ACTG Sales Management Blog

Sales & Sales Management Expertise Blog  

Jeni Wehrmeyer

Recent Posts

The Importance of Understanding Your Customer’s Decision-Making Process

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Thu, Sep 14, 2023

The buyer’s journey has been a critical topic of discussion for salespeople and marketers for a decade now. We have come to recognize how essential it is to understand how a prospect recognizes that they have a problem, how they go about searching for a solution and how they evaluate those solutions to make a resource choice and a decision.

The importance of that step, the customer’s decision-making process, may just be the most important step in the buyer’s journey. Salespeople can gain a great deal of information from CRMs and lead nurturing data and best practices from industry research systems like Relpro and IBISWorld, however, these will not give them insights into a prospect’s specific decision-making process. There are nuances in every company as to how they approach an important purchase and elite salespeople are skilled at asking great questions in order to uncover those in their qualifying discussions.

Questions to Ask About Your Customer’s Decision-Making Process

One lead (or prospect) lead nurturing best practice is to just be direct, ask the question. We coach salespeople in the commitment step of the sales process to simply as them “When you’ve made a decision like this in the past, what was your process?” Simple enough but the prospect may give a surface answer, making it seem much simpler than it is of course. Of course, you must have already uncovered that you are working with the decision maker but rarely in a substantial purchase, is there just one making the decision. They may be the ultimate decision maker but the decision impacts others that they will want to gain input from. Skilled salespeople help the prospect think through this by drilling down from their surface answer and will ask further questions such as:

  • “Will that be the same process you follow this time?” and
  • “How long does that normally take?” and
  • “Who will this change impact in the organization?”
  • “Who all needs to fall in love with this solution to gain approval?” and
  • “Can I go with you to present to the committee?”
  • “How will you tell your current provider?”

The bottom line, it may not matter how much your direct contact likes the solution you have recommended, if the customer’s decision-making process is unknown, you are at risk of losing the deal. Those important questions need to be asked and salespeople who master these close more sales.

From the coach’s perspective, one of the findings from our partners at Objective Management Group is; Managers who are effective at helping their salespeople get prospects to commit to a decision have 40% more top performers than managers who are ineffective at coaching on decision making.

Why is this so predictive of success for coaching? If managers are helping their team to regularly uncover the decision-making process and gain commitment, then they’re probably coaching on several supporting skills also. Getting a prospect to agree to a decision means the salesperson has uncovered a compelling reason for them to buy, they have thoroughly qualified the opportunity, and presented a need and cost appropriate solution at the right time. This takes active listening, many insightful and challenging questions, and the ability to pushback appropriately on potential stall tactics.

Need More  Sales Management Training?



Topics: Sales Training, banking sales training, sales training tips, effective sales coaching program

The Importance of Feedback in Sales

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Sep 08, 2023

Graduating from college, I went right into a high-pressure sales job selling newspaper advertising for The Dallas Times Herald in the burgeoning Dallas, Texas marketplace. It was a hustle out there as we competed with The Dallas Morning News who had a greater share of the subscriber and ad revenue markets. At that time in the 80s, Dallas had small businesses and strip centers popping up every day and I would literally case my territory at least every other day so that I could be the first in the door, when a store opened. Because if I was not and the ad showed up in The Dallas Morning News, here is what happened…

8 am daily paper check with our entire sales team and manager and each region did it at the same time, every day. Paper check meant, our boss opened the competitive papers and asked us about any businesses advertising in our territory that we did not have running in our paper. This was of course, in front of the whole team. So, my first lesson on the importance of feedback in sales was frequency and consistency matter. I knew that I had to be ON IT or look like a weak link on our team. The second lesson about the importance of feedback was transparency. We all went under the same daily scrutiny and although this was painful at times, it also brought us together as a team. It was competitive, it was fun and we rooted each other on. This feedback process also allowed us to share some best practices and teach the newbies so that they knew what was coming and how to get better.

Adaptability in sales is essential and that is another lesson I learned at The Dallas Times Herald. During my 6 years there, my territory was split 4 times so I gave up strip centers and advertisers to my co-workers and had to go deeper into my current client base, selling them more or finding new ones in a smaller territory. I was blessed with a North Dallas area and was able to adapt and continue to outsell my complacent Dallas Morning News opponent.

My boss, a wonderful guy named Eddie, was a master at understanding the importance of feedback and would always find a time to point out the wins, the great sales, the creative approaches and he was famous for slipping us producers a $50 here and there as a bonus. Which of course, we went out and blew that night at the Elan, dancing and drinking a few cocktails. I grew to love feedback, as all salespeople should, but of course, the quality of it matters. Coaches should be direct, fair, instructive and consistent in their feedback to make it work its magic. Not everyone is as lucky as I was to have an accomplished and encouraging coach.

