Sales Coaching Blog

Sales Coaching Research: Why You Want Stress as a Sales Manager

Posted by Stacia Jorgensen

May 17, 2016

Over and over we find in our data that top performing sales managers are viewed by their sales reps as leaders who are at their best when things get stressful. In other words, top sales managers are good at stress. But wait…stress is bad, right? In a recent whitepaper, we dove into the topic of stress and the impact it has on the sales leader role. [You can read the whole paper here] When we combine our research findings with guidance from experts on stress and performance, we start to see stress in a new way. In fact, stress takes on a role where it can have a positive role and be used to your advantage as a sales manager.

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Topics: sales leadership, sales manager, sales coaching, Sales Research, managing stress

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: Millennials and McDonalds

Posted by Will Kloefkorn

November 21, 2015

If Millennials can knock McDonalds from the top of the fast food hierarchy, is any business safe from their wrath? In this Wall Street Journal article, the author points out why McDonalds is losing its luster with younger consumers and the findings are quite intriguing to say the least. To be honest, I often think the hyperbole that comes along with generational differences is sometimes overblown. I also believe that while my generation, the millennials, are misunderstood at times, it is incumbent upon us to understand why older generations feel and act the way they do. Understanding generational differences should always be a two way street. However, given the fact that Millennials will make up roughly 70% of the workforce by 2020, this topic is not going anywhere fast. What does this mean for sales departments and sales coaching? Well, a lot quite frankly, but for the sake of this blog I am going to focus on two critical quotes from the article above.

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Topics: Millennials, sales manager, sales manager coaching, sales coaching

Sales Coaching: Absolutely Nothing

Posted by Stacia Jorgensen

September 21, 2015

Today, I want to talk to you about nothing. Nothing is on my mind because lately I’ve felt like that is what I accomplish at the end of the day. Not a thing. Do you ever have those days, weeks, or months? I’m talking about the exhausted reflection at the end of the day where you feel like the day didn’t have a single noteworthy achievement despite your best intentions. I hate this feeling. I find it overwhelming and discouraging. I gave it my all today. Why did I accomplish nothing?

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Topics: sales manager, sales coaching, Sale Leaders

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 Coaching: The Dirty Little Secret about Sales Coaching.

Posted by Sherri Daubert

November 21, 2014

120110_Daubert002bwRecently we introduced our sales coaching cloud technology known as ONE-UP. This technology was developed solely as a tool for our members when, as with so many solutions, there came a total moment of clarity created by need. While in conversation with a member who is an EVP, and asked what percent of time his managers spent in coaching, and focusing on high pay off activities, his response was “ I simply don’t know.” But he continued, “While I would like to think that my managers are spending the majority of their time doing the things that will make the difference and move the needle for their teams, literally I cannot tell you.” This was eye opening for us, because while we teach and train that nothing impacts performance more than coaching, and we know the activities and behaviors that need to happen to increase sales, we had not given them an easy way to measure that.

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Topics: Sales manager training, coaching effectively, executive sales management, Sales Manager Tips, Sales Coaching Model, sales manager, sales team coaching,

Sales coaching and relationships with sales reps

Posted by Will Kloefkorn

October 15, 2013

Consider this question:Curt_Coffman

Is it bad to have close relationships with your sales reps?

Recently, I shared a conversation with Curt Coffman, co-author of “First, Break All The Rules What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently” and most recently, “Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch.” Throughout the past 30 years, no one has done more research and consulting in the areas of development of productive, customer-oriented workplaces and what separates top performing individuals and organizations from their counterparts than Curt. At one point during our call I asked Curt, “What do exceptional sales reps want most from their managers?” His response was that more than anything else they wanted a relationship. His response did not surprise me, but based onresults from our Through the Eyes of the Sales Rep Assessment it certainly might surprise the broader sales management community.

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Topics: Accountability Coaching, sales manager, top performer retention, sales coaching, 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

8 Critical Sales Coaching Activities & The Missing Link

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

September 11, 2013

There are times in our sales leadership career when we have the opportunity to do something special, the chance to catapult our skills and also the skills of those with whom we work, and truly make a difference in the lives of those on our teams.

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Topics: New Leaders, sales leadership, sales analytics & performance tracking, front line sales managers, innovative technology for sales departments, Sales Strategy, sales processes, Leadership Development, sales manager, sales coaching, Leadership & Management, Executives, Sales Management, sales management skills, professional development, sales performance, ideas for sales leaders

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