ACTG Sales Management Blog

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Why Sales Coaching Matters

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Oct 14, 2022

It is an important distinction in sales – understanding the salesperson who can sell versus the one who will sell. A recent post by Dave Kurlan, on the Difference Between Selling Skills and Effectiveness does a great job of illustrating that difference. Think about your own business and those who consistently produce beyond the expected. There is something more than just their skills that drive their behavior and success. There is the Will to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.

Why Sales Coaching Matters

This distinction between the can and will is why sales coaching really matters. Sales training can help develop a new producer so that they understand how to prospect, prepare, qualify and close business. But it is often the Coach who helps that salesperson uncover their will and their desire to sell, who stokes the fires by asking the right questions and helps them establish extraordinary goals. Sales coaching matters because it is personal, based on the salesperson’s situation, drive, hopes and dreams.

Sales coaching is also important to every organization because salespeople reporting to a manager with strong Coaching skills tend to have 26% more closeable late-stage opportunities.

But we also know from the data warehouse of Objective Management Group that less than 10% of sales coaches know the personal goals of their salespeople so while they may be well intended, how can a sales manager coach a salesperson until they know why that salesperson comes to work every day or what compels them to pick up the phone and make that next prospecting call.

Most sales coaches moved up through their company because they were good producers and they because of that, they are adept at translating the how to sell effectively, but may not be as skilled in helping to uncover a salesperson’s will to sell. Sales managers need a coaching system so they know when to coach their salespeople and follow an intentional sales coaching process to make it effective.

Here are 9 Skills in our Sales Coaching Skill Development Plan:

  1. Debriefs effectively after significant calls
  2. Effective on joint calls
  3. Asks quality questions of their salespeople
  4. Understands the impact of a salesperson’s Sales DNA
  5. Can demonstrate an effective sales system
  6. Is effective at getting commitments from salespeople
  7. Consistently coaches skills and behaviors
  8. Understands the impact of a salesperson’s Will to Sell
  9. Effectively onboards new salespeople

Just like salespeople, there are many sales managers who can do the job of coaching – they have the skills, but perhaps are not motivated by achieving success through the development and achievements of others. Those who lead and manage salespeople can lack the will to succeed in sales management. It’s an important distinction for every company to consider as they hire and develop their team.

Find out more about why sales coaching matters: https://blog.anthonycoletraining.com/sales-coaching-skills

 

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Topics: effective sales coaching, Sales Coaching, sales coaching cincinnati

Sales Management Training: Are You A Truly Committed Leader?

Posted by Dan Fischer on Thu, Nov 04, 2021

Committed leaders invest in themselves by taking part in sales management training to become better managers and coaches so they can help their people see greater success. 

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Two questions I ask you today:

  1. As a leader, are you truly committed?
  2. Are your people truly committed to you, and your organization?

Being a leader is not an easy job, is it? No doubt, you have lots of responsibilities with lots to get done throughout your day, week, month, and year. With that said, are you:

  • Leading by example and casting a large shadow so your people know you are there for them?
  • Holding your people accountable for their daily and weekly activities that they agreed to?
  • Gaining insights into what their choke points are and helping them overcome obstacles?
  • Intentionally coaching your people on the little things (behaviors) to get the big things done (results)?
  • Roleplaying and practicing to make your people better?

If you are committed to doing the above, you are on the right path to success. Your #1 job is to make your people wildly successful, to change circumstances so that they will be more successful than they would have been had they been left alone and not coached by you! How do you do that? By setting standards, holding them accountable, not allowing excuses, motivating, and coaching. But also, investing in yourself by taking part in sales management training to become a better manager and coach. Committed leaders do these things consistently.

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What is the evidence that you are a committed leader? Try this exercise:

  1. Your team says that you are totally committed to being successful in your role as a Sales Leader, CEO, President, etc. Write down what they would tell me to convince me that this is true.
  2. Your team says that you are not totally committed to being successful in your role. Write down what they would tell me to convince me that this is true.

Are your people truly committed to you, and your organization? How do you know if they’re committed to success? To determine if they are truly committed, we like to use the following three categories as benchmarks:

  1. Coast to Coasters – these people coast into work and then coast home at night. These people are retired…they just don’t know it yet.
  2. WITALAIITU – Whatever It Takes, As Long As It Isn’t Too Uncomfortable. These people will do whatever it takes until it becomes outside of their comfort zone. Then they shut down.
  3. WIT – Whatever It Takes. These people are high achievers. These are the people you want on your team to help build a strong culture within your organization.

