Category Archives: Sales Coaching

June 7th, 2016

You Have a Sales Process. Now Use it.

sales-process-high-impact

If your organization has an established sales process, congratulations. According to “Companies with a Formal Sales Process Generate More Revenue,” published in the January 2015 issue of Harvard Business Review, such B2B companies generally saw an 18% boost in revenues by using their planned processes.

The two keys here are 1) to have a credible process and 2) to use it. The best way to make sure sales reps are using the process – and using it effectively – is through coaching conversations between sales managers and their teams.

As the HBR article also reported, companies that spent at least three hours per month managing each sales rep’s pipeline performance saw 11% greater revenue than those spending less time.

Further, how those three hours were spent was equally important. “The primary focus of a pipeline meeting should be to help reps develop a game plan to move deals forward, not just scrubbing CRM data and forecasting revenue,” say authors Jason Jordan and Robert Kelly.

At Richardson, we call this “pipeline coaching.” This term is part of the common language we advocate for sales teams in order to keep everyone on the same page. Simply put, pipeline coaching involves a conversation between sales manager and rep that focuses on deals in the works.

High-impact coaching questions help managers confirm that their reps have the level of skills and knowledge needed to achieve verifiable outcomes at every stage in » Continue Reading.

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April 26th, 2016

Bring structure to your sales coaching calls

sales-call-structure-meetings

In my previous blog post, Do you Intend to Provide Developmental Sales Coaching, but Tend not to, I explored the environment today’s sales leaders encounter when attempting to deliver developmental sales coaching. Despite their best intentions, time pressed sales leaders are pulled in so many directions that talent development gets put on the back burner. Bringing structure to dedicated coaching interactions is a proven way to build positive outcomes in people and results. Without structure and planning, sales leaders often mail it in, missing real opportunities to move their people to the next level of success.  Avoid this common pitfall by structuring sales coaching calls and each interaction around a guiding plan to bring consistency to the conversation, and ultimately results.

My approach is to organize coaching content into “buckets” that are consistent for everyone. When thinking through what I want to accomplish with a salesperson I am coaching, I typically build my planned dialogues in 3 buckets:

Navigating within the sales organization: This encompasses mastery of the sales organization, from products and services to the resources available to support the sales effort. How agile are they inside our organization?   Can they build customer teams on behalf of their client?   Do they build internal relationships?   Do they lead and quarterback sales pursuits with appropriate resources?  How well do they understand our products and the value they bring?  Can they translate that value to the customer’s situation? Customer and selling skills: This involves the » Continue Reading.

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April 20th, 2016

Do you intend to provide developmental sales coaching, but tend not to?

sales-coaching-priority

Frontline sales management can be one of the most difficult jobs within a sales organization. It can also be one of the most rewarding.

The eternal struggle for most sales leaders is being caught in the sales coaching versus managing conundrum. They intend to coach their people, but tend not to because of time constraints and the demands of managing within their organization.

Leaders can have the best intentions of developing the skills and talents of their direct reports through developmental sales coaching. But the information chaos swirling around them can get in the way. Those in management positions are pulled in several directions. Reviewing and commenting on data, running analyses and forecasts, conducting meetings,  and putting out fires are just a few of the demands of today’s sales leaders. The ability to deliver pure coaching is on the back burner far too often. Unfortunately, these time-pressed leaders end up just mailing it in and miss real opportunities to provide developmental sales coaching.

To attempt to compensate for the time-management crunch, frontline leaders will fall into the trap of surface coaching, which are conversations that are purely output- and result-focused. A forecast and pipeline are analyzed, and a typical conversation can center on the current state of those numbers without much dialogue around how change can be accomplished. Sales leaders often don’t dive into the developmental conversation they should be having. It takes real focus to resist the urge » Continue Reading.

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February 12th, 2016

How Sales Leadership Can Drive Desired Behaviors

sales-leadership

Selling is a human activity. So, it makes sense for sales leadership to take a human approach to motivating their sales professionals.

On a business level, this means insuring your people have all the resources that they need to be successful and mitigating any obstacles that stand in the way.

On a personal level, it means taking the time to get inside the head of each member of your sales team to understand what is important to them and why. Do they value challenges? Do they look for recognition? Is being a part of a team important to them?

We are all different, with different strengths, and motivated by different things. The more you, as a sales leader, get to know the individuals on your sales team, the more effective you can be in articulating and driving desired behaviors. Performance for the individual and the team should improve, with your organization — and the customer — benefiting in the process.

Consider this typical leadership scenario: the ride along. Ideally, the ride along presents a mutual learning opportunity in which sales leaders see first-hand how their team members pursue a prospect or interact with a client, and sales professionals gain constructive coaching and feedback from their leaders.

What happens too often, however, is the sales leader reacts instead of responding appropriately: “I can’t believe you said that in the meeting. What were you thinking?” Or, sales leaders will jump straight to » Continue Reading.

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February 4th, 2016

Sales Coaching for the Moment of Truth

sales-coaching

The B2B buying process has changed considerably in recent years, thanks to digital and social technologies. But, the one constant that can open doors or shut them forever is how well the sales professional performs in the moment of human interaction with the buyer.

Because the sale is truly made in those moments in front of the prospect and in the execution of compelling customer dialogues, there is still a great need for improvement in this area among salespeople:

Only one in ten executives say that they get value from meetings with salespeople. (Forrester Research) The #1 reason salespeople miss quota is an inability to articulate value. (Sirius Decisions) Only 17% of salespeople get a second meeting with an executive. (Forrester Research)

These numbers could be significantly improved if sales leaders coached their teams to the desired behaviors necessary for engagement.

The impact of sales coaching has proven its value time and again. According to Forrester Research, in 2014, 63.2% of organizations with a formal sales coaching methodology achieved quota vs. 54.6% of organizations without coaching. Additionally, only 27% of organizations reported having a formal coaching methodology in place.

From the salesperson’s perspective, the Amabile Study (Harvard University, 2010) found that salespeople are more motivated when they make progress and grow. This speaks to the outcome of coaching, which supports the personal and professional development of those being coached.

Additionally, in 2009, the Gallup Organization reported that top » Continue Reading.

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