The world has changed in countless ways since early 2020, and that means sales coaching has to adapt. How do you maintain a strong coaching regimen with salespeople who are spending some or all of their working day out of the office?
Onboarding sales talent has never been more important, given the tightness of the current labor market. Yet the most effective, proven best practices for shortening the runway to success for new hires remain largely unknown and unimplemented.
Long before the pandemic transformed most of our workplaces, I was happy to work full-time as a remote employee. I’ve been one of those lucky people who didn’t really have to change all that much to adapt to the monumental changes that began to unfold in early 2020.
One of the main goals of an L&D strategy is to improve employees’ performance. Your training sessions must result in a motivated and resourceful staff, one able to close more sales. But how do you create a strategy that actually improves employee’s performance?
Many of you reading this article right now have a team (or teams) of people that report to you in some form or another. As you think about those people, your time spent leading them, managing them, coaching them, developing them, working with them, and yes… all of the other things you have to do as part of your roles or responsibilities, it doesn’t leave much time to add on a thorough accountability process to that list… or does it?
As a sales leader, you're measured by your team’s performance. Ultimately, you're judged based on their ability to generate revenues sufficient to meet or exceed your corporate goals. So no matter how good you may have once been as a seller, it’s important to understand that selling is not your job now … and you can't expect to generate enough revenue to meet your team’s quotas simply by acting as a player-coach.
Holding salespeople accountable: This is one of the major challenges of managing a sales team – regardless of whether it’s a traditional team where people show up for work at a central physical location, or a team working remotely, or a team at a call center. What, exactly, is the best way to do this? And how do you do it without falling into the trap of micromanaging people?
I remember taking a parenting class when my boys were young. The big takeaways from the class were the requirement to tell your child what the consequences of their behavior would be and to be clear on what you expected from them. I recall my boys’ mother and me saying to each other on numerous occasions, “We can’t get mad at them if we weren’t clear with our expectations.” Sometimes, the principle sounded like this: “Don’t punish them if you didn’t tell them they would be punished.”
Often, we’re frightened when we come to terms with a problem that has grown out of proportion and seems dangerous. As these problems manifest, we become more and more aware of the intricacies that have created it. The hardest truth to face when it comes to challenges that build up overtime is that they are typically products of our own creation. Often, built out of a lack of perspective to our own coded responses that come from the autopilot of repeated behavior.
Of all the sales leaders we work with, we consistently hear the same adage: “I need to hold my salespeople accountable.” That's fine in theory, but the question that sales leaders must ask themselves first is, “What exactly am I holding them accountable to?”
The aggressive, sustainable growth so many company leaders seek, but few can actually point to, lies in moving yourself and your organization into a growth-driven sales culture. The following three steps are essential preliminaries to that shift.
One of the things I talk about often with sales leaders who are eager to maximize their team’s performance is the principle of reinforcement. All too often, we think of training for salespeople as a one-and-done initiative, as something we can check off a list once the "training" event is over and consider finished. Actually, the training we have invested in is next to worthless if it is not reinforced over time, incorporated as a personal priority, and made an ongoing topic for discussion within a personalized sales coaching plan. Reinforcement is thus one of the neglected secrets of effective sales leadership.
Very often, managers who lead sales teams find themselves saying something like the following: “I have told them how to do X a hundred times, and it never seems to stick. I just don’t know what their problem is.” Or these managers may find themselves thinking, “Maybe I just hired the wrong person.” At such a moment, it makes sense to ask: Is the problem really with “them?” Or could at least part of the problem be with us?
Trials and demos can be an important part of your sales cycle, especially in the enterprise space. Another term for a trial or demo, is the “Monkey’s Paw,” which is a small version of your larger service or a consulting project. A successful Monkey’s Paw has three components, which are similar to a successful trial.
As sales leaders, we need to accept that we will ultimately be judged on our ability to hire and retain people who are both willing and able to do the job of selling. If either of those elements is missing in a sales hire that happens on our watch, we’re not doing our job.
Many managers are surprised to hear us suggest that it’s important to meet one-on-one with every salesperson on staff at least every other week. Some even say it’s impossible! But it’s not. If you keep the meetings brief ... if you think of these interactions as check-ins rather than as opportunities to “fix” people …
I’m often asked to identify a single “blind spot” that keeps leaders from growing their businesses aggressively. There are actually a number of these … but one that’s particularly common is the failure to collect best practices and assemble them in a regularly updated “playbook.”
