The Coaching Effect Blog

Sales Coaching in 3 Steps

Posted by Stacia Jorgensen

April 14, 2015

Jazz_gameI have to brag. Last week, my bracket won my neighborhood’s NCAA college basketball bracket competition. My winnings were a pair of Utah Jazz basketball tickets and I happily sent my husband and son off with them to stuff themselves with concessions junk food. Regardless of the win, the real joy of March Madness is watching the games with my 8-year old son. He’s such a sports nut that he takes in every second of every game. At the end of the Kentucky versus Notre Dame game, he was asking how Notre Dame could have knocked off a number one seed with a perfect record. His logical brain just couldn’t compute this upset. My husband quickly offered the explanation that sometimes the raw talent of the team members and the outcome of previous games don’t really matter. He talked to him about how the coach can trump just about any other factor. His 8-year old brain processed this for a minute and then asked, how can the coach make that big of a difference?

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Topics: sales results, sales team, sales team development

Sales Coach as a Title

Posted by Will Kloefkorn

June 12, 2013

Do you think that switching a title could have an impact a sales department’s performance – say switching from sales manager to sales coach? I do, and I have been lobbying for sales departments to make this change for years. However, late last week I actually crossed paths with a VP of Sales who made this change a few years back and obviously we quickly became fond of each other. Naturally I was curious about what led him to make that change and his response made perfect sense, to me at least. He said, “I told my team that most everyone can manage, but very few can coach” which I agreed, but asked him to elaborate. To be concise, he went into detail about how in his experience he has found that many sales managers are very good at monitoring and reporting their reps activities and results, but very few of them are actually very good at teaching and coaching their reps how to get better at the activities that lead to favorable results. Amen Brother.


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Topics: sales results, executive sales management, Motivation, Accountability Coaching, sales manager, sales coaching, coaching

The leader’s dilemma – Today’s outcomes or tomorrow’s growth

Posted by Sarah Wirth

May 16, 2012

Today's sales leaders have a constant battle - to they focus on today's outcomes or tomorrow's growth.  This story about Julie, a bright, well-educated leader, illustrates the answer. Julie was brought into to turn around one of the divisions of a publicly-traded company.  When Julie joined her new company, the direction she received from the CEO was clear – define a new way of delivering services to increase our revenue.  Driven and confident, Julie knew she was up to the task.

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Topics: sales results, Leadership & Management, Sales Management

Why you can't "manage" your way to sustainable growth

Posted by Sarah Wirth

May 9, 2012

As we lead our sales teams, we do everything in our power to hit our sales goals and grow our business.  We define processes so we can have efficient execution.  We employ never ending searches for time saving, cutting edge technologies.  We develop strategic plans so we can have predictable outcomes.  We manage sales activity so we can ensure we hit our quarterly number and annual goals.  We constantly strive to do more, always looking for the next great growth tool and opportunity. This isn't enough anymore! Too often, sales leaders stop there.  They see the above processes, management processes, as the only items they can affect that lead to increases in performance.  Sadly, too many will never see the results, the exponential growth that can come from working beyond management.  Great management skills can temporarily raise the numbers, but without adapting and utilizing all the drivers of team performance, growth will inevitably wane and in most cases revenues will eventually decline. 

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Topics: sales management research, sales results, sales coaching, Sales Management

5 Fundamental Attributes of Effective, Happy Sales Leaders

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

October 6, 2010

5 Fundamental Attributes of Effective, Happy Sales Leaders

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

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Topics: EcSELL Institute Partner, Engagement, sales results, Emotional Intelligence, Research, Accountability Coaching, sales management webinar, ROI, Leadership & Management, collaboration, Wisdom, Strengths

Sales Compensation Plans: Step 7, Commission & Bonus Structure

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

September 24, 2010

Sales Compensation Plans: Step 7, Commission & Bonus Structure

Guest Article for the EcSELL Institute by Bob Malandruccolo

The seventh step is determining whether the plan should be based on Commission or Bonus or both. These are some common principles for a commission and a bonus plan.