The coach is so important when it comes down to it. I would certainly not have been as motivated or as skilled or as inspired to canvas my territory, stay out late and build ads until 8 pm at night without Eddie. So how do coaches become better?  Here is one great resource from our partners Objective Management Group: The Ultimate Sales Coaching Guide with another downloadable below.


Download our Free  9 Keys to Successful Coaching eBook



Topics: Sales Training, banking sales training, sales training tips, identifying sales coaching needs, effective sales coaching program

Deepening Relationships with Transformative Branch Conversations

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Aug 25, 2023

Some would say that these are unprecedented times in banking. Perhaps the individuals most impacted, and possibly most unprepared, are retail bankers, at the frontline of client changing preferences, digital options and increasing expectations. For a banking leader, it is an important time to have a strong focus on sales team motivation. Here are a few things we would recommend to help your frontline retail banking team continue to grow and deepen current client relationships.

Building Trust: Unfortunately, bank customer trends show a decrease in trust and satisfaction, while service expectations continue to rise. That may not apply to your bank but we do know that younger demographics represent a challenge as they consider expanding digital offerings. Leaders must put their focus on helping retail branches excel at deepening customer relationships by sharpening their skills of asking questions, listening, becoming a guide and a trusted advisor. All of these begin with empathy in sales, putting the focus on the client and working as a guide to help them uncover and achieve their financial goals. Do your frontline people have the skills and yes, the courage and desire, to expand into more meaningful conversations with clients? This all hinges on your sales team’s motivation to be different and memorable and have empathy in their selling approach. Do they care enough to ask the tough questions, listen closely and build that essential trust factor?

Managing Change: There has been a seismic shift in the community bank space this year and one of those shifts seems to be less of an interest in driving new clients through commercial loans and more of an interest in deepening current client relationships in the branch. To accomplish this, leaders must be ready to coach their bankers on a new, transformative approach to initiating distinctive conversations with their clients and prospects, building trust through meaningful relationships. What is at the heart of this approach? It is important to have a relationship building (sales) process to teach, coach and inspect. Not only does this give you a system to better understand how your team is motivated, it gives your frontline bankers a step-by-step process to follow to deepen their relationships. Following a stage-based process is one of the hallmarks of top relationship building bankers. Some may think of it as an art skill, however, there is also a science to becoming a trusted advisor, including ‘owning’ and being skillful at asking the right questions and guiding the client to make good financial decisions.

Now is an important time to take a look at your current people, how they are approaching their customer interactions and if they can transition to a more consultative role. An important component of deepening relationships will be the motivation and ability to be effective at outreach, calling current clients and initiating the conversation with thoughtful, caring, empathetic questions. This is a time to focus on questioning and listening skills, not product solutions.

Need More  Sales Management Training?



Topics: Sales Training, banking sales training, sales training tips, empathy in sales, sales team motivation

Data and Analytics for Sales

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Aug 18, 2023

If you look beyond the surface and dissect the performance of your team, it is often an eye- opening experience. but uncovering the data and analytics for your sales team is an essential practice in building a high performing sales team. Most sales leaders report on year over year results, sales YTD against plan, how their team is doing against other sales divisions or peers in the industry, and new business.  What isn’t typically discussed is:

  • Over 90% results are probably coming from 36% of the sales team.
  • The bottom 36% of the sales team is responsible for less than 4% of total sales.
  • Of the last 4 hires - only 1 of them is doing better than the people they replaced.
  • The company could eliminate the bottom 36% and increase profitability significantly.
  • Many senior people are not performing nearly as well as some of the newer salespeople.

The challenge to most organizations is the answer to the question:  Are we growing and acquiring new relationships from existing clients and new clients?  If that answer is no or not enough, it needs to be addressed.

The Importance of Ongoing Sales Training

The importance of ongoing sales training can be substantiated by the data and analytics of your sales team noted above, but how does an effective leader and coach go about addressing these problems? Here are 3 methods to implement ongoing sales training immediately.

  • Speed to failure – With new hires, sales managers must find out quickly if both of the salesperson and the manager made the right decision. In the hiring process, the sales manager making the offer must let the new hire know everything they are going to have to go through, what numbers they will be managed to and what is expected in the first 90 days and the following 6 months. That is the basis of ongoing sales training and coaching.
  • Conversation is KING – Despite all the technology that is available to help salespeople create opportunities, nothing yet has replaced the value of quality conversations, sales coaching and training. Leaders must have a very high standard for training, practice and preparation before they put people out into the market. The importance of ongoing sales training starts at day 1 establishing regular one on one coaching sessions, demonstrating and observing the new hire in sales scenarios, prior to being in the field.
  • Sales technology should make it easy for salespeople to communicate to suspects, prospects and clients.  It should be easy to use and provide extremely useful information for the sales manager as well as salespeople.  It should drive salespeople to consistently follow the company sales process and it should provide the sales leader with the sales data and analytics to coach that person to improvement. Sales technology is an important component of effective ongoing sales training.

