Why Coaching Causes Some Sales Managers to Hold On for Dear Life

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Mar 04, 2019 @ 05:03 AM

holding-on

Over the past few months I've been coaching 30 sales leaders from 3 companies and while most are trying their hardest to do everything I recommend, apply everything they learn, and coach as instructed, there are several that don't follow through and fail to move the needle for their teams.  A few don't want to be coached.  A few don't think they need to be coached.  A few are too proud to be coached.  A couple are too mentally challenged to be coached.

Avoidance aside, there are six scientifically proven reasons for their struggles and I'll share them with you here.In the table below, you'll see data from Objective Management Group, which has evaluated 1,838,327salespeople and sales managers.  The first three Sales Management Competencies shown in the table are from the category of Sales Management DNA. They are shown below  as weaknesses.

Sales Management Competency

Percentage with Competency as
a Weakness 

Controls Their Emotions 55%
Supportive Beliefs 100%
Supportive Buy-Cycle 65%

100% of sales managers have Self-Limiting Sales Management Beliefs. Let's say that their beliefs include, "coaching won't work" or "my salespeople won't follow a sales process" or "If I hold my salespeople accountable they'll quit" or "If I debrief their calls the way you instruct they'll hate me" or "I could never learn to role-play the way you teach it."  If they have any of those beliefs, what are the chances that they can apply what they're learning from me or anyone else?

65% of sales managers have Non-Supportive Buy-Cycles.  This means that they make their major purchases in a way that will not support ideal sales outcomes.  It could be that they look for the lowest price, comparison shop, think things over, think a relatively small amount of money is a lot of money, they do research, or some combination of those things.  If that's the case, and a salesperson comes back with a put-off, objection or excuse, the sales manager won't be any more effective coaching the salesperson than the salesperson was dealing with it with the prospect.

55% of sales managers become emotional. They're talking to themselves or thinking too much and as a result, their listening skills won't be optimal.  If they attempt a role-play to demonstrate the coaching strategy, they might jump ahead instead of doing a slow, consultative role-play, following up answers with appropriate new questions to ask.

Those aren't the only factors.  Two more come from the category Will to Manage Sales.

Sales Management Competency

Percentage with Competency as
a Weakness 

Commitment 23%
Takes Responsibility 55%
Coaching 90%

23% of sales managers lack Commitment, suggesting that they won't do what it takes when that is outside of their comfort zone.

55% of sales managers are Excuse Makers and when they rationalize why coaching won't change anything, why some salespeople can't be coached, why coaching them the way I recommend won't work, nothing will change.  Excuse making must be snuffed out from the top down.

The five competencies we discussed above don't even take into consideration the actual Coaching Competency shown above.  Unfortunately, 90% of sales managers are weak in the coaching competency.

When you put all of this together, it's easy to understand why some sales managers struggle so much when it comes to coaching.

I can help!  Each year I host the top-rated Sales Leadership Intensive where, for two long days, we help sales managers develop their ability to consistently and effectively coach up their salespeople.  As of this writing we had around 5 seats left for March 19-20 so if you can make it I promise it will be life-changing. This is the best coaching-specific training you will get anywhere!  You can learn more here

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, sales management competencies, OMG Assessment

Top 13 Requirements to Help You Soar as a Sales Manager

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jan 17, 2019 @ 12:01 PM

top-13-requirements

In my last article I shared the top 8 requirements for becoming a great salesperson.  Wow, did that resonate with people and there was a great discussion about it on LinkedIn.  In addition to that, I received a number of emails asking, what are the requirements for becoming a great sales manager?

I'll share those in a moment but first, since they were so popular, a few more "do you remember the first time" questions:

Do you remember your first cell phone that didn't need to be plugged into a roof-mounted antenna or, a little later, the first cordless phones for your home?  Do you remember the first car that allowed you to use Bluetooth instead of holding the handset?

Do you remember your first "portable" computer?  For most people it was a laptop but mine was a Kaypro CP/M based transportable computer that weighed about 15 pounds circa 1984 which I replaced with a Panasonic laptop, with 20 MB of storage circa 1987.

