Sales Coaching Blog

The Most Simple Way To Be A Better Sales Manager

Posted by Stacia Jorgensen

January 1, 2016

Top performing sales managers have top performing sales teams for a reason. It’s not chance. It’s not luck. It’s not being in the right place at the right time or just randomly gathering the most awesome sales reps for a team and then sitting back to watch the magic happen. Instead, these successful sales managers behave differently. There are certain practices and characteristics of these individuals that make their teams perform at higher levels.

We have uncovered some of these behaviors in our recent work using empirical data we have collected from both sales reps and sales managers. What our data tells us is that sales managers who perform at higher levels do indeed behave in different ways. This isn’t just what we think. Instead, scientific evidence shows us the path to higher performance.

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Topics: Research, sales team, coaching sales reps, sales coaching

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

Very Random Questions for Sales Managers

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

December 6, 2012

Too many early mornings and late nights are causing me to think about so many things.  Some very pertinent to what we do with our members and the performance of sales teams, but others are very random.  Feel free to add to the list or answer some of these timeless questions.

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Topics: professional development for sales management, EcSELL Institute, Leadership & Management, front line sales managers, sales team, executive sales management, sales coaching, top performing sales organizations, Leadership Development

5 Ideas that Add Energy to Sales Meetings

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

March 28, 2011

It pays off to spend some time planning for your sales meeting. Here are a few ideas that will spark some interest and may even lead to some increased sales through the discovery of best practices.
  1. The Daily Huddle is a 20-minute call first thing in the a.m., during which each team member or participant has two minutes to list their biggest accomplishment from the previous day, what they wanted to accomplish that day, and what they needed from the team leader or someone else on the call. The secret to getting the most out of the Daily Huddle: “Keep it short. Keep it focused. And try to have it at the same time every day – first thing in the AM.”
  2. Appreciative Inquiry - select one sales rep to share the story of a recent success ahead of time. They should come prepared to share an overview of the sales process from beginning to end. Listeners question the sales person from a "what's working" frame of reference, and from an unconditional postive stance. The idea is that discoveries and best practices will be made. For more on AI, visit The Appreciative Inquiry Commons (more)
  3. Rattle Some Cages - pick a brainstorming question that will shake things up a bit. For example, "What unwritten rules within our team make it difficult to get things done quickly, efficiently, or profitably?"  For more cage rattling questions visit the Human Capital League (more)
  4. Evaluate the meeting. Make sure that you take the time to step back occasionally to have meeting attendees provide feedback. Ask “what is working?” and “what needs improvement?” This will enable you to continuously improve your meetings.
  5. Invite a Guest. You don’t want to do all the talking, and besides, it’s impossible for you to know everything all the time. Invite professionals from related fields or within your company to talk about their area of expertise and how it relates to the sales team. Be sure to save time for questions. Says Robert Aigner, a team leader for Keller Williams Beverly Hills, who frequently invites guest speakers to his sales team meetings: "It’s not that I don’t think I would bring value on my own, but having a lender talking about condos seems to shed new light."

Have you implemented any of these? How did it go? Did it catch on? What other ideas have you tried?  We'd love to hear from you!

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Topics: Sales Management, Best Practice, collaboration, Teamwork, Engagement, Creativity, New Leaders, goals, sales coaching, sales producer, Accountability Coaching, sales team, sales coaching, Motivation, Employee engagement

Sales Compensation Plans, Step 3: Total Target Pay by Role

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

September 15, 2010

Sales Compensation Planning, Step 3: Select Total Target Pay by Sales Role

 

Guest Article for the EcSELL Institute by Bob Malandruccolo

The third step in designing sales compensation plans is selecting the Total Target Pay Level for each sales role. Common practices that impact this step are competitive pay analysis, sales compensation philosophy, attraction and retention and total reward strategy

In the Diagnostic phase of a sales compensation project, a competitive pay analysis is normally conducted. A competitive pay analysis compares base salaries and total cash compensation against actual pay values in the market. This would be an input into the Design Team, and they would use that information along with other insights to determine what the total target pay level should be for each sales role. The 50th and 90th percentiles data points are important and are used as inputs for the Design Team.  

Another common practice is that the sales compensation philosophy can direct the Design Team on this step. Many companies select the 50th percentile in the market as the total target pay level for a sales role. Some companies select the 60th percentile in the market and is based on company philosophy and other issues such as the size of talent pool in the market, what is the comparative performance levels among competitors, turnover, other specific or general economic factors.  

