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TopLine Leadership Blog

How To's for Sales Leaders

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Can Your Sales Managers Teach Your Reps to Hit Home Runs?

Financial offerings warn that past performance is no guarantee of future success. Shouldn’t sales managers carry the same warning?

Too many companies tend to shoot themselves in the foot by investing the bulk of their training resources on their sales reps and ignoring training for those responsible for managing their reps’ performances. Star results as a rep don’t automatically translate into managerial success.

The fact is, most sales managers have never received formal sales management training. Untrained sales managers are a big reason rep training itself may fail to bear fruit, or more specifically, to impact sales results. That hurts your bottom line.
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5 Reasons Why Sales Managers Don’t Coach

Let’s do a countdown on the most common reasons I’ve observed about why sales managers don’t do enough coaching…

 5. They mistake “inspection” for “coaching.”

When I ask sales managers to describe what kind of coaching they do, a lot of them say they sit down once a month with each rep to discuss activity level, results, and deals in the hopper. They think that’s coaching. But it’s not. It’s “inspection”—looking at something after the fact!

The word “coach” is derived from the English word, “carriage” which means to transport someone from where they are now to where they want to go. Coaching is an on-going process of direction, teaching and support. It’s not a 1-on-1 conversation every now and then about numbers.
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Sales Leadership Lessons I Wish I Could Have Given to My Younger Self

Like most sales managers, I spent several years as a sales rep before promotion to a sales management position. Here’s what I know now that I wish I could have advised my newly-promoted self back in the day:

Your top sales rep may not be your best choice for promotion to sales manager

I had a sales manager opening to fill, and two quota-producing salespeople I was considering for the promotion. My top producer, Mike, was an exceptional salesperson. He had a “motor” that was 2nd to none and was consistently 120% of quota. He was highly competitive and incredibly hard-working. When Mike won a big sale he’d get very jazzed, but when he lost a sale he could get down in the dumps.

My #2 producer, Darren, consistently produced at 100-110% of quota. Darren was more even keel than Mike.

Naturally, I promoted Mike, my top producer because he sold more. It was a huge mistake!
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Sun Tzu's Tip for New Sales Managers

Sun Tzu’s Tip for New Sales Managers

Ann spent years developing into a stellar sales rep for her employer, a tech company. She had a well-earned reputation for producing results far beyond expectations. Six months ago, they rewarded Ann’s hard work by promoting her to the position of sales manager.
Now, Ann tells me she’s working harder than ever before—and yet her team’s results are mediocre at best. My words of advice to her and other new sales managers come from Sun Tzu (The Art of War), the great Chinese philosopher. He wrote: “Eventually your strengths will become a weakness.”
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How to Determine Coachability in Sales Rep Candidate Interview

How to Determine ‘Coachability’ in the Sales Rep Candidate Interview

Why waste time and resources hiring sales people who can’t or won’t grow on the job and end up taking up valuable space on your sales team?

Unfortunately, that happens far too often. It’s true that some reps are naturals and likely will succeed in almost all situations, but those self-driven top performers are more the exception than the rule. Most reps require sales coaching to attain top skills and performance — to thrive in your sales culture — and the time to determine a rep’s coachability is in the interview with the candidate, not way down the road.
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Hiring the Right Salesperson

Perhaps no decision is more important for a sales manager to “get right” then the decision to hire a salesperson. Mistakes are very costly. Here are some suggestions for making your next new-hiring decision one that you will one day congratulate yourself for.

Can you see this candidate, after training and effective coaching, ranking in the top half of your sales team? If not, don’t hire the person.

Each hiring decision you make will have an impact on your team’s culture – and you need the impact to be extremely positive not negative.
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3 Daily Decisions Effective Sales Managers Must Make

3 Daily Decisions Effective Sales Managers Make

We’re near the end of 2014, which makes it a great time for self-reflection. What can you learn about how you managed yourself and your time this past year as a sales manager that could help you better manage your time and your team next year? To get started, think back over the past year and rate yourself on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (great) on the following three statements:
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What kind of sales manager would Abraham Lincoln be?

What Kind of Sales Manager Would Abraham Lincoln Be?

The Thanksgiving Holiday in the United States was passed into law by President Lincoln in 1863 so now is as good a time as any to reflect on our 16th president. I recently read a couple of books on Abraham Lincoln—Founder’s Son by Richard Brookhiser and A. Lincoln by Ronald White.

Lincoln was one of the most unlikely people ever to become president. He had no management experience, attended no more than one year of schooling, and managed his paperwork by stuffing important papers in his tall hat.

It occurred to me, however, that Lincoln possessed an overabundance of qualities that all great salespeople have: ambition, empathy and people skills. No doubt, he would have been an excellent candidate today for an entry-level sales position! And certainly, because of his leadership skills, he would have moved up into sales management.

So that begs the question: what kind of sales manager would Abe Lincoln be? You be the judge…
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7 Ways to Drive Your Sales Coaching Culture (Free eBook)

Implementing a formalized approach to sales coaching – a sales coaching culture – is proven by research to drive up sales performance.

The link between the ability of your sales managers to coach sales reps and your reps’ willingness and ability to make the best use of that coaching is critical to your company’s top line!

In this e-book Kevin Davis, president of TopLine Leadership, shares the 7 ways to drive your sales coaching culture. Specifically, you will learn:SalesCoachingCulture2

  • How to hire more coachable people - identify which sales rep candidates have the willingness and aptitude to be coached.
  • 5 common mistakes sales managers need to avoid to coach effectively on a daily basis.
  • How to better motivate your sales reps to accept coaching by distinguishing between motivators and de-motivators.
  • Daily techniques for nourishing your sales coaching culture.
  • 5 qualities a good manager needs to develop to become a great sales coach.
  • Tips for coaching the team with discipline and constructive feedback.
  • The one essential requirement managers need in order to gain greater buy-in from their team.

Download this important eBook today! “7 Ways to Drive Your Sales Coaching Culture

 

Sales Rep Attrition

5 Ways to Prevent Sales Reps from Saying “I Quit!”

There is nothing more frustrating for a sales manager than to have a senior-tenured sales rep resign.

Many companies are coming to realize that the #1 reason why productive salespeople leave is because of their relationship with their sales manager. The decision sales reps make to quit your company doesn’t occur in an instant. When there is too little coaching from the sales manager and very little feedback (other than negative), a salesperson becomes gradually disengaged with what is going on. He or she perceives they are not growing and they begin to wonder if the grass may be greener somewhere else.

Here are five things sales managers can do to prevent sales rep attrition:

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