Tag Archives: sales coaching

B2B Sales Executives: Are you a coach or a manager?

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Becoming a B2B sales manager is the pinnacle of achievement in a sales department. You can be managing a small team or overseeing the entire sales department for your company. The job carries a lot of responsibility including that of motivating and helping your team grow as sales representatives.

It is easy to get swept up into the details of managing a sales department such as daily statistics, attrition rates, and tracking new clients. Often, upper management looks to you for the bottom line. However, while these tasks are important, your primary focus should be on developing your team.

It is not enough to just manage them. You need to coach them to success.

What is the difference between a B2B sales manager and a sales coach?

Managers focus on the numbers instead of the people. They are taskmasters instead of leaders, and while some of their sales reps can do well on their own, others need encouragement and help learning the best practices for interacting with clients.

On the other hand, a sales coach spends time with team members working with them on planning their approach to customers, offering feedback on what they are doing right and going with them on sales appointments to help them improve. They plan time to develop their people with a goal of success in order to drive sales.

A sales coach encourages their people to grow without taking credit for their sales. This is a positive effort that cements a team together. Sales people like being coached because they learn what they are doing right and what the next step is in their growth.

12 Bad Habits Whitepaper

Coaches are teachers

A good analogy is a baseball coach who works with their players on their skills, and then watches them during the actual game to see where they still need work and to cheer them on when they do well.

When you narrow it down there are three keys for being an effective sales coach:

  • A coach spends time asking questions and listening
  • A coach gets to the root of a problem, rather than trying to make quick fixes to symptoms
  • A coach  teaches responsibility, teamwork, and rewards personal growth

Sales techniques are generally not taught in school; they are learned on the job. Therefore coaching someone to improve their skills is how they learn.

Sales Dialing Automation Software Provides Options for Real-Time Telephone Coaching

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Spending time with sales representatives during sales calls is one of the best training and evaluation tools for a sales executive. For traditional field sales teams, this is common and routine. However, inside sales executives have a more difficult time evaluating sales reps during the sales call.Listening to recorded conversations and role playing are common tools for coaching telephone selling skills, however, both options lack that “real-time” interaction. Some sales dialing software tools provide sales coaches the ability to listen to the call in real time. Sales executives can also speak to their sales reps using a “whisper” mode.
ConnectLeader Director of Sales and Business Development, Mark Lynch authored an article for the ECSell Institute on the benefits of real-time sales coaching.[/fusion_text][/fullwidth]

How to Avoid Losing The Inside Sales Team When You Miss Your Goals

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WrongDirectionIn an ideal world, your inside sales team would never miss their monthly and quarterly goals, but anyone who has ever run a sales department knows, that is not possible. Between summer slowdowns and just occasional ‘off’ months, every company will have months where they do not reach their goals.

Image: bigstockphoto.com

 

Although occasionally missing sales goals will not be completely detrimental to the company, you want to make sure that one bad month will not turn into two or three. You can do this by ensuring that your sales team remains motivated and enthusiastic about their jobs while also determining what exactly went wrong in the last month. Here are a few sales coaching steps you can take to avoid losing your team when you miss your sales goals.

Diagnose the problem

You should begin by breaking down the month and determining exactly what went wrong. This services two purposes. First, it will help the inside sales professionals learn from their mistakes to avoid making those errors in the future. Secondly, it can help keep sales professionals from becoming too discouraged. When people have an identifiable reason why their last month went wrong, they can be inspired to do better in the future.

The key to making this process a success is creating a positive, collaborative environment. There should be no accusations about who made mistakes. Instead everyone should work together to learn what the problem was and try to motivate each other to succeed next time.

sales productivity review

Give people concrete areas to work on

Once the source of the problem has been identified, you then need to give people concrete directions about what can be improved. Vague instructions, such as “be more helpful when making initial contact with qualified leads” will not be beneficial. Instead, give your sales team ideas that they can easily implement as they begin contacting new leads. For example, guidelines about how to identify the customer’s pain points and examples of the types of assistance and offers that will resonate most with that customer will help them close more deals.

Celebrate small goals

Every sales team has something to celebrate, even when they did not reach their overall goals. Maybe someone new to the team managed to close their first sale. Perhaps the team was able to close a sale with a very big name client that had been nurtured for some time. Whatever the victory may be, find a way to celebrate it. Having a small party, luncheon or other fun gathering can help your team take their mind off the past disappointment and get them ready to tackle the next month. This type of recognition of hard work will also help them feel appreciated and therefore motivated and inspired.

Look for ways to improve

Part of the sales manager’s job is to provide the tools and training to help their team improve. Look for ways to improve your sales productivity. Are there ways to generate more leads? Are you optimizing your IT systems by using a CRM system and marketing automation? If you are looking to grow at a faster rate, there are a number of sales acceleration software applications available. Many of them integrate with popular CRM systems like Salesforce.com, MS Dynamics CRM, and Oracle CRM (aka Siebel).

