In an economic environment that is like the one we are in heading into 2023, your growth strategy may not be so much about sales growth, but rather more about holding on to what you have! If your clients are deciding to participate in the assumed upcoming recession, then your biggest questions / challenges won’t be:
- Can we be competitive with our pricing?
- Are our salespeople skilled enough to qualify and close business?
- Will we have enough revenue to keep our people?
- Can we meet demand?
No, your biggest challenge will be with your own sales team and their willingness, drive, and commitment to do what needs to be done to reach out each and every day to find new names / logos to add to their pipeline.
Addressing and solving this problem requires great coaching from your sales leadership and sales management people. Your sales managers and people responsible for developing sales talent MUST HAVE a coaching bias. They MUST have an innate desire to help people improve skill, attitude, will to sell, and behaviors. The will to sell alone though, is not enough. There are a set of skills / competencies that will either support the coaching effort, or hinder the coaching effort.
If you follow Anthony Cole Training Group regularly, you know we are one of the top distributors for Objective Management Group suite of sales talent assessments and evaluations. We are a top distributor because we are absolutely convinced of the truth as spoken by our own sales development expert, Mark Trinkle, “You cannot fix what you cannot see.”
What you see in this graphic is information that we have when we assess an organization's sales management team. When you look at this, what jumps off the page at you? I don’t know about you, but I see three things that would hinder sales coaching effectiveness:
1. Consistently coaches and debriefs
2. Beliefs Support Coaching
3. Doesn’t rescue the Salespeople
And just for good measure let’s add this one:
4. Effective at getting commitments
Each one of these has a video that you can access for further clarification. But for the purpose of this article let me attempt to craft the narrative this way.
You have a sales manager that really loves to coach and develop people, but:
- Doesn’t spend enough time coaching to improve skill and change behaviors. The coaching takes place only when the salesperson needs to discuss a strategy for creating the solution or attempting to figure out how to deal with competitive pricing – how much lower can we offer our product?
- In addition to that, this manager believes that only those new people need coaching, and their experienced, tenured salespeople already know what to do and are hitting their numbers. (The question that needs to be asked is this: Is hitting their numbers the same as producing to the available opportunity?)
- When this manager does joint calls with prospects, they fail to let them fail. Rescuing the salesperson once they make a mistake is also tied to beliefs. They believe that it is more important to make the sale, not look bad, make corrections then it is to let a salesperson fail and let them learn from mistakes.
- Finally, when a manager of this make up does meet with their salespeople, they don’t get caught up in the ‘emotions’ of the minute, they won’t sugar coat questions because they are afraid of the salesperson not liking them, but they will struggle with getting a firm commitment to do the right activity, engage in training to improve skills and change behaviors.
As you can read from this narrative, the bias towards coaching is important and yes, even critical, but the skills to execute are just as critical. Here’s an analogy: I loved playing basketball and thought my road to an NCAA scholarship was via basketball. I had a couple of problems that overwhelmed my enthusiasm for the game: I couldn’t jump or shoot. I played basketball like a football player. The good news is that my love for football paid off and I attended UCONN on scholarship!
Find out what our Sales Managed Environment Certification program can do to help you drive sales. https://anthonycoletraining.com/sales-managed-environment-sme/