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Sales Coaching Poll

How much impact does coaching have on career success? - by Linda Richardson
How much impact does coaching have on career success?
Okay, let's first define "career success." In most sales organizations, "career success" (if not career continuation) hinges on delivering the sales and margins required by and promised to the company's stakeholders. In other words, quota (and profitability) achievement equals career success. So, if my company can help me win deals and deliver on my quota, I'll be successful. Right?

One of the areas we focus very strongly on with our clients is training the sales management team to effectively coach their sales reps through deals. A study last year by CSO Insights showed that, despite all the money and time spent on sales training and technology, twenty-percent of forecast opportunities are still being lost to "no decision." While some of these losses are just the way the game ends sometimes, twenty-percent is far too high to indicate anything other than a problem with the way opportunities are being monitored.

We teach a structured continuous coaching methodology that is proven to actually help sales people spot holes in their deals, competitive threats, solution weakness, political difficulties, and more. Using this process – especially early in an opportunity – helps to greatly reduce losses to competition or the dreaded "no decision." We find that salespeople love it because it's non-confrontational and collaborative. One of our mottoes is, "Bad news early is good news." It's this focus on coaching that helps spot that bad news long before it's too late to change the account or opportunity plan.

Perhaps the question would be better rephrased to, "Does your company and your sales manager employ an effective coaching method that helps you close more deals and assure your career success?"

Thoughts? Comments?

Jim Cundiff
Senior Demand Creation Executive
The Complex Sale - by jcundiff
I work with a personal trainer at the local gym. Besides spotting problems with my technique the trainer encourages me and holds me accountable. I know I am more productive in the gym with a trainer than I would be on my own. I expect I would see a similar outcome working with a sales coach. - by Mikey
I'll put it like this. I've been in direct sales/network marketing with one company since 1996. Sales coaching gave me the confidence and knowledge I needed BUT I was also motivated AND an ideal student: I wanted to learn and learn it right.

Likewise, we have a successful network of distributors because a few of them had the same characteristics as me. So for an individual and a sales team sales coaching is very important.

BUT if it's poor coaching because of the coaches ability or content of what's being coached, sales coaching means very little except for the highly motivated who do well in spite of it.

The best of the best to everyone.

MitchM - by MitchM
BUT if it's poor coaching because of the coaches ability or content of what's being coached, sales coaching means very little except for the highly motivated who do well in spite of it.
Mitch,

In any sales organization there are three kinds of salespeople - those that are motivated and "get it," those that are motivated and could "get it," and those that will never "get it." I won't go into best practices for hiring salespeople to avoid the last category.

The first two categories are your A- and B-level players. A-level players need very little coaching. It's the B-level players where coaching - based on the sales manager's knowledge of the way the A-players work - can make a difference. The goal is to get your B-level players to be more like A-level.

The quality of the coach is important, but more important is the process of coaching. Coaching a deal early in the sales cycle spots poorly qualified opportunities before a lot of time and resources is spent chasing a deal that is a poor fit. Coaching throughout the sales cycle helps spot holes in the plan before they fester into a lost sale.

Too many sales managers feel their role is to be the super-salesperson. They believe the stories told by salespeople with little or no process to validate the information. Then, they are forced to go flying in to rescue out-of-control deals at the last minute. It's a poor use of sales talent.

By the way, you should "coach" your C-level players to go to work for your competition.

Jim Cundiff
The Complex Sale - by jcundiff
"The quality of the coach is important, but more important is the process of coaching. " -- Jim

Is it very likely a poor quality coach could give a quality coaching in or of the process that would be of much help for the B people?

MitchM - by MitchM
Success leaves clues- bottom line. - by salespro
So take your esoteric clip of a cliche & tell us what are these bottom line clues, salespro!

MitchM - by MitchM
It is as simple as this; model a successful person or company and you cannot be far off base.

If you belief it is harder than that you are prone to a career of struggle.

Success leaves clues, bottom line.

Examples are:

Ray Kroc
Tony Robbins
Richard Branson
Las Vegas, Nevada
and on and on

You are now enlightened...........

A post need not be lengthy to be valuable.

Happy selling! shds; - by salespro
Mitch,
In any sales organization there are three kinds of salespeople - those that are motivated and "get it," those that are motivated and could "get it," and those that will never "get it." I won't go into best practices for hiring salespeople to avoid the last category.