A commission plan is paid based on a percentage of sales results such as 2% of sales or a payment per unit such as $.05 per unit sold. Some common considerations: If you cannot set goals at the sales rep level, a commission plan is usually appropriate. If territories are relatively balanced, meaning all territories have similar opportunity to earn, commission is usually appropriate. If you have a high number of customers, such as in the thousands, and a short selling cycle, such as less than 90 days, commission is usually appropriate. 
On the other side, a bonus plan is paid as a percentage of a sales quota or a specific objective. Some common considerations of a bonus plan: If you can establish goals at the sales rep level, bonus is usually appropriate. If territories are not balanced, a bonus is more appropriate compared to a commission plan. If there is less number of customers, such as less than a hundred, and the selling cycle is long, such as greater than 90 days, a bonus is usually appropriate.
I have a client that struggled with an existing bonus. The issue about the plan was that it was not fair for sales reps that had large books of business. We developed a bonus up to 100% quota and a commission plan above 100% quota. In this case, overachievement allowed a closer correlation between pay and performance. That is an example of a combination of commission and bonus. 


If you select a bonus, this describes the three different types of bonus plans.
You could use a standard bonus. That means that every sales rep in the same role would have the same sales goal or quota. This would be appropriate if all assignments or territories have similar opportunity to earn at similar levels.
You could use individual quotas if assignments or territories are different in terms of earning levels.
You could use Management by Objectives (MBOs). MBOs would be used for long sales cycles and augment other results-based measures. The caution around MBOs is that they could turn into entitlements. One of my clients used MBOs to provide pay for sales reps that were not achieving their goals. If you are using MBOs, follow S.M.A.R.T. guidelines. Make sure that they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.


The first step is defining the Sales Compensation Philosophy. It is developed by the Steering Committee and the philosophy guides the Design Team during the design process.  

Step 2 is determining which Eligible Roles are included for sales compensation treatment.  

Step 3 is selecting the Total Target Pay Level for each sales role. This represents the mid-point pay level for target performance.  

Step 4 is determining what the Pay Mix should be for each sales role. Pay mix is the ratio between base salary and incentive pay at target performance. 

Step 5 is choosing the amount of Upside of incentive pay for high performers.  

Step 6 is selecting Weights & Measures that are linked to incentives for the plan.  

Step 7 is determining whether the plan should be based on Commission or Bonus or both.  

Watch for Steps 8-10 in up coming Sales Leadership Blog posts.

Step 8 is defining the Structure Details of the plan including threshold and excellence levels and the payout curve.  

Step 9 is choosing the Frequency of Payouts for each measure.  

And finally, Step 10 is determining the Administrative Details included in the plan. 

Learn more about the Compensation/Recognition/Rewards Pillar


About EcSELL Institute

We provide professional development resources and educational events specific to sales management.  The EcSELL Institute is an exclusive membership community of Sales Managers who share best practices, research, and fact-based information on a perpetual basis in order to help each other find new and better ways to maximize the performance of their teams. All EcSELL Institute members have a commonality; improve how they lead, coach, and manage sales teams, hence driving more revenue for their company.


Bob Malandruccolo is the founder and principal owner of Sales Force Effectiveness Consulting. With over twenty-five years of practical business, management and consulting experience in sales and marketing, Bob has worked with a broad range of clients from Fortune 100 corporations to small, closely-held firms with special emphasis on sales and marketing process implementation. He has worked closely with his clients through hundreds of successful engagements and implementations across multiple industries (manufacturing, engineering, distribution, software, healthcare insurance, medical products, healthcare, automotive, telecommunications, retail, information handling, media).

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Topics: Best Practice, compensation recognition rewards, sales results, sales compensation plans, Sales Management, sales performance, 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity

3 Most Important Words for Sales Success

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

August 24, 2010

3 Most Important Words for Sales Success

Guest Author, Paul McCord

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Topics: sales producer, sales planning, Planning, sales results, Sales Management, Wisdom, sales performance, time management

Sales Performance & Productivity Leak Solutions For Sales Managers

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

July 23, 2010

Posted by: Kristi Shoemaker, VP Marketing, EcSELL Institute

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Topics: sales results, sales coaching, sales rep peformance, Resources for sales managers, sales performance

"5 Most Dangerous Issues Facing Sales Leaders Today"

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

June 2, 2010

Posted by: Kristi Shoemaker, Marketing, EcSELL Institute

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Topics: sales management research, sales results, sales rep peformance, Leadership & Management, Resources for sales managers

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