Now for sales management.  Do you remember the first time you coached a salesperson and they told you how helpful your coaching was? Do you remember the first time they asked how soon they could come back for more coaching?  Do you remember when all of your salespeople felt the same way about your coaching?  Do you remember the first time you coached a salesperson on an opportunity they were unlikely to win and they won it because of your coaching?  Do you remember how the rush from coaching a salesperson to a win was greater than the rush you used to get from your own wins?

Of course you don't.  92% of sales managers simply aren't that far along yet.  After all, it's been less than a decade since it became fashionable for sales managers to spend at least 50% of their time on coaching.  For comparison, consultative selling was introduced in the 1960's, was mainstreamed in the 1980's, and is the foundation of most sales training being delivered today. Despite that, only 17% of all salespeople have the consultative selling competency as a strength.  See OMG's statistics for all 21 Sales Core Competencies.

What are the 8 most important requirements for being a great sales manager?

You might be surprised but they are the exact same 8 that I shared for salespeople because you can't become a great coach of salespeople without those 8.  Sure, coaching requires some additional skills but if you can execute on the 8 already listed, you can learn to become a great sales coach.

What else do you need?  Here is my bonus list of 5 additional requirements to become great at coaching salespeople:

  1. Post-Call Debrief - this is a structured debriefing of a call or meeting that has already taken place with the goal of determining why it ended the way it did, which skill gap was was involved, and what in the salesperson's Sales DNA might have caused the skill gap.  This is followed by lessons learned and an action plan
  2. Pre-Call Strategy - this is a structured discussion of an upcoming call or meeting where the salesperson must identify goals for the call, desired outcomes, potential challenges, how those challenges will be addressed, and share how that conversation will sound.
  3. Joint Sales Calls - where the sales manager observes the salesperson and provides real-time feedback.  
  4. Role-play - this is the scariest and most difficult part of coaching and without a willingness to jump and and play any scenario in any stage of the pipeline with any level of decision maker against any competition with any objections is key.  Read more about my thoughts on role-playing.
  5. Patience - Development occurs one day at a time.  You can't and won't coach your salespeople up overnight.  But you should be able to make them incrementally better each and every time you coach them.

So if you're not in the top 8% of sales managers who excel at these 5 bonus requirements, how can you develop mastery of them?

Each year, I open the door to non-clients so that sales leaders like you can attend my top-rated Sales Leadership Intensive.  We spend the better part of 2 days on the 5 bonus requirements listed above.  You will learn how to coach effectively.  You will learn how to coach with impact.  You will do some coaching while you're with us and receive constructive feedback on your efforts.  When you return to your office, you will be able to coach up your salespeople and can expect a 27% increase in revenue!  The secret to our success?  We teach you how to use role play as the primary method of demonstrating the conversation you expect your salespeople to have. We accomplish that by sharing 8case studies - powerful, recorded, real coaching conversations that we dissect, discuss, model and use those to help you develop mastery. If you would like to join us on March 19-20, outside of Boston, there are only 10 seats left as of this writing. You can learn more here.  If you wish to register, use the discount code DKSLIMAY17 at checkout to receive a $100 discount or follow this link to automatically apply the discount code.

Add your comment and join the discussion on LinkedIn.

Watch Selling Power publisher Gerhard Gschwandtner interview me about coaching in this 7-minute video.

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, sales competenices, sales management training, sales leadership training, sales best practices, sales management competencies

How Getting Feedback and Making Adjustments are the Keys to Sales Improvement

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Dec 04, 2018 @ 22:12 PM

feedback

Becoming great at selling - or anything else for that matter - is about making adjustments. In order to make an adjustment you need feedback - something you see, hear or feel that informs your ability to adjust.  Take Baseball for example.  When I watch my son hit he receives instant feedback from every swing of the bat.  He usually crushes the ball and that suggests that no adjustment is needed.  If he tops the ball or pops it up it is probably an issue with timing.  If he peels the ball to the right, he probably opened his front shoulder too early. If he squares the ball up but doesn't drive it he probably failed to use his legs. He also has 5 private coaches who coach him or, in other words, provide feedback. 

That brings us back to selling.  Salespeople need feedback too.

Suppose a salesperson completes a sales call and the prospect says, "Thank you for your time" or "It was nice meeting you" or "We'll let you know."  Those are examples of lack of feedback.