Taking a close look at the data and analytics of sales and then implementing ongoing sales training, whether it is in house or with an external sales training firm, will go a long way to helping companies improve their sales environment and productivity of the entire team. 


Need More  Sales Management Training?



Topics: Sales Training, banking sales training, sales training tips, ongoing sales training, data and analytics for sales

Which Manager Qualities Matter Most for Building Elite Sales Teams

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Jul 28, 2023

Excerpt from Objective Management Group’s recent webinar on The Data Behind Sales Managers of Elite Teams. The third chapter of this guide addresses a fundamental question: What qualities matter most for building an elite team. Through a deep analysis of sales evaluations and coaching frequencies, we uncover the impact of consistent coaching on various aspects of sales performance.

In prior posts we discussed how to lay the foundation for a coachable sales team, and how frequently managers should provide coaching. In this segment we’ll explore what managers of top performing teams do differently and which manager qualities matter the most for building highly effective sales teams.

Based on extensive evaluations and predictive analysis, we identify three key attributes of an elite sales team manager:

  1. Coaching their teams to get a prospect’s commitment to make a decision
  2. Supportive coaching beliefs
  3. Having a passion for coaching

We’ll delve into each attribute, explaining how they significantly contribute to the development of high-performing sales teams and why they are crucial for sales managers to cultivate.

We have examined the OMG Sales Evaluations of over 44,000 salespeople and their managers with a specific focus on which management coaching elements are associated with elite sales teams. First, we identified the top 10% of salespeople, ranked by OMG’s Sales Percentile. Then we ran their managers’ evaluations through a predictive decision tree analysis to see which management competencies lead to the greatest increase in high performing salespeople on a team. This is what we learned.

Managers who are effective at helping their salespeople get prospects to commit to a decision have +40% more top performers than managers who are ineffective at coaching on decision making. Why is this so predictive of success?

If your managers are helping their team to regularly get commitment, then they’re probably coaching on several supporting skills also. Getting a prospect to agree to a decision means the salesperson has uncovered a compelling reason to buy, thoroughly qualified the opportunity, and presented a need and cost appropriate solution at the right time. This takes active listening, many insightful and challenging questions, and the ability to pushback appropriately on potential stall tactics. These skills aren’t intuitive. They need to be drilled through repeat practice with a manager the salesperson trusts.

High performing teams also have managers with strong supportive beliefs relating to coaching. What are supportive beliefs? They are the assertions that sales managers consciously or unconsciously bring to their work.

Strong managers believe that coaching is important. They might believe that they’re responsible for their team’s daily activities. They understand the different motivational styles on their team and flex appropriately. They believe it’s important to debrief sales calls and help the salesperson understand what went well or poorly.

A manager’s belief system is so important that sales teams with managers who coach on prospect commitment and have supportive coaching beliefs have +70% more top performing salespeople than managers who don’t have supportive coaching beliefs.

Finally, high performing sales teams have managers who have a passion for coaching. Sales teams with managers who help their teams get commitment and believe coaching is important and have a passion for coaching have +80% more top salespeople than managers who don’t have a passion for coaching.

A manager can coach for the right skills (prospect commitment) and believe that coaching matters, but still not love coaching. What does passion for coaching look like? Simply put, it’s where the manager wants to spend their discretionary time. Think about a team where the manager is responsible for several salespeople and their own quota. When they have 15 free minutes do they use it to develop their own clients or to help their team practice their skills? Both are good options – but electing to spend extra time coaching shows a passion that can help the entire team reach their full potential.

Sales managers who do all three are a diamond in the rough. Only 9% of sales managers in OMG’s database of millions of salespeople are strong at getting commitments, improving beliefs, and coaching with passion.


The secret to enhancing sales performance and surpassing sales goals lies in fostering a coaching culture that starts with the right insights. It's not just about using the right coaching techniques and striking the perfect frequency; the foundation of an effective coaching culture is built on trust, offering frequent support, and taking a genuine appreciation in the needs of your team. By optimizing your approach to coaching, sales managers can make a real difference in their team's performance and establish a coaching culture that fuels continuous growth and success.

This blog article is based on a three-part blog series on Coaching found on OMG’s Research Blog. Anthony Cole Training Group is a distributor of OMG sales evaluation products.

Request a sales manager evaluation to find out if anyone on your team has these skills or the potential to develop them HERE!



Topics: Sales Training, banking sales training, sales training tips


    Follow #ACTG


    About our Blog

    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


    Subscribe Here

    Most Read

    Recent Blogs