revolves mostly around the political world, it did create connections to sales coaching and to our place in the world at large for me.

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Topics: sales manager, sales leader, sales coaching

Sales and Athletic Coaching: A Common Sense Comparison

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

October 3, 2013

When discussing sales performance, sports analogies may be cliché`, they may be sexist (less so these days), they may even get old for some, but they are generally spot on. 

Let’s face reality, the duties and behaviors of a sales manager are not nearly as visible as the duties and behaviors of a coach in athletics (just ask Nebraska football head coach Bo Pelini who’s tirade of 2011 was recently blasted throughout the social media world). Although, when compared to business an athletic coach’s success is measured similarly, wins/losses. A sales manager is held accountable to performance against plan, hitting a number—a sales coaching version of wins/losses. Beyond this is where the parity begins to collapse.

The purpose of this blog is to bring attention to how advanced athletic teams are versus sales teams when it comes to coaching and performance.     

 

In athletics, there is a huge emphasis on practice, where coaches continually exercise precise execution. The practice to game ratio in athletics differs from high school to college and then professional, but the point is still the same—way more practice time versus game time. In collegiate football, during the football season, there is approx. a 10:1 ratio of practice time versus game time and the spread becomes greater in professional football.

In sales, there is very little time spent practicing or preparing for sales appointments with prospects and customers. There may be “sales training” when one begins their role with a company that educates on products, services, markets and perhaps a specific sales methodology, but the tendency is to then act like a finished product with little on-going skill development. 

  

In athletics, both practice and game time performance is filmed, analyzed and objectively graded by coaches.

In sales, practice and game time performance by sales people (sales calls) are infrequently analyzed and rarely graded objectively. 

  

In athletics, each player has an individual development plan that identifies areas for growth with measurements of progress that coaches are held accountable for executing.

In sales, selling activities are the typical measurement with little development of the skills or progress measurements that lead to sales effectiveness, and only a small percentage of sales departments hold coaches accountable for execution of development plans.

  

In athletics, there is a documented plan/strategy for every game.

In sales, not often is there even a documented “pre-call” plan or strategy when going into a sales setting.

 

In athletics, coaches can’t “play the game”, and by default must only coach.

In sales, our research shows that too often managers take over a sales call, thereby continue to “play the game” as opposed to teaching sales people “how to fish”.

 

In athletics, the coach is not just one who helps players improve a skill-set, they are accountable for strategy, recruiting, training/development, and much more. Their ability to execute the above is very transparent to not only the team, but to all those who witness the team perform.

In sales, coaching is typically viewed as a verb—an action to help one improve their skills. The reality is most “sales managers” have responsibilities similar to an athletic coach, yet are not held accountable to the activities, tools and behaviors that lead to success—they are only accountable to an end number without even knowing how what they do impacts that number.  There is no visibility into effectiveness.

 

I’ve had many deliberate conversations with our executive members lately. During these informal conversations I show them what our research shows as the high pay-off coaching activities front line sales managers should execute against, with their sales people, that will consistently lead to more sales. I then ask them what percent of the time they would expect their managers to be spending in these activities, and with a couple exceptions the universal response is "70%-80%". I then asked what percent of the time their managers actually spent executing against these critical activities, again with a couple exceptions, the universal response was now "20%-35%". In athletics this would be unacceptable, yet in sales it is tolerated.

Which of the following three characteristics do your managers display to their team:

  1. A compliance officer making sure sales people execute against activities
  2. A super sales person who comes in and helps close deals
  3. A coach that perpetuates talent, recruits, strategizes, leads, employs the catalytic factor, develops skills and helps those on their team make progress to their goals

Anything other than the third response will produce a smaller number. That, I will guarantee.

 

Authored by:  Bill Eckstrom, President, EcSell Institute 

 

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Topics: Best Practice, sales leadership, Motivating Sales Team, Sales Manager Tips, sales manager, sales leader, sales manager development, Sales Management, sales management skills, coaching

Sales Coaching and your 20's

Posted by Will Kloefkorn

July 24, 2013

If you go to the new and improved EcSell Institute Facebook page, you will see an article from Forbes titled 20 Things 20-Year Olds don’t get. It is a good read and if you are a sales leader that has the honor of coaching the Millennial generation you will likely relate with this list. However, our 21 year old Marketing Intern astutely points out on our page that this article is a good read for beginners as well as experts – touché young Millennial. Believe this much, Hannah is absolutely correct. Being thirty one, I too am a Millennial albeit a veteran one. I just graduated from my 20’s so a lot of lessons on the list are very fresh in my mind. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned in the last decade is that humility is an amazing quality to learn, especially in a career such as sales where the losses and lessons are plentiful.

 

My favorite item from the list that 20-Year Olds don’t get was this – People matter more than Perks. Not when I was 22 and fresh off of taking over the world by obtaining my College degree they didn’t. Perks were cool and so was I (or so I thought). The author Jason Nazar explains by saying, “It’s so trendy to pick the company that offers the most flex time, unlimited meals, company massages, game rooms and team outings.  Those should all matter, but not as much as the character of your founders and managers. Great leaders will mentor you and will be a loyal source of employment long after you’ve left.  Make a conscious bet on the folks you’re going to work for and your commitment to them will pay off much more than those fluffy perks. Like Hannah, Jason is absolutely correct as well.

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Topics: Millennials, Leadership Development, sales leader, sales coaching, coaching

Sales Management 101: A Sports Analogy

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

June 18, 2013

 

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Topics: sales leadership, sales leader, sales coaching, Sales Management, coaching

Sales Leaders: Are You the Teacher or the Student?

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

February 21, 2013

Wednesdays at 4:00, Will and I spend at least an hour together.  Since he is EcSell’s Director of Business Development it shouldn’t be unusual that we meet, and he would likely communicate that it is a coaching session, which would be accurate.  Challenge is—who is being coached?

  • 20% of sales reps researched, whose sales leaders are EcSell members, say their manager is “very strong” at coaching.

  • 7% of sales reps researched, whose sales leaders are non-members, say their manager is “very strong” at coaching.

  • When we asked sales reps to rank 10 skills they wanted their manager most to possess they responded with (drum roll please…)

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Topics: sales manager, sales leader, sales coaching

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