What would it sound like if they did get feedback?  A prospect who is not responding or reacting might be providing tremendous feedback.  While it is surely negative feedback, it is very useful feedback.  It suggests that the salesperson failed to get the prospect engaged and the required adjustment would be to ask more effective questions. 

An engaged prospect is also a form of feedback, suggesting that the questions were effective and the prospect is interested.  A prospect who says, "We're not interested" is providing feedback too.  Again, it's negative feedback but a salesperson can work with that.  The adjustment requires changing the questions that are being asked.  A prospect who is very interested is also providing feedback - that the salesperson got close but isn't quite there yet.  Perhaps some additional questions are required.  A prospect who asks, "What are the next steps?" is providing feedback that they are ready to do business and the salesperson was effective in their call or meeting.

The feedback above is positive.  Compare that with a meeting that you think went well because you had a nice conversation.  If you didn't get specific positive feedback, then there aren't any positives to take away from that meeting.  For example, in the last 3 months my son has been showcasing his baseball talent at colleges.In the first 4 showcases he didn't get any specific feedback.  No feedback is negative feedback. In the 4 most recent events, coaches have taken time to tell him how much they liked his skills and how well he performed.  Positive feedback.  

Another powerful form of feedback happens when salespeople record their phone calls and listen to the recordings.  They'll hear several coaching moments as they identify openings where they could have asked great questions, where they failed to listen, where they jumped ahead with their own agenda,  or where they simply said stuff that sounded stupid.  Salespeople tend to respond more effectively to self-identified coaching moments because they own those moments.

This is an example of a salesperson getting coached (feedback) by me.  It's 26 minutes but it will be 26 minutes of coaching that you will definitely learn from and will be well worth your time.

Only 10% of all sales managers are both consistent and effective with their coaching.  For salespeople who wish to improve and become great, most of them will need to accomplish some or all of that work on their own, either by recording calls, signing up for training or getting a sales coach.

Salespeople will go through several transitions if they pay attention to feedback: 

  • They aren't very good.
  • They are just like everyone else
  • They are a vendor
  • They are adding value
  • They are a resource
  • They are a trusted advisor

What is your feedback on article?  Join the discussion and leave your comment here on LinkedIn.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Baseline Selling, Sales Coaching, Baseball, debriefing sales calls

Golden Nuggets from the CSO Insights 2018 Sales Talent Study

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Oct 24, 2018 @ 20:10 PM

gold-nuggets

I had a chance to review the CSO Insights 2018 Sales Talent Study and extracted some fascinating data.  I thought it might be interesting to take their data, overlay some of Objective Management Group's (OMG) data, and see what we can take away from that.

Tick-Tock.  The report reveals that open sales positions remain so for an average of nearly 4 months and 9 months pass before a new hire achieves full productivity.  That's over a year!  This particular finding is a moving target and somewhat reflective of the relatively small number of proactive sales candidates and far smaller percentage of good ones.  The report shows that only 22.6% of organizations believe that hiring is an organizational strength, so this recruiting performance shouldn't surprise anyone.  OMG has a finding called FIOF (Figure it out Factor) which correlates to how quickly a candidate will ramp up to speed. Candidates who come up to speed more quickly than typical sales candidates score 75 or better and only 25% of all candidates have this as a strength.   

Not Nutritional.  Western diets are notorious for their inclusion of unhealthy, unnecessary, processed, fatty food instead of healthy whole foods.  Similarly, companies listed sales requirements for new salespeople that were filled with unnecessary requirements (ie., business degree from a university, college degree of any kind, STEM degree, industry sales experience, emotional intelligence, etc.) instead of strong and broad capabilities in the 21 Sales Core Competencies.  This suggests that companies still lack a basic understanding of what causes salespeople to succeed.

Tooling.   An equal number of companies use candidate assessments as those who don't.  However, those who do use assessments have 61% quota attainment and 14.6% attrition, versus 49% quota attainment and 19.8% attrition for those who don't use assessments.  Companies that use assessments are 25% more successful at quota achievement and that data is not even for any particular assessment.  Imagine how much better the results are for the companies that use OMG's accurate and predictive sales-specific candidate assessments. Data from companies who have hired salespeople that were recommended by OMG shows an attrition rate of only 8% and quota attainment of 88%.  