Key your eyes on the target

When the inside sales team does not reach their goals, it can be disappointing for all the professionals involved. As the leader, however, it is your job to get everyone excited and ready to succeed in the upcoming month. Use the above ideas to let your team know that they can reach their goals and that you believe in them.[/fusion_text]

Keeping your B2B sales team motivated during the dog days of summer

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The summer has a reputation among those in the B2B sales world as being a time of massive slowdown. Inside sales and business development representatives get discouraged at the low sales numbers and frustrated when trying to reach leads that seem to be perpetually on vacation. Morale begins to suffer and people end up wasting time in the office.

Encouraging your B2B sales team to keep pressing forward through the summer months can help keep the company in the black and help ensure that everyone hits the ground running when fall arrives. Here are some fantastic and fun ways to keep your sales team successful throughout the summer.

Lively department contests

Since you know that the sales slump is likely to occur during the summer months, use the time leading up to the slow months to build momentum with some fun contests. Learn what matters most to your sales team, such as a new iPad, an extra vacation day, or other type of fun prize. Then invite people to participate in a fun contest that challenges them to keep their numbers high. Some fun ideas for contests might be:

  • prizes for those who complete the most demos
  • prizes for the entire team if customer satisfaction of a particular level (such as 95 percent of polled customers) can be reached
  • prizes for new clients

Some teams might also find success if they assign a particular number of points to different tasks, such as 20 points for a new client, 15 points for a demo and 5 points for a new qualified lead, and having contests to see what team can obtain the most points in a month.

12 Bad Habits That Destroy Inside Sales Productivity Whitepaper

Keeping sales teams engaged when the office is slow

Sometimes, despite the most exciting contests a supervisor can imagine, the office is still slow. Even the most motivated salespeople cannot sell to customers who are on vacation. To keep the office engaged and enthusiastic about their jobs, there a few ideas you can use to help people relax and have fun while also moving towards sales success.

Celebrate small successes

Recognize hard work by celebrating even small successes, such as closing a big deal or the newbie making their first sale. Have a small party so everyone can celebrate and feel reinvigorated.

Screen inspiring movies

There are a variety of fantastic sales movies that can be used for inspiration or just some laughs such as The Boiler Room, The Pursuit of Happyness, The Goods – Live Hard, Sell Hard and Glengarry Glen Ross. Consider screening one occasionally over lunch breaks.

Role-playing and breaking down sales

Pass the time when business is slow by doing some fun role-plays or breaking down past sales. Look for what went wrong, what went right and what sales teams can learn. It is a great way to practice skills even when not speaking with customers

The summer slump is commonly acknowledged in sales circles as people struggle to find clients through the slow, hot months. To keep your sales team motivated and engaged, you have to be creative, but with proper preparation, it is entirely possible. If you find yourself staring down the approaching summer with dread, consider implementing some of the above ideas and keep your team moving forward towards the more productive autumn.

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Sales Productivity Trends – What Sales Executives Need to Know

[fusion_text]Sales Productivity TrendsImproving sales productivity continues to be a leading concern for senior sales executives. Understanding these concerns and how executives are solving these problems can help sales leaders boost their sales revenue.
Dr. Richard Rocco of DePaul University Center for Sales Leadership shared his findings of over 7 years of research in the field of sales productivity in a presentation earlier this year.

Learn about:

  • Top drivers of sales effectiveness
  • 3 key drivers
  • Sales productivity trends for both B2B and Consumer companies
  • Methods to improve sales process

Click here to download presentation.[/fusion_text]

Tips for Being a Great Inside Sales Manager

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hardtofind_smallGreat inside sales talent is hard to find… and even harder to keep.
Being a good sales manager can go a long way towards keeping your top sales performers around.The Worst Kind of Managers, a recent article on Time.com, discussed a survey of HR managers which identifed the five attributes of the worst kind of manager.

The 5 Worst Kind of Managers

  • The “crooked politician”
  • The bully
  • The micromanager
  • The workaholic
  • The BFF

According to research from the CEB sales research, other reasons for leaving a job include rigid, inflexible processes and lack of future career opportunities.

Attributes of Successful Inside Sales Managers

Research shows that manager coaching is the critical component in driving rep performance.  To coach a rep to their highest performance level. You must challenge them outside of their comfort zone.“

Sarah Wirth, VP Member Services, ECSellInstitute

 

The ECSell Institute specializes in helping sales managers become better leaders and coaches. They recently published a whitepaper titled The Role of the Manager in Sales Team Motivation which featured research of top performing sales reps. Their research found that the supervisor skills that had the greatest correlation on their success included:

  1. Coaching
  2. Leadership
  3. Helping obtain career objectives
  4. Recognizing and rewarding achievements
  5. Helping them devise a territory sales plan

 

Learn more about sales coaching and sales productivity solutions at our upcoming webinar Getting More Out of Your Top Sales Performers.

Join DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Schuck and ConnectLeader Director of Sales, Mark Lynch for an informative 45 minute webinar as part of the BrightTalk Sales Productivity Summit on May 14th at 2:00 PM ET.

Register for Webinar

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