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

Disagreement Over Sales Leadership Best Practices?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 @ 10:07 AM

disagreementI read this recent article from the Harvard Business Review Blog about CEO's and the need for them to get serious about Sales.  Then there was this question from Focus.com wanting to know how to deal with a negative sales rep.

The article and the question are both quite benign.  My frustration is with the comments, where both the best and worst that social media has to offer grows.  Everyone becomes Rush Limbaugh - an expert in their own opinions - and many of those opinions are flat out wrong.  It's not just with the two examples above, it's with nearly every question that gets asked on LinkedIn.com, Focus.com, Task.fm, and other sites where, in many cases, the subject matter experts are the ones initiating the questions just to call attention to themselves.  And when sales leaders initiate the questions, how do they differentiate best practices from stupid practices?  

The problem is that they can't!  If they knew the best approach, they wouldn't ask the question in the first place.  And because they don't know the best approach, they align themselves with the answer that makes them feel the most comfortable - not necessarily the answer that provides the best results.

Experts don't always agree on best practices for the sales force.  Some don't have best practice success in multiple industries/markets.  Others lack expertise in all discliplines of optimizing a sales force.  Others are one-trick ponies - their expertise is limited to a single discipline. Other experts are laid-off or retired sales & marketing executives.  To whom should you listen?  Whose Blog should you read?  Whom should you believe?  Whom should you hire to help?

There are so many sites to visit for content.  I suggest that you use those sites as a means to identify experts who make you think, consistently provide good, solid, relevant, applicable, advice, and then follow them on their own blogs.  

When it comes to Sales Leadership Best Practices, here are two opportunities which could help:

Sales & Marketing Management

I presented the 5 Sales Management Best Practices for this Sales & Marketing Management Webinar.  Click here to view/listen to the archive.

Sales Leadership TrainingIf you want something a more comprehensive than a one-hour Webinar, join me in October for my renowned Sales Leadership Intensive - two days of comprehensive, interactive, entertaining, applicable, non-stop, unforgettable leadership training.  Click here to learn more and if you would like to attend, email me directly and I'll get you special pricing.

Topics: sales culture, Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales leadership, HBR, best practices

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight 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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