Put Me in Coach.  Just 10% of the companies said that coaching was a strength.  That jives pretty well with OMG's data from its evaluations of more than 25,000 sales forces.  Only 10% of all Sales Managers have the Sales Coaching competency as a strength but most of that group are in the top 20% of all sales managers.

Two-Step.  38% of companies reported that they have a sales process.  Respondents appeared to be overly optimistic as OMG's data shows that only 27% of companies actually have a formal, structured sales process.

Right Down the Pipe.  20% claimed that pipeline management is a strength at their company but that claim is even more optimistic than the dance above.  Remember, their report is built from a survey so it's vulnerable to optimistic misstatements.  OMG's sales force evaluation data reveals that the actual number is 8%!

In conclusion, I'm still disappointed that these numbers aren't improving more quickly.  I believe that there are several reasons for this, but my top 3 are:

  • Too many sales leaders have large egos that don't allow them to ask for or receive help, believing that they and they alone are responsible for, and capable of moving the needle
  • The C Suite often delegates responsibility for change but change won't occur until the commitment to change is demonstrated to the sales organization from those at the very top of the company
  • Many companies are well intentioned about change but don't always make the best choices and don't always see those choices through.  Exhibit #1 is CRM.  My observation of CRM selection, installation, training, customization, integration, acceptance, and adoption is that it has been nothing short of an industry-wide cluster fuck.  Please excuse my language.

Of course there are more reasons than these 3 but most of them, when looked at objectively, can be traced back to these three.  For example, we can consider the people, coaching, training, strategy, systems, processes, expectations, accountability, motivation, culture, and more, but as soon as you seek the cause we must look to the original three reasons.

In the end, it's not usually an unwillingness to spend money to improve sales selection, provide the right tools, hire the right sales leaders, consultants and trainers.  It's the lack of unconditional commitment to get it right.

Join the LinkedIn discussion of this article.

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales process, sales recruiting, Sales Coaching, sales pipeline, sales opportunities, cso insights, sales recruiting failure

How to Achieve Short-Term Explosive Growth from your Sales Team

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Sep 14, 2018 @ 10:09 AM

explosive-growth

Explosive Growth.  Positive Momentum.  Better Morale. Greater Confidence. Improved Capabilities.

Wouldn't you just love using those phrases to describe your sales force?

We know from the data in this article that according to Objective Management Group (OMG), sales managers who spend at least 50% of their time coaching have salespeople who are 28% more effective.

We know from OMG's data in this article that sales managers who are effective at coaching have salespeople who are 16% more effective.

And we know from the same data that sales managers who spend at least 50% of their time coaching AND are effective at coaching have salespeople who are 49% more effective. 

That's 49% more effective!

So what would a 49% bump mean to you and your company and what will it take to get there?

For your coaching to have that kind of impact takes dedication and practice.  It's not easy.  But if you want to be recognized for the growth, impressive revenue bump, and subsequent increase in earnings, it is well worth the effort.

Let's work backwards.  Coaching is effective when salespeople consistently:

  • Rave that the coaching was incredibly helpful
  • Ask how soon they can be coached again
  • Respond by doing exactly what they were coached to do and getting a positive result
  • Discover at least 2 lessons learned from a coaching conversion
  • Grow the quantity and quality of their pipeline
  • Shorten their sales cycle
  • Improve their closing ratio

And you will become an effective sales coach when you are able to effortlessly:

  • Debrief recent sales calls by working your salespeople backwards through the call
  • Punch holes in the information your salespeople provide
  • Identify the two reasons (cause and effect) for each sales call that did not achieve the desired outcome.
  • Role-play any scenario, at any point in the sales process, playing the part of the salesperson
  • Provide your salespeople an appropriate plan of action to implement the lessons learned
  • Hold your salespeople accountable for the changes they agree to

Those are two good sets of guidelines but guidelines alone won't be enough to transition you from where you are today to where you need to be.  It's all about how to be more effective and you can't learn that from a list.

That's why so many sales leaders attend my annual Sales Leadership Intensive.  I usually offer that annually in the spring but we sold out with a waiting list in May so we are offering a fall session this year.

It's two intense days with me and my team.  At least half of those two days are devoted to mastering the art of coaching salespeople. This is not material you have ever heard or learned before.  You'll also leave with a sales process, appropriate metrics and keys to holding your salespeople accountable to change.  The session is limited to just 24 people and there are 15 seats available as of September 15. 

