When Sales Coaching, Best Practices and Books are Ignored

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, May 06, 2013 @ 06:05 AM

reinventingthewheelAt dinner on Saturday night, our guest, a friend who recently changed careers and now finds himself in the financial services world, mentioned that he isn't selling the way that the other successful brokers are doing it.  (He doesn't have any business either.)  He mentioned that he read my book, Baseline Selling, and said that he didn't find anything useful in there.  You've got to be kidding me!  Anyway, those 3 data points (not following best practices, no business, nothing useful there) would be quite useful to a sales manager who wanted to coach him up or hold him accountable for change.  While reinventing the wheel doesn't work, in his industry, it's simply a case of survival of the fittest.  Proactive coaching and accountability are rare and often mutually exclusive with first year salespeople.  As a matter of fact, one financial services sales management team found nothing of value in an entire two-day sales leadership event last year, while the other 45 attendees (from mixed industries) all provided testimonials saying it was the single best training event that they ever attended.  Like I always say, consider the source...

Without a doubt, the highlight of any Sales Management or Sales Leadership program is always the 6 hours we spend on coaching.  We look at coaching from 3 perspectives:

  1. Creating an environment where coaching can be successful - A terrific sales coach would fail if brought into an environment where:
    • people are resistant, 
    • they don't trust his intentions, 
    • they are disrespectful of her experience and expertise,
    • they haven't yet developed good relationships 
    • and more...
  2. The theory, logic and flow of effective coaching - There is absolutely a right way versus a wrong way; and an effective versus an ineffective approach to coaching salespeople and more importantly, coaching them up, to improve, to change.
  3. Examples, demonstrations, role-plays and discussion of effective coaching - This is the nitty gritty of the coaching time - 3 hours of real, live, recorded coaching with discussion - attendees listen, observe, question, challenge, emulate and master.  Then they have an opportunity to put it into practice prior to presenting their experience and settling in for 1 more hour of work on coaching.  I assembled a collage of coaching calls to give you a sense of what I'm talking about.  Think of this as the movie trailer or the introduction to a sporting event.  You don't get the entire scene or play, just a snippet before moving to another snippet.  Click here for a 3-minute preview.
Coaching is crucial to the success of any sales force; however, coaching without the context of an effective sales process, pipeline, metrics to drive revenue, motivation and accountability aren't enough.  So, our events integrate these additional elements to make for a well-rounded, comprehensive two days.
We have 4 seats remaining for our Sales Leadership Intensive in Boston next week (May 14-15, 2013) and if you or your sales leadership/management team want to make arrangements to attend, send me an email and we'll find a way to make it work on short notice.  Event details are here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales leadership, Sales Coaching, seminar, workshop, best practices, symposium

Sales Managers Must Make Sure That This Never Happens

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 @ 07:09 AM

truck in the mirrorYou are driving down the highway and see an enormous truck in your side mirror.  The truck is moving very fast - twice your speed - and closing in quickly.  You continue to look in the mirror and because of the way your side mirror is shaped, it appears that the closer the truck gets, the more likely it seems that the truck will simply run right over you.  You accelerate a little, keeping watch on that mirror and then it happens.  You miss the sharp bend in the road and drive off the cliff.

This short story is the real-world equivalent to something which often occurs with your salespeople.  There are new opportunities to be targeted, as well as opportunities which already populate the pipeline.  The most promising of the existing opportunities seem to get most of the salesperson's attention.  One particular call causes the salesperson to become so excited that she devotes the rest of the week to developing an appropriate solution, value proposition, ROI, proposal and presentation.  She is so focused on this opportunity that she forgets all about what is up ahead.  Post-presentation and proposal, she begins making follow-up calls and over the course of the next month goes into full-chase mode.  When it finally sinks in that this prospect is not returning calls, has gone missing, and won't be buying anything from her soon, it's too late.  She neglected to continue filling her pipeline, has neglected to line up new opportunities, not stayed in touch with other opportunities in her pipeline and drove off the cliff.

It happens all the time.

It's not the salesperson's fault.