There’s a tendency on the part of some managers to expect their new sales hires to “hit the ground running.” Often, managers justify this expectation by telling themselves that they only hire “self-starters.” Both of these assumptions are part of an ineffective hire-and-forget approach, one that can and should be remedied by a solid onboarding plan that’s based on a series of monthly one-on-one coaching conversations.
In addition to following the basic principles of not presenting too early and ensuring that the presentation is delivered as one component of an effective professional sales process, there are four steps sales professionals can follow to ensure more effective presentations.
There is much research proving that proper sales coaching can lift your sales 20% or more. Not only does coaching increase revenues, it also builds a culture of self-sufficiency, growth, and retention.
As the end of the year is approaching, sales professionals in every industry are eager to lay a solid foundation for success in 2019. One of the most common business-related New Year’s resolutions among managers is this one: “I will hold more one-on-one coaching sessions with the members of my team this year.” It’s fine as far as it goes … but is it enough?
Jim Marshall, a long-time Sandler trainer from Florida, joins the podcast to talk about how first-time managers can be successful at coaching their direct reports. Learn the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques of great leaders, and learn how to incorporate them into your new management position.
Learn how to be an effective manager, by learning how to coach and train. Tom Niesen and Dave Mattson, two very experienced coaches and trainers talk about what it takes to improve your team's performance through coaching and training.
You and your team worked hard to land a new account and the prospect went with someone else. What now? If you’re at a loss for what to do next, below are five actionable items that you can implement with your team.
As a sales coach, you need to benchmark the performance of each behavior to determine whether they are performed at acceptable levels or not. It is important to utilize a scale rating behavior with a 1 to 10 performance rating. This scale will allow you develop standards not only for each individual but across your team.
There is no one-size-fits-all sales coaching model. There are only approaches that have been shown to be successful in particular situations. Acting as a coach, the manager must identify each salesperson’s personal “success code” – and use that code to unlock the salesperson’s potential for success.
There is no one-size-fits-all model for developing salespeople! Every member of the sales team has an individual “success code” imbedded in them, and the effective manager must dial into it in order to unlock their true potential. Once selling skills and sales process have been taught and behavior expectations are established, the manager’s focus must be on raising the performance bar with an effective sales coaching methodology.
Sandler Training released a new public and free podcast last week called, “How to Succeed.” It is an inside look at the attitudes, behavior, and techniques necessary to succeed at anything. Host, Mike Montague interviews Sandler trainers, authors, and experts about how to succeed at absolutely anything. You will learn how to get to the top and stay there!
As the first quarter comes to an end, it’s appropriate to review your department goals and measure your progress. Will your sales team hit the quarterly benchmarks for your department’s strategic initiatives? Have they made significant headway? Or, have they fallen behind already?
Many seasoned sales managers today are facing a common challenge: how to lead, motivate, and inspire young Millennials on their sales teams. This generation, which will make up roughly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2020 and 75 percent of the workforce in 2030, has already garnered a reputation for being difficult to manage by traditional standards.
Managing a team of sales reps with various motivations and egos is no easy feat. And if you're a sales manger, you know that it can be a complicated and sometimes challenging role that requires a number of management skills to be successful. At Sandler Training, we've discovered that highly effective sales managers possess a set of skills and characteristics that make them stand out from the rest.
So how do some sales managers continually lead successful and goal-oriented sales teams while others repeatedly hit roadblocks and obstacles
As a manager, executive or owner, the only valuable you possess is your time. To successfully manage your time and grow your business, ask yourself the following question daily: "Does 'it' advance my business?" ("It," being whatever activity you are doing or about to start.)
Let's take a look at several examples, which might resonate with you.
Activity – Understanding your direct reports' personal goals
Does it advance my business? Absolutely
Wednesday mornings are tough enough without our most annoying client calling in with the usual simple problem that he is over-reacting to. We sigh and answer the phone - all while making the facial gestures of a person eating oysters for the first time in their life.
WHY does that client seem to be determined to drive you insane?
It's your fault ...
Every morning the manager from the operations department stops in to tell you how your team messed up his operations this weekend. She is soooo abrasive. You answer in abrupt sentences and quite rudely push her out the door