This. Will. Work.

Clear the dates - October 29-30.

Learn more here.

Use this special link to receive a 30% discount when you register.

The event will take place west of Boston at our training facilities in Westboro MA.  The best nearby hotel is the Doubletree Hotel just a mile down the road.  I hope you'll join us!

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, sales management training, sales leadership training, sales data

Finally!  Science Reveals the Actual Impact of Sales Coaching

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Sep 06, 2018 @ 22:09 PM

science

You must have heard the joke that 73.6% of statistics are made up!

I have read and even reported that sales leaders who coach their salespeople see a boost in revenue of around 27%.  It sounds like a realistic number but I have not seen any science to back it up.  Until now.  Check this out!

OMG has evaluated and assessed nearly 1.8 million salespeople and sales managers from 25,000 companies.  The data in the table below is from a subset of that data where we looked at around 16,000 salespeople who reported to approximately 4,000 sales managers.  The title row shows the percentage of time the sales managers devoted to coaching their salespeople and the 6 rows below that show the average scores for the salespeople that report to those managers.  Sales Percentile is the percentile that a salesperson scored in.  Sales DNA is an overall score for 6 of the 21 Sales Core Competencies that OMG measures.  Hunter, Consultative, Qualifier and Closer are 4 of the 7 Tactical selling competencies that OMG measures.  If you're interested, you can see all 21 Sales Core Competencies and how salespeople score by industry and skill here.

coaching-increase-sales

Do you remember that 27% number?  The first row reveals that sales managers who devote at least 50% of their time to coaching salespeople (last column on the right) have salespeople whose sales percentile score is 28% higher than those managers who devoted little to none of their time coaching.  How is that for science to back up somebody's incredibly accurate wild-ass guess?

There's another interesting find in this data.  Average scores for hunting were not further improved after a manager is devoting at least 20% of their time to coaching.  This suggests that sales managers who coach more don't spend their coaching time helping salespeople work on their prospecting skills.

Another interesting takeaway can be seen in the Consultative scores.  This competency shows the smallest gain in average score.  Given how difficult it is to effectively take the consultative approach, this suggests that despite coaching more often, those sales managers lack the consultative skills needed to coach their salespeople on the consultative approach.

If Consultative scores show the smallest gain, where can the biggest gains be found?  Qualifying and Closing.  Sales managers who devote at least 50% of their time to coaching have salespeople who score 13% better in Qualifying and 24% better in closing than the salespeople whose sales managers rarely coach.

This data was not filtered by coaching effectiveness so their was no assumption that the coaching was good coaching; only that there was coaching.  What would happen if in addition to the time these managers devote to coaching, they were also becoming more effective at coaching?  The answer is revealed in this article by John Pattison.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, Sales Coaching, sales improvement, sales core competencies, omg, Closing Sales, sales growth, sales qualification, sales data

Do the Best Sales Managers Have the Best Salespeople?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Aug 27, 2018 @ 17:08 PM

sales-team

We all see the effects that strong leaders have when they surround themselves with either strong, mediocre or weak people.  What happens when strong leaders inherit a mixed team?  What happens when they hire a mixed team?  What happens when we ask the same questions about weak leaders?

I dug into a subset of data from Objective Management Group's (OMG) evaluations of the salespeople who report to more than 15,000 sales managers to determine whether the best sales managers actually have the best salespeople.  I was surprised and disappointed by what I found.  Check this out!

In the first table, you'll notice that salespeople reporting to elite sales managers are 14% stronger overall than those who report to weak sales managers.  That's good, but why isn't there a larger gap?  I'll answer that question shortly.

mgrs-to-sp-comparison

The second table clearly shows that strong sales managers have 25% more elite and strong salespeople reporting to them than elite sales managers. How can that be explained? And the relatively small gap from the first table?

mgrs-w-elite-spI have a simple explanation that you may or may not agree with.  Elite sales managers have so much confidence in their abilities, that they refuse to give up on mediocre salespeople.  They believe that given enough time they can coach everyone up.  Along the same line of thinking, elite sales managers also tend to believe that they don't have to hire A players because as long as the salespeople they select have a great personality and industry knowledge, they believe they can train and coach them to become strong performers. Because of that, elite sales managers tend to take shortcuts at hiring time as evidenced by their lower scores for recruiting.  Without a doubt, they should be using an accurate and predictive sales-specific candidate assessment like OMG's award-winning tool.

