ACTG Sales Management Blog

Sales & Sales Management Expertise Blog  

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.

pexels-pixabay-264337 (1)

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.

pexels-christina-morillo-1181562

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.

9_keys_to_successful_coaching_cover

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.

Need to Improve Your Coaching Skills?

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

What Motivates Your Sales Team? How to Motivate Your Sales Team

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Jul 16, 2020

In today's blog post, we discuss motivation in sales.  The problem, in many cases, is that the sales executive in charge of getting more out of their sales team has no idea what motivates those people on the team.  

Without knowing what motivates his/her employees, how could you possibly create a motivating environment?

silhouette-photography-of-person-standing-on-green-grass-in-746386

How to Motivate Your Sales Team

Sales is the lifeblood of most businesses.  If you're a sales manager, or sales leader, you might be wondering how to better motivate your sales team.

Unlike most sales activities that can be measured, motivation is a more difficult metric to assess, but still vital to your sales team's success.

Here are a couple of ideas to help inspire your sales team.

How to Motivate Sales Team:

  • Build trust among your sales reps
  • Understand what motivates them 
  • Set daily, weekly, monthly sales goals
  • Give and promote recognition
  • Lead with empathy

 

As many of you know, we use the Objective Management Group's (OMG) assessment to evaluate every organization that we do sales and sales management training, coaching and consulting for. 

The process helps us (and our clients) determine with great accuracy the answers to these 4 questions:       

  1. Can we be more effective (sell more, more quickly at better margins)?
  2. How much more effective could we be?
  3. What would it take?
  4. How long would it take?

Answering these four questions requires the ability to uncover at least two important contributors to improved effectiveness:

  1. Their “will” to improve in selling and sales management
  2. Their ability (sales and sales management DNA)

 

6 Factors That Determine Sales Motivation

There are 6 known contributing factors that OMG uses to determine “will to sell”  (click here to inquire about the pre-hire assessment tool).

  1. Desire to succeed in selling
  2. Commitment to succeed in selling
  3. Motivation
  4. Outlook
  5. Responsibility
  6. Enjoyment of selling

A CONSISTENTLY RECURRING QUESTION

I don't believe there is a way to effectively rank those factors in terms of relevant importance.  Having used the tool and delivered results to dozens of companies and hundreds of people, my experience is that these 6 work together to form a puzzle that gives you an overall picture of someone’s “will to sell”.  In this article, however, I want to focus on motivation because,often, when attending my workshops, attendees consistently the question,

“How do I motivate my sales team?”


ARE YOU MOTIVATED?

What motivates you?  If you are a manager, what is motivating your people?  If you are not motivated to:

  • Be more effective
  • Be more successful
  • Compete to be the best
  • Sell more to make your lifestyle dreams a reality

I have to ask: Why?

ALL ENCOMPASSING - MOTIVATION INVOLVES EVERYTHING

Let me address two things:

  • Personal motivation
  • Motivation of others

My experience – my own true, personal experience - about motivation is that when you desire something greatly in your heart, then you will live and breath the desire to make the dream a reality.  Many of you know I played football at UConn.  I always considered myself blessed beyond reason to have had the opportunity to make my dream a reality.  But blessed does not stand alone as the only contributing factor for the scholarship. 

Yes, I had some God-given talents (nature), but I also had some external factors (nurture) that contributed to my success.  Those factors were Mom and Dad and the attitudes they instilled in me regarding hard work, anything is possible, don’t give up, and success requires commitment.  I learned early on that, if you really want to accomplish something great in your life, you must be willing to give up some things to get where you want to go.

  • When my classmates were going to Lee’s house to party after a game, I did not.
  • I hated vegetables, but my dad told me he would tell Coach Cacia I wasn’t eating right – I wasn’t going to let that happen.
  • At the end of a long day – 12 hours – working on the farm, I still ran my miles and lifted weights.
  • When I got beat on a certain play during practice, I would make that person pay the price on the next play.
  • I ran sprints every day at the end of practice.