When is the best time to find out if your people are committed? Yesterday. If not yesterday, then today.

I believe commitment starts and ends with YOU. Your commitment to yourself, your people, and your fine organization is contingent on you having that “whatever it takes” attitude. That attitude is contagious and you will find your people following your shadow because they know you are committed to them and their best interest.

Cast your shadow wide!

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Topics: effective sales coaching, Sales Management Training, commitment to succeed

Sales Management Training: Coach Your People, They Want It!

Posted by Dan Fischer on Fri, Oct 15, 2021

Are you, as a sales leader, spending at least 50% of your time coaching your salespeople, helping them to develop their skills and become more productive?

It’s time to inspect your own behaviors as a coach and mentor. How do you measure up? Set time on your calendar right now for specific, sales skills coaching with your salespeople.

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Please allow me to be very direct (it’s the only way I know how) when I ask you this question: “Are you really coaching your people”? I mean, really digging in and coaching them? Are you spending at least 50% of your time holding your people accountable, and coaching? Isn’t your job as a sales leader to make your people wildly successful? More successful than they ever would have been had they not been coached by you? If your answers to those questions are “yes” … great, keep doing what you’re doing! If it took you a while to answer or your answers were “no”, it’s time to get to work with some specific sales management training around coaching.

Many sales leaders manage the activity of their people by looking at spreadsheets, activity reports, and pipelines. Does that make them a coach? I’m not diminishing the importance of managing activity but what I’m talking about is coaching the behaviors that will make your people better. These are the weekly standards (activity metrics) that need to be inspected; the little things that make the big things happen. Weekly metrics include:

  • Outreaches – phone calls and emails to prospects
  • Contacts – live conversations with decision-makers
  • Meetings Set – day and time set

There are two questions you must be able to answer when your boss asks:

  1. Why is one or more of your people failing?
  2. What are you doing about it?

Your answers cannot be, “I don’t know”, or “let me go check”. You must know the answers. How can you answer those questions if you’re not holding your people accountable?

2 other questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. Did we hire them that way?
  2. Or, has my lack of coaching made them that way?

I’m not talking about getting all over your people…or embarrassing your people. I’m talking about helping your people!

Your job as a sales leader is to help your people get better, challenge their thinking, and help them grow and practice with them to develop their skills so they are more productive for your organization and they are able to reach their personal goals. Many sales leaders do not see the need for sales management training. It’s time to inspect your own behaviors as a coach and mentor. How do you measure up? Set time on your calendar right now for specific, sales skills coaching with your salespeople.

No doubt, you have a very challenging job. You have a lot on your plate with lots of responsibilities. But, always remember that your #1 job is to coach and make your people wildly successful.

Download our Free  9 Keys to Successful Coaching eBook

Topics: effective sales coaching, sales management skills, Sales Management Training

The Sales Coaching Conundrum

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Sep 02, 2021

The dictionary defines a conundrum as “a confusing and difficult problem or question.” I believe it is safe to say that we can put sales coaching into that category.

In today’s blog, I want to give you some sales coaching tips that will improve your sales coaching skills.

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Let us start with the fundamental truth that any sales organization is perfectly designed for the results they are receiving. And if an organization does not like those results, then the most important thing for them to consider is their appetite for change. And when it comes to sales coaching, many sales leaders quite frankly lose their appetite. Why? 

Because coaching salespeople is costly (time not money) and scary (any time you put people into the equation that tends to be the case).

If you want to improve your coaching, you would do well to avoid the four most common mistakes that so many companies make with sales coaching:

  1. They assume that high-performing salespeople will naturally or automatically become high-performing sales leaders. There is very little data to support such a claim. The jobs are quite different. The logic is flawed.
  2. They don’t use a predictive sales-related assessment (we prefer the Objective Management sales manager assessment) on the pre-hire side to make sure the sales leader candidate will be strong on setting standards, coaching, managing pipelines, holding people accountable, recruiting new sales talent, etc.

They hire sales leaders who really don’t want the job. I mean they might be right for the job, but the job is not right for them. 

  1. Why? Because they love selling and their heart is not in it when it comes time to coach and holds their team accountable.  
  2. They don’t train their sales leaders. While most companies do not hesitate to train their salespeople, they don’t give much if any thought to training the specific skill sets that a sales leader must master to be successful.

Here is another word of the day – insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting outcomes to change. So, do you have a conundrum on your hands? Or do you have a sales coaching problem that has become a priority that you have to fix?

