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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.


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

Building an Effective Sales Coaching Program in a High-Tech World

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Aug 30, 2023

To compete in the marketplace today, companies must first, identify the sales coaching needs of their managers and the strengths and weaknesses of the salespeople they coach. We know that in order to differentiate in business today, salespeople must be consultative, have great interactions with clients, provide solutions that solve their problems, and also create revenue for the company. Their sales coaches play a large part in their success.

How does a company create an effective sales coaching program? Experience tells us that most companies are good at setting sales goals and measuring results, but the statistics around frequent, one on one coaching tell a different story.


Weaknesses of Sales Managers as Coaches

Let’s look at the weaknesses of most managers as coaches:

  • Do not consistently coach and debrief.
  • Ineffective at joint sales calls.
  • Do not ask questions.
  • Have a need for approval from salespeople.
  • Rescue salespeople.
  • Do not have a sales process.
  • Ineffective at commitments.
  • Beliefs do not support coaching.
  • Do not have goals and a plan.
  • Do not know what motivates salespeople.

Less than two percent of managers are adept at identifying sales coaching needs and coaching those needs. There are many reasons for this, but among them are: they themselves were not coached or they had a bad experience with coaching; they were elevated to a team lead or manager position based on their sales success and not their coaching performance; and they have not had any coaching training, either formal or informal.

There are some simple, concrete steps managers can take to initiate an effective sales coaching program. It begins with managers developing an understanding of what motivates their salespeople. Less than seven percent of sales managers know the personal goals for their people. Since most salespersons today are intrinsically versus extrinsically motivated, this is key in the manager-salesperson relationship as well as the salesperson-client relationship. 

Effective coaching occurs when a manager is proactively asking questions of their team members, giving feedback on a regular basis, and showing a genuine interest in the development of the salesperson.


Successful Sales Managers Should

To get started, managers should:

  1. Set time aside for a personal goal discussion

This should be done in-person or via a video conference call so that there is eye “contact.” Salespeople are motivated first by their personal goals. The goal is the find out what drives the producer and what is important to them. Encourage them to dream big and free think about their life goals, including family and personal aspirations. No goal should be too big or too small. After that, goals should be translated into SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based) goals.   

  1. Set Professional Goals

Begin by asking the salesperson to consider how meeting their professional goals can help them reach their personal goals. Working with the salesperson, set professional goals that not only include targets for sales, cross-sell, and retention, but also what the salesperson has shared is important to them.

  1. Set weekly check-ins

Establish a rhythm for follow-up and discussion about both the salesperson’s personal and professional goals. These check-ins should include managing activities identified in the plan, holding salespersons accountable to activity levels, helping to identify choke points, coaching how they are doing what they do, and asking for the opportunity to observe sales calls and encouraging de-briefs.

Developing an effective sales coaching program is ultimately about developing a meaningful human connection, a relationship. This has to begin with the sales manager and the salesperson before it can translate into a salesperson and client relationship. When this is accomplished—and it’s not a one and done proposition, but an art that requires regular attention—companies can develop a service to sales career path for its salespeople that leads to success for all.    

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


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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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