Sales & Sales Management Expertise

What Does It Take To Be A GREAT Sales Coach?

Tags: Sales Growth, Effective Coaching, sales managed environment

Email to request a sample of the Coaching Findings form from the Objective Management Group’s Sales Effectiveness and Impact Analysis. 

Mark Trinkle, our President and CSO, suggested I read a book by Seth Davis titled “Getting to Us: How Great Coaches Make Great Teams.” If you are a sports fan, or a fan of stories about how athletic coaches achieve success, this is a great read for you. But what really matters about this book are the stories around how these coaches achieved success and how they continue to do it today.


By “do it” I mean- how do they take a collection of people and get them to sacrifice individual objectives and come together to achieve great things? You will find that there are similarities in all of the coaches when it comes to drive, passion and an obsession with the game they love. They all have their own styles, quirks and mannerisms. But the ONE big thing they all have in common? COACHING!

They all believe that in order to get talent to perform at it’s very best, to perform at the level expected of them, regular coaching is required. One coach in particular caught my attention when it came to the coaching aspect of their success. That coach is Jim Boeheim – head basketball coach at Syracuse. In the book, he makes a comment that at Syracuse they don’t have the same draw to get those McDonald's All American kids that Duke, Kentucky, Michigan and Kansas have. And so, with the kids he does have, he really has to ‘coach them up.’


coaching competency

What does it take to be a great coach? First it takes managers that have the coaching competencies you see above. All 12 of these skills/behaviors are critical to effective coaching but the competency listed at the very top is the most critical! If a manager has ALL the skills but doesn’t coach and debrief consistently, then the rest doesn’t matter.

Second, you have to have a GREAT coaching environment. As you can see below, 80% of the team is coachable but only 12% of the managers believe they are respected, trusted, and have strong relationships with producers.

coaching environment

And finally, you have to have coaches that are focused on the right things:

  • Opportunity coaching
  • Coaching to challenge
  • Tactical sales
  • Strategic sales
  • Sales process

Absent coaching in these areas creates an environment where salespeople are prone to repeat mistakes over and over, fail to improve skill or change behaviors.

To reference back to Coach Boeheims' story about Syracuse- your situation is probably similar. You don’t get the chance to recruit the McDonald's All American sales dudes or dudettes. You get good people but they need coaching- and lots of it! Having said that, keep this in mind—even though Michigan, Kansas, Kentucky, UConn (Women's Basketball) and Duke get the best of the best- guess what? They still require coaching!

If you need to figure this out, to grow and reach your sales growth opportunity, sign up for our free live broadcast on "The 8 Strategies to Reach Your Company's Sales Growth Opportunity". We will be sharing a research based methodology to sales management that you can execute on immediately!

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How Do You Determine the Success of Your Sales Managed Environment®?

Tags: SME, sales management, improving sales results, how to manage salespeople, sales managed environment


First, it makes sense to define a Sales Managed Environment® (SME™).  For the last 15 years, we’ve built, developed, refined and implemented the principles we associate with a sales environment that is “managed”.  The major components of SME™ are as follows:

  1. Setting standards and accountability
  2. Coaching for success
  3. Recruiting
  4. Motivating
  5. Upgrading the sales force

Using this as the basis for what the SME™ looks like, we next need to determine if, in fact, your environment has been built and is being executed for success.  So, how do you determine that?

  1. You have metrics for success that are consistent with company revenue and profit goals.
  2. You have standards for success that drive success rather than foster mediocrity.
  3. You have “smart” numbers to help you predict your progress towards meeting and exceeding your standards for your metrics.
  4. You inspect what you expect – activity, effectiveness and results.
  5. You pro-actively recruit – you have a candidate pipeline.
  6. You coach people to improve skills and change behavior.

But, ultimately, you determine success by:

  1. Achieving goals.
  2. Getting better individually as well as a team – more people carrying the load/higher percentage of producers hitting 100% of the goal.
  3. This year’s quintiles (sales team divided by production 1/5s) out-perform last year's.
  4. Sales activity/effort is where it needs to be to be successful.
  5. The data demonstrates that the team is more effective and efficient at executing the sales strategy and sales process.

So, the question(s) become(s) – is this happening?  If not, why not and, if so, why?

Not to focus on the negative, but let’s assume for a second that at least 3 of the 5 items determining success are not happening.  Where do you turn? What do you do?  The first thing is to determine why.  The answer to why is this – failure of sales management. 