Download our Free  9 Keys to Successful Coaching eBook

Topics: effective sales coaching, Sales Coaching, sales coaching process, sales coaching tips

Do You Have a Coaching Bias?

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Oct 08, 2020

In every sales training and coaching program we work with individuals to help them write and deliver their phone scripts, value propositions and elevator pitches. These are important components for salespeople to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace. And this exchange should begin the relationship on the right foot by getting the audience engaged.

Here is the approach I use when calling on executives that fit our ideal prospect profile:

Hello John, this is Tony Cole. (pause)

Yes Tony, how can I help you?

Well John, I’m certain of two things: 1. You were not sitting by your phone today waiting for a call from me and 2. If you are like many of our clients there is currently a lot of pressure and concern about making revenue and budget numbers.

Pause – and wait for a response.

Can I tell you why I called? Sure.

Our clients are those that recognize that their current sales structure is perfectly designed for the results they are getting today. And today the results may not be enough to make budget projections. I’m calling to find out how much you, as president of the company can relate to that scenario. Pause. Can I ask you a question?

In a word how would you describe the overall results of your company as it relates to taking the full advantage of the opportunity in your markets? (Assume the prospect says, “pretty good”.)

Why just pretty good? What is missing? (Engagement begins)

You must understand the game

Years ago, one of the lead execs from our client Key Bank shared an article called, “What it takes to be a Coach”. It began with You Must Understand the Game.

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At the time, most did not understand that the ‘game’ is the game of selling. Managers and internal trainers must really understand the game of selling. Unless internal trainers have strapped a headset on, make hundreds of dials, asked for introductions, been rejected, sold big cases and started with small sales, then they cannot understand the game. It would be like taking flying lessons from a pilot trainer that did all of their flight learning in a simulator. Would you want them as your flying coach?

Most sales managers end up in their manager role because they were good to great salespeople and the company was looking to replace a current position.:

Rarely if ever does that person go through an intense, fully integrated sales training development program to help them effectively execute the required skills of an effective coach.

As an example, in the script above an effective coach will teach their salespeople to get a prospect involved in the conversation as quickly as possible. This is done by executing two steps:

  1. Saying your name and then being quiet
  2. Informing the listener that it may not make sense for the call and ask for permission to proceed

Ideally, the prospect gets involved in the conversation within 3 seconds and then gives the salesperson permission to make their value proposition or elevator pitch. That takes coaching knowledge and skill. You must know the game.

Peter Jensen is an Olympic coach from Canada and author of the book “The Third Factor”. I met Peter at Bill Ekstrom’s EXSELL Conference many years ago. He states that the first two factors for success in anything are nature and nurture. The Third Factor, specific to coaching, is:

You must have a coaching bias.

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This is what it takes to be successful at coaching: you must love coaching and the game of selling. You must thrive on developing others to be the best versions of themselves. It must be about helping others gain the spotlight, success and financial rewards or a job well done. It requires sacrificing ego and the need to be right for the other person to discover their path, develop their skills and become the expert.

There are assessments in the marketplace to help people identify if they have what it takes. We use Objective Management Group’s Sales Manager Evaluation. Three key findings are identified and scored:

  1. The Will to be successful specifically in the role of manager or sales leader
  2. The Sales Manager DNA
  3. The Sales Manager Competencies

The evaluation provides an index percentage that tells the evaluated sales manager how they rank against other who have taken the evaluation. If their percentage is 80%, they are better than 80% of the managers who have taken the evaluation. Our 20+ history has verified that most sales managers have less than 10% of the skills needed to be an effective sales coach.

In summary, most sales managers struggle to get their salespeople to perform for one of the following reasons:

  • The manager doesn’t have what it takes - the skills - to be good at the job
  • The manager doesn’t take the time or doesn’t have the bandwidth to handle the job and spend appropriate time coaching
  • There isn’t a consistent ‘Sales Managed Environment’ to execute to so that day in and day out, it’s a different process.

We may well be entering into a new reality when it comes to sales and business success moving forward. In order to stay ahead of the curve, and competition, companies need salespeople who are as can differentiate themselves in a virtual environment. They need sales managers or coaches with a coaching bias who can monitor and track each individual’s sales activities, coach, and hold them accountable to behaviors that will produce revenue.

Need to Improve Your Coaching Skills?

Topics: effective sales coaching, Effective Coaching, sales management success, coaching sales people, sales performance coaching

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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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