That's what sales managers are supposed to be doing.  Sales Managers must not only help, but hold their salespeople accountable to being focused on the right activities and behaviors, at the right time, on the right opportunities, and for the right reasons.  They must also provide coaching on each opportunity so the salesperson can see what is in front of them and avoid falling off the cliff.

Last call for my Sales Leadership Intensive in Boston, October 3-4, when we will spend 2 days working on things like this together.  If you want to attend, skip the online registration and email me directly.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, coaching, sales management, sales leadership training, seminar, workshop, program, boston

Top 5 Keys to Effective Sales Coaching and Results

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 02, 2012 @ 09:05 AM

sales coaching effectivenessOne confusing component of effective sales management is that great sales management skills don't always translate into great sales results.  This phenomenon is most obvious when a company hires a terrific, new sales manager, who possesses all the desired skills, and the manager fails to have an immediate impact.  Worse, in many cases, is when the inherited salespeople rebel!  This scenario also occurs when sales managers go to seminars, watch video clips, read books or blogs, and attempt to extract specific skills and tips but don't have the luxury of hearing them demonstrated, in context, in a real situation.  When Objective Management Group conducts a sales force evaluation, we often see that sales managers' skills are much better than the resulting effectiveness of those skills.  Why is that?

Sales coaching is not a solo endeavor.  It's a lot like playing doubles in tennis.  You can take tennis lessons and improve, but unless your tennis partner has been taking lessons and practicing along with you, your personal development won't translate into more victories, as opponents quickly realize that they can simply force the ball to your weaker partner.

Let's assume that you have plus sales coaching skills.  You know how long you should coach, how frequently you should coach, what subject to coach on, how to expertly debrief, role-play and identify the specific cause of an outcome, and get to lessons learned and action steps.  You can effectively strategize an upcoming sales call and you can coach right in the middle of a live sales call without ever taking over the call.  You're a master.

Now let's take that mastery to your sales force and consider these five factors:

  1. The strength of your relationship with each salesperson; 
  2. If they trust your intentions and if you trust them to follow through;
  3. If they respect you and your experience or you lack credibility with them;
  4. If your salespeople are open, coachable or resistant to your efforts to help; and
  5. If you pressure them, micro-manage them, or often ignore them.

Your collection of sales coaching skills is only one factor.  Consider the matrix below where one's effectiveness and overall impact is in direct proportion to the five factors listed above.  The score indicates how effective a sales manager will be, depending on their level sales coaching proficiency and the conditions of their sales environment:

Sales Coaching
Skills
(0-5 scale)
5 Strong
Factors
4 Strong
Factors
3 Strong
Factors
2 Strong 
Factors
1 Strong 
Factors 
0 Strong 
Factors 
 5  100%  80%  60%  40%  20%  0%
 4  80%  64%  48%  32%  16%  0%
 3  60%  48%  36%  24%  12%  0%
 2  40%  32%  24%  16%  8%  0%
 1  20% 16%  12%  8%  4%  0%
 0   0%  0%  0%  0%  0%  0%
Table 1.0 Overall Effectiveness

We will be showing managers how to shape their sales environment at next week's Sales Leadership Intensive in Boston.  This is the last week to register!  We'll also demonstrate how to master the art of coaching salespeople.  Hope to see you there.  Email me if you would like to attend.

 

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, sales management training, sales leadership effectiveness, sales management effectiveness, seminar, workshop, program

Subscribe via Email

View All 1,700 Articles

About Dave

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 and this one for 2017. Read more about Dave.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile

Subscribe 

Receive new articles via email
Subscribe
 to the Blog on your Kindle 

 

 

Most Recent Articles

Awards

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

MVP2018_badge_winner_SPC

Leaading Sales Consultants 2018

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2017 - Article/Post - Gold
 Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2017 - Assessment Tool - Gold

 2016 Top Sales & Marketing Individual Blog - Bronze

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 -  Bronze - Thought Leader

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Podcast - Gold

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Webinar - Gold

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 - Bronze - eBook/White Paper

2018 Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blogs Widget

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

Top100Strategic

Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter



Hubspot Top 25 Blogs

 

Free Tools

Sales Process Grader

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Sales Ghost Calculator

Sales Force Grader

Sales Hiring Mistake Calculator

FREE Recruiting Process Grader