As a leader, that is why you have a structure that includes sales management.  If you don’t, then part of the problem is that you don’t have a sales management structure or you don’t have sales management executing to the structure.

Unfortunately, if you are the sales manager, then this is a tough pill to swallow... but you have to anyway.  This is the job/responsibility you accepted when you said yes to the job, yes to the responsibility and yes to the compensation.  There is no avoiding this conclusion.  However, you can fix this and there are resources to help you. 

Certainly, as a company, we provide our unique set of solutions, but generally speaking, this is what you should be thinking:

  • What systems and processes do I need to have/build to support sales growth and a sales team built for growth?
  • What assessment tools exist to help me evaluate my skills and the skills/tendencies of my sales team?
  • What do I need to do differently in the area of recruiting to get more “A” and “a” players and stop hiring those that won’t succeed?
  • What is an effective coaching process I can implement so that I can be more intentional and impactful in my coaching? How do I change behavior and improve skill?

Resources for you to examine:

Assessments:  Cost of bad hires questionnaire

Sales Management Booklet – 9 Keys to Sales Management

Recruiting – How to find, attract, and recruit an all-star sales team – tool kit.


Understand this: I’d love the opportunity to help you build a sales team built for growth.  Contact me and we can look at the options. However, I know that you have access to lots of resources, so whatever you look for, start with these three – assessment, sales management and recruiting.

Your Sales Management Pitch to Hire Better Sales People

Tags: hire better sales people, sales management, sales managed environment, upgrade your sales force

There isn’t a single sales manager, sales executive or company president that tells a prospective new hire that the compensation program is poor, there is a lack of support, the company does not occupy a strong position in the market or there is no chance for professional advancement!

Anyone talking to any candidate has a "sales pitch" to attract new hires. How good is yours?

I was watching City Slickers again and I happened to turn on the movie just as Curly is explaining that most problems would be solved if people just focused on "The One Thing”. This isn’t a new idea, but certainly it is an idea worth re-visiting. "The one thing" in business that is supposed to describe what a company does can be described by any one of the following:

  • The elevator pitch
  • The value proposition
  • The 30-second commercial
  • The unique sales approach
  • The brand promise

“It’ has many names, but in a nutshell, what sales and marketing attempts to do is to communicate to the consumer, in a brief but effective approach, what it is that they do and why the consumer should entertain doing business with them.

Apple – "We make great computers that are beautifully designed that are simple to use, user friendly."

The Late John Savage (Insurance professional) – "I deliver buckets of money when people need it the most."

Coors Light – "The world’s most refreshing beer"

Geico – "15 minute or less can save you 15% of more on your car insurance"

That's the external brand. I was interested in the internal brand and the impact on results. I did some googling and came across the "Better Brand" blog. The author talked about the internal brand promise and the external brand promise. Your external brand promise should elicit a response(s) such as:

  • Tell me more
  • How do you do that?
  • That’s me?

Your internal brand – the brand you promise to current and potential sales professionals - should do the same thing!

What is your internal brand promise? What is it that you bring to the table that inspires and motivates your sales people to follow you, "buy" you, your message, your coaching and your teaching? What is it that you say to prospective new hires that would cause them to say or think...

  • Tell me more!
  • How do you do that?
  • That’s me!

When you consider the role and responsibilities of the sales executive:

Tony Cole - Put the best team into the marketplace – Video

Dave Kurlan - Execute the 5 functions of sales management – Video

Bill Eckstom - The importance of coaching - Video

You might consider this – How well are you selling and delivering on your internal brand promise? To answer that, you must back up the video a bit and identify what it is you are promising prospects when you recruit them to your organization:

  • Strong market presence
  • Internal partners to generate leads
  • Support for your growing business
  • Systems and processes that drive efficiency
  • You can earn _______dollars with our incentive compensation plan
  • Run your own show
  • Access to unlimited resources/markets
  • Get the BIG deals
  • Great environment

I don’t know all that you promise them or imply when you recruit them, contract them and on-board them, but you do and so do they. You must have said something that caused them to either join your team or stay on your team. If you are delivering on the brand, then turnover and discontent should be minimal. If you are not delivering on the promise, then it is important for you as the sales leader to assess that internal brand promise:

  • Is it legitimate or is it propaganda?
  • Have you fulfilled the promise?
  • If not, why not?
  • What would your team say?
  • What impact is this having on results?
  • What is the one thing you need to do now?

For improved sales performance, contact us about the NEW Sales Managed Environment Certification® Program - Text me at 513.226.3913.  Subject line: SMEC and your name.