The first two categories are your A- and B-level players. A-level players need very little coaching.
Jim,

Thanks for your thoughtful post.

I mostly disagree with your statement that "A-level players need very little coaching." Perhaps what you're really saying is "A-level players need little sales development training" and that I would mostly agree with. But I think in many ways A-level players need more coaching (especially if you look at coaching as being broader than just training or broader than just motivating).

I generally hate sports analogies but I'm going to use one anyway: Perhaps one of Joe Torre's biggest strengths as former manager of the Yankees was his ability to coach A-level players over the years - he had a lot of them. Coaches (whether sales coaches or baseball coaches) need to be able to coach A level players to effectively reduce prima donna syndrome, to keep A-level players focused on the team, to give them the type and frequency of recognition that the A players desire, to keep them engaged, to keep them performing, to keep them from wanting to be traded (or moving to another sales job) and lots of other more subtle outcomes.

As a number of management gurus have pointed out, time spent with top performers will yield bigger results than time spent with low level performers (I realize that may be more of a "C-level" issue than a "B-level" issue).

The best to you! - by Skip Anderson
Mitch,

In any sales organization there are three kinds of salespeople - those that are motivated and "get it," those that are motivated and could "get it," and those that will never "get it." I won't go into best practices for hiring salespeople to avoid the last category.

The first two categories are your A- and B-level players. A-level players need very little coaching. It's the B-level players where coaching - based on the sales manager's knowledge of the way the A-players work - can make a difference. The goal is to get your B-level players to be more like A-level.

The quality of the coach is important, but more important is the process of coaching. Coaching a deal early in the sales cycle spots poorly qualified opportunities before a lot of time and resources is spent chasing a deal that is a poor fit. Coaching throughout the sales cycle helps spot holes in the plan before they fester into a lost sale.

Too many sales managers feel their role is to be the super-salesperson. They believe the stories told by salespeople with little or no process to validate the information. Then, they are forced to go flying in to rescue out-of-control deals at the last minute. It's a poor use of sales talent.

By the way, you should "coach" your C-level players to go to work for your competition.

Jim Cundiff
The Complex Sale
With the exception of the frivolous last sentence, I agree entirely with the above post. - by Joe Closer
With the exception of the frivolous last sentence, I agree entirely with the above post.
Joe,

Thanks for the kind words and, yes, the last sentece was written with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

One of my challenges with this forum - indeed with the entire SalesPractice site - is the wide range of sales people, sales models and sales methods that are exhibited here. I focuse on higher end, complex, B2B sales and my comments are laid out with that "audience" in my mind. I forget that many retail salespeople and B2C salespeople frequent the site, so of my comments seem overly dramatic or too rigid to them. - by jcundiff
One of my challenges with this forum - indeed with the entire SalesPractice site - is the wide range of sales people, sales models and sales methods that are exhibited here. I focuse on higher end, complex, B2B sales and my comments are laid out with that "audience" in my mind. I forget that many retail salespeople and B2C salespeople frequent the site, so of my comments seem overly dramatic or too rigid to them.
That's a valuable observation, jcundiff. I've had that frustration from time to time, too.

My expertise is in B2C sales, so I'm very aware that a large portion of the sales community and sales training community ignores the type of companies and individuals I serve. If you pick up almost any sales book, a good portion of the content is for b2b salespeople, whereas a lot of consumer salespeople don't cold call, don't prospect for business (at least not to a large degree), don't have gatekeepers to get past, etc., but they sure do need to close the deal in order to make a decent living. That doesn't mean these types of sales aren't complex - they can be, but they're different.

For me, selling is the direct face-to-face process with an individual (or a family unit), and it doesn't include prospecting. I leave prospecting training to others who are more qualified to do it. I realize that my definition of selling is different than others, as for others finding suspects and prospects is key (and it is for some of my clients as well especially insurance and financial and real estate , but not so much for those who sell jewelry, home improvements, furniture, etc. (not that finding leads in those areas wouldn't be beneficial).

I continually have to remind myself that there are various points-of-view on this site. And of course, none are right or wrong, just different. Your post was a good reminder of this fact. - by Skip Anderson
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