While the best sales managers do tend to have better salespeople, the contrast is not nearly as sharp as most of us would expect it to be, but explains why leaders don't understand when strong sales manager's teams are not significantly more effective than weak sales manager's teams.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, Sales Coaching, sales performance, hunting, sales effectiveness, objective management group

Latest Data - Strong Salespeople Score 375% Better Than Weak Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 18, 2018 @ 08:07 AM

bryce-harper3

Some of you might have seen Bryce Harper's incredible last-minute barrage of home runs in the 2018 All-Star game. It's one of the highlights of summer!  Today I give you a barrage of my own with three killer videos and a powerful data-packed article.  

All 3 videos and the article use data from Objective Management Group's (OMG) evaluation and assessments of salespeople.  You can see some of the actual data for yourself.

First up, this article that I wrote for Selling Power, has data that shows how strong salespeople score 375% better than weak salespeople in the 21 Sales Core Competencies.  Join the discussion of this data on LinkedIn.

Second in my barrage, the video below explains why the need to be liked is such a serious handicap in sales.

 

 

Third in my barrage, this video explains why 80% of salespeople aren't getting to decision makers and what to do about it.

 

 

Finally, my barrage ends with this video explaining why most sales managers aren't effective at coaching.

 

 Photo via Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports Images

Read more at: https://nesn.com/2018/07/did-bryce-harper-cheat-to-win-2018-home-run-derby-cubs-fans-think-so/

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, reaching decision makers, need to be liked, sales data

New Data - Are Experienced Sales Managers Better Sales Managers?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 @ 06:06 AM

best-worst-sm-image

Last week I wrote a revealing article which showed that Sales Managers are even worse than I thought when it comes to coaching their salespeople.  That article stimulated this great conversation on LinkedIn

Following that article I dug further into the same 9,000 rows of data to look at the role that tenure and experience have on sales management effectiveness. Who do you think are more effective - newer or more experienced sales managers?

I looked at four of the twenty-one sales management competencies:

  • Coaching
  • Motivating
  • Accountability
  • Pipeline Management

My goal was to see if there was any correlation between their tenure and/or experience and their sales management effectiveness.  Please review the table below where the average scores in 4 sales management core competencies can be seen for various levels of experience, along with averages for the those 4 competencies and a weighted average.

best-worst-sales-managers

It's clear from the average scores that experienced sales managers are only marginally better than inexperienced sales managers in 3 of the 4 competencies, faring worse only in Motivating.  However, those scores change dramatically when we look beyond sales management experience.  

If we look at sales managers who also have been with the same company and in the same industry for at least 25 years, you'll see that the scores are 20% worse than for sales managers with similar sales management experience who were with different companies and in different industries during those 25 years.  Those with 253 experience grew up in those companies/industries, were risk averse, and by not leaving/moving, were not exposed to new/better practices.  As a result, they have simply repeated what they were taught by their ineffective sales managers from 2-3 decades ago.

Compare that with new sales managers who are also new to their companies and new to their industries. Despite having at least 20 fewer years of experience and little in the way of legacy knowledge as a foundation, they average 13% higher scores than those with so much more experience.  In fact, column 2 shows that all newer sales managers, regardless of company tenure or industry experience, fare better than all veteran sales managers in column 3.

Finally, average scores can be deceiving and as we all know, coaching is the most important of the competencies.  In the last row, we used a weighted coaching score worth double the coaching points and the overall scores still showed that veteran sales managers who experienced multiple companies and industries were stronger overall than any other group.

What happens if we look at the same data using Sales Management Quotient to differentiate?

best-worst-sm-smq

Interestingly, the largest concentration of elite sales managers is in the same group - those with 25+ years of sales management experience who did not stay with the same company or industry.  Those who grew up in just 1 company clearly have the smallest representation in the elite category with just 1%.  The reverse is true as well.  The experienced sales managers who moved around have the smallest percentage of weak sales managers while those who stayed with one company have more than double the percentage of weak sales managers.

When it comes to sales management capabilities, the amount of experience can be a negative if the kind of experience that makes a difference.