THE REAL DEAL – MOTIVATION IS PERSONAL

When I answer the question - How do I motivate my people? - for workshop attendees, I tell them, “You cannot motivate them.  Motivation is an inside-out job and they have to come to the table with their own motivation.  The best you can do is create an environment where people want to come and they want to be motivated and excited because they have personal reasons to be successful.”

While assessing numerous organizations, we have found three things that hinder the motivation and success of the sales team: 1) 90% of the sales managers don’t believe they need to know what motivates their sales people.  2) 25% of the sales managers are not motivated to be successful in the role of sales manager and 3) Virtually 100% of the salespeople lack personal goals, lack a personal goal plan and fail to have a process in place to track if they are achieving goals.

Without knowing what motivates your salespeople, how could you possibly create a motivated environment or sales team? 

Topics: effective sales coaching, sales leadership development, sales motivation, sales skill assessment, sales growth and inspiration, banking sales training, professional sales training, consultative sales coaching, online sales training, sales training programs, consultative selling cincinnati, banking sales training cincinnati, professional sales training cincinnati, sales training cincinnati, sales training seminars cincinnati

The 5 Keys to Sales Coaching

Posted by Alex Cole-Murphy on Thu, Jan 16, 2020

In this article, we discuss the "5 Keys to Sales Coaching", or 5 critical steps you must know and execute in order to get the best effort and results out of your salespeople, to help increase sales in 2020 and beyond.

They include:

  1. Insight
  2. Feedback
  3. Demonstrate
  4. Practice
  5. Action Plan

blurred-background-cap-close-up-coach-1618044

Coaching salespeople is hard work and it helps to have a consistent and effective process to help keep you on course.

As a sales coach, there are five critical steps you must know and execute in order to get the best effort and results out of your salespeople.

These are the 5 Keys to Sales Coaching below:

1.) INSIGHTAs a coach, you must be able to see what is happening and what is not happening out in the field.  Without real insight into what is going on, you will have difficulty understanding your salespeople's choke points.

10 Sales Management Insights

 

2.) FEEDBACK - As a sales coach, you must continually give your salespeople specific feedback on their activities.  This includes both positive and constructive feedback.  If you ask your salesperson if they will allow you to coach them to help them reach their goals, you will usually gain permission.  And that makes the journey better for everyone.

5 Effective Ways to Coach Your Sales Team

 

3.) DEMONSTRATE Part of a sales leader’s job is to be effective at demonstrating the behavior they want their salespeople to execute in the field.  And they must take time out of their busy day to schedule time with their team members to demonstrate specific situations from a sales call or meeting, role play with their team, identify gaps in the selling process, ask specific questions, and most importantly, coach their salespeople to become better salespeople!

The Top 10 Behaviors of High Performing Managers

 

4.) PRACTICE We have all heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect”. This is particularly true in selling. Practice is essential in improving selling skills, specific techniques, interpersonal skills, and attention-to-detail in the selling process.  Without practice, your salespeople will only go so far, and as a sales coach, you must role play with your salespeople in order for them to practice and achieve success!  Be prepared, they might not like it but they must do it.

8 Sales Role Play Exercises

 

5.) ACTION PLAN - It is essential that YOU as a sales leader take time to sit down with your salesperson and establish an action plan – what are the specific prospecting and networking activities that they must do in order to reach their goals? 

This will undoubtedly include utilizing LinkedIn, attending association meetings with the intent to meet the right target profile client, etc.  This action plan SHOULD include getting introductions from current clients.

31 Tips for Using LinkedIn for Sales

 

Follow this link below to learn more about specific opportunities we offer to help grow revenue!

Sell Better. Coach Better. Hire Better.

Topics: effective sales coaching, Sales Coaching, sales coaching skills, consultative selling, sales effectiveness training, banking sales training, consultative sales coaching, hire better people, train the trainer, 5 keys to sales coaching

    Follow #ACTG

     

    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

    Subscribe Here

    Most Read

    Recent Blogs