The next common practice is attraction and retention. If attraction and retention issues are not problematic, some companies tend to not rely heavily on market pricing.   In addition to pay, total reward strategy has an impact on total target pay level. Some companies have valued their total reward package and determined where they should select their total target pay levels.  

The main topic here has been competitive pay analysis. So I wonder how competitive is your competitive pay analysis? Do you regularly conduct a competitive pay analysis? Are your direct competitors included in the analysis?  

However, there is a caution on this analysis. Unless you have specific data from your competitors and that their specific sales roles are exactly the same as yours, the data is only as good as their sources. Competitive pay analysis can help by setting the relative direction for a Design Team, but it is not just the end all. Specific insight is needed from the Design Team in addition to market data.  

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Topics: Research, Best Practice, collaboration, sales planning, compensation recognition rewards, sales producer, sales team, 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity

Collaborative Leadership in Sales Management

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

July 30, 2010

Posted by: Jaime Davis-Thomas, Research Leader, EcSELL Institute

You've probably heard of the concept "Collaborative Leadership", but are you aware how it can transform your sales organization? Keep reading.

Collaborative Leadership Defined

  • It is leadership shown by a group that is acting collaboratively to solve agreed upon issues.
  • It uses supportive and inclusive methods to ensure that all people affected by a decision are part of the change process.
  • It requires a new notion of power...the more power we share, the more power we have to use [1]

Benefits of Collaborative Leadership

  • Buy-in.  Collaborative leadership encourages ownership of the enterprise, whether it's a coalition, an organization, a business, or a community project. By involving everyone in decision making and problem solving, it makes what people are doing theirs, rather than something imposed on them by someone else. The sense of ownership builds commitment to the common purpose.

  • More involvement in implementation. Members of a collaborative group are more likely to be willing to take responsibility for implementing the group's action plan, because they were part of developing it.

  • Builds TrustCollaborative leadership, by its use of an open process and its encouragement of discussion and dialogue, builds trust among those involved in the enterprise.

  • Elimination of turf issues. Similarly, collaborative leadership can help to address turf issues through establishing mutual trust, making sure everyone's concerns are heard, and helping organizations, factions, or individuals find common ground and work together.
  • Access to more and better information and ideas. When all involved in an issue are party to addressing it, they bring with them a wealth of information, as well as a variety of perspectives. As a result, the solutions they arrive at are likely to be better than those developed in a vacuum, or by only a small number of people.

  • Better opportunity for substantive results. The combination of ownership of the process and its results, trust, real collaboration, and better planning yields real success in the real world. In looking at successful community development efforts, Chrislip and Larson [2] found that nearly all were characterized by collaborative leadership.

  • Modeling new leaders. Collaborative leadership helps to train new leaders from within the group, thus assuring continuity and commitment to the issues the group is addressing.

  • Stakeholder empowerment. The inclusion of all stakeholders - anyone with an interest or involvement in an issue or organization - in problem-solving and decision-making not only prepares potential leaders, but leads to people taking more responsibility and caring more about what they do. It leads to better functioning in every sphere.

  • Fundamental change for the better in the ways organizations operate. Collaborative leadership breeds more collaborative leadership and more collaboration, leading to a different way of looking at solving problems. This in turn brings more willingness to find common ground and common cause with others, more willingness to tackle new issues, and more effective and wide-reaching solutions. [2].

Key Lessons for Leaders

There have been a number of research projects and reviews of key lessons for Collaborative leaders but they all come down to some similar themes. Madeleine Carter, writing for the Center for Effective Public Policy as part of research project funded by the United States Department of Justice and State Justice Institute, defines five qualities of a collaborative leader:

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Topics: Leadership & Management, Executives, Sales Management, collaboration, Engagement, collaborative leadership, sales team, Emotional Intelligence, sales leadership

2 Most Important Keys to Effective Leadership

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

July 28, 2010

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

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Topics: Leadership & Management, Wisdom, New Leaders, sales team

Leadership and Sales Coaching Lessons from Women Golfers

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

July 26, 2010

Posted by: Bill Eckstrom, founder and president, EcSELL Institute

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Topics: Best Practice, Teamwork, coaching, sales team, sales coaching, sales leadership

How to Calcuate Market Size and Sales Team Size

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

June 28, 2010

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Topics: Leadership & Management, Best Practice, sales planning, sales territory planning, sales producer, sales team

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