As a whole, these findings also serve to validate a reason that companies look to experts OUTSIDE of their own industry for help.  Sales experts with experience in multiple industries bring far more innovation, best practices and practicality to their consulting, training and coaching.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, sales management effectiveness, sales management function

The Latest Data Shows That Sales Managers Are Even Worse Than I Thought

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 18, 2018 @ 06:06 AM

bad-stats

When you watch the news these days, it seems like all you hear is Russia, Immigration, North Korea, FBI, DOJ, liars and leakers, and the latest celebrities to be disgraced by their behavior.  You would think there wasn't anything else going on!

You might be having a similar experience with my recent articles as I have been sharing lots of data about salespeople - to the degree where you might think that nothing else matters.

Today we're diving into sales management and specifically, the Sales Management Coaching Competency. What you read will surely disappoint and shock you and might even cause you to puke in disgust.

Many sales experts have been talking about how important it is for sales managers to not only spend 50% of their time coaching, but for that coaching to be impactful as well.  Sales managers should be coaching to opportunities, and coaching on strategy, tactics, and pipeline.  They should be coaching up their salespeople and they need to be great at it.  But is any of this actually taking place?  Let's take a look.

We'll be digging intoObjective Management Group's (OMG) data from the evaluation of nearly 1.8 million salespeople, sales managers and sales leaders.  For this study, I have mined the data from the most recent 9,000 sales managers to be evaluated along with their teams.

The first table shows the percentage of sales managers who are strong in the Sales Coaching Competency arranged by Sales Management Quotient.

coaching-as-strength

I'm sure you can easily see for yourself that outside of the top 3 percent of all sales managers, expecting sales managers to be effective at sales coaching is pretty much a pipe dream.  Only 10 percent of all sales managers are any good at coaching and most of them come from the strongest 15 percent.

Does it get any better when you look at the frequency of coaching? According to the salespeople who report to these sales managers, the majority of the coaching that takes place is on demand.  The next table shows that when salespeople don't ask for help, few sales managers proactively provide frequent coaching with "never" being the third most common scenario following on demand.  Only 10 percent are getting the daily or multiple times per week coaching we would hope for.  Could that 10 percent be reporting to the 10 percent of managers who are good at coaching?

coaching-frequency

We asked these sales managers how much time they spend on coaching and the next table shows just how grim the coaching situation really is. Read this table from the bottom right and up where you can see that 63% of all sales managers fall into the weak category and slightly more than half of those managers are spending no more than 10% of their time coaching.

coaching-time-spent

24% of all sales managers fall into the serviceable category and 70% of them are spending no more than 20% of their time coaching.  Of the remaining 13% (elite and strong) of all sales managers, just under half are spending no more than 30% of their time coaching. 

After all the preaching, teaching and beseeching, not much has changed in 10 years.  Sales managers aren't spending nearly enough time coaching their salespeople and when they do, the coaching is pathetic.  I recorded this 2-minute video to share my thoughts about the practical reality of widespread lousy sales management.

 

There are a several reasons for this:

  • Many of these sales managers maintain personal sales and their commissions far outweigh their sales management compensation and they don't have the time nor do they want to make the time for coaching.
  • They think that coaching is what happens when they do a ride along or listen in on a phone call.
  • They think that telling a salesperson what to do, helping with pricing or specs, or asking how a call went is coaching
  • They aren't able to execute the single most important and effective element of sales coaching - the role play.

There is an important discussion taking place here on LinkedIn on this article and in the comments, Barbara Giamanco suggested adding three additional reasons to the list:

  • Managers are not given training in how to coach. Since they don't know how to effectively coach they either - don't do it, or do it badly. Plus, it is highly likely that they aren't being coached by their boss either.
  • There isn't a coaching culture that provides the foundation for giving managers the time needed to invest in coaching well and often. In other words, senior leadership doesn't buy into the importance of coaching.
  • The managers themselves don't see the value, so they don't do it.  Like so many things we see in sales today that haven't changed, people seem to keep defaulting to what they've always done even if it isn't working.

Join the discussion of this article on LinkedIn.  There were more than 85 comments when I added this link.

More!  I've written a lot about effective coaching.  Here are five of the best articles:

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, omg, sales management competencies, sales data

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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