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Sales Coaching DNA: A Critical Component to Achieving Sales Team Excellence

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Apr 26, 2024

DNA is a molecule called deoxyribonucleic acid, which contains the biological instructions that make each species unique.  So, what makes up the very unique and coveted Sales DNA?  Is there a genetic code for successful sales managers and if so, wouldn’t every company like to crack that code?

According to Objective Management Group, the pioneer and leader in sales evaluations, there are 5 Sales DNA Competencies that determine the degree of success for every salesperson and manager. It is a rare occurrence that a non-salesperson is hired into a sales coaching or management role and therefore, a sales leader always brings into their management role their own set of sales DNA based on past experiences. These habits can be supportive in many cases as they have led to their sales success. However, the role of coach is to teach and develop others to sell, which is a very different set of daily activities and sometimes, their learned behaviors are not conducive to achieving sales team success, through others.

The Sales DNA Competencies measure a sales manager's beliefs and actions that support or limit success in sales management. Sales managers are often unaware of how their biases can negatively impact their coaching of their sales team. Here is a breakdown of the 5 core Sales DNA competencies as they relate to success in selling and coaching:

  • Doesn’t Need Approval: As a salesperson, this means a salesperson is able to ask tough questions and challenge their customers to earn their respect. Similarly, as a sales coach, the manager will be able to probe and ask tough questions of the salesperson about their sales process to help them uncover choke points and improve skills. Successful coaches are not worried about being liked as they know that taking someone out of their comfort zone is often where the learning happens. This happens to be one of the toughest areas for a new sales coach to overcome. Most people do want to be liked but in the role of leader, it can get in the way of being truthful, driving skill improvement and earning the respect of the sales team.
  • Stays in the Moment: A successful salesperson is able to remain objective and actively listen to their prospects and customers. They are not thinking forward as to what they will say in response but are listening intently to learn so that they can ask further questions and probe deeper. A sales leader who is ineffective at staying in the moment may not listen well, jump to conclusions and fall back on their own selling approach, telling the salesperson what to do. To be successful at building sales team excellence, a coach must really listen, ask probing questions of their salespeople to help uncover areas in the sales process they may be missing or need coaching. To some degree, they are helping a salesperson self-discover what needs to improve, based on their questions.
  • Supportive Beliefs: Strong salespeople feel empowered to take positive action without being sabotaged by negative sales-specific self-talk. What is in the head often affects actions and behaviors. Certainly, an effective sales leader must have a strong self-image and believe they have the skills to impact the success of their sales team. And they must have supportive sales beliefs too. These beliefs in a coaching role must reflect the importance of teaching and coaching an effective sales process, helping their salespeople understand the buyer’s journey and how to help move prospects from awareness to information gathering to decision-making. Supportive beliefs may well be one of the primary reasons a successful salesperson is promoted into a coaching role. They believe they can and so they do succeed.
  • Supportive Buy Cycle: This means a salesperson has the ability to push back over price objections, competition, and indecision. They do not allow their own buying approach and habits to keep them from asking tough questions of prospects. Similarly, a sales coach will help their salespeople understand how their own buy cycle; how they purchase, may be getting in the way of how they sell and react to their prospects. All people have a buy cycle but truly successful salespeople and leaders are able to separate their own habits from those of their prospects, enabling them to address price objections and delays, instead of inwardly understanding and accepting those reactions.
  • Comfortable Discussing Money: Elite salespeople, or the top 7%, have learned how to lean into discussions about budget and find funding that isn't readily available. In life, talking about money issues is often considered impolite and a salesperson must overcome this reluctance that has been inbred. In a sales role, price objections are inevitable and instead of being taken aback, successful salesperson learn to anticipate and even flush them out. They are able to focus on demonstrating the unique value their product or service provides and how it solves the prospect’s problems or improves their lives in ways a competitor cannot. Imagine the importance of the sales manager’s comfort discussing money in their role as coach. If they are unable to role play, address budget and demonstrate to their salespeople the importance of discussing money, their salespeople will not become proficient in this critical area.

Free Evaluation of the  21 Core Competencies!



Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, sales training tips, sales tech


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    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.


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