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TopLine Leadership Blog

How To's for Sales Leaders

Two Sales Coaching Strategies to Boost Sales Performance

Recently I conducted a webinar for a large company whose sales managers had completed our Sales Coaching & Leadership Workshop a few months earlier. I started by asking them, “What is the most significant change you’ve made in your sales management style in the last 60 days?” There were two themes I heard about most.Busy person graphic

The first was, “I start and end every day with coaching. Big change!”

Though coaching is something that sales managers tell me they want to do more often, they all seem to struggle with truly making it their #1 priority every day. Why? Because they’re too busy responding to emails, dealing with unexpected problems, answering calls and texts, finishing work from the day before, etc.
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Creating Your Coachable Sales Team

What is coachability? When I ask sales managers in my sales management workshop this question most of the time there is confusion as to the correct definition of coachability. Just because a salesperson seems to have an agreeable and receptive nature doesn’t mean they are coachable.Blog image file for coach

At one level, determining coachability is simple: if a sales rep changes what they are doing based on feedback and your constructive suggestions, then they are coachable. If they smile and nod and thank you for the great advice but don’t subsequently make any changes, they aren’t coachable.
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Boost Sales Team Morale in 3 Weeks

How do you boost sales team morale in just 3-weeks?

Calendar Image Recently a Sales VP who had just attended one of my Sales Coaching & Leadership Workshops asked me that very question. He was under a lot of pressure from his CEO to improve sales team health and increase sales, so he needed some concrete steps he could implement immediately. Here’s what he and I came up with for his 3-week plan.

Week 1: Update Roles & Responsibilities

The company this VP worked for had undergone some major shifts in recent years. Their market was expanding, partly through increased specialization of offerings. The VP now realized that the job descriptions for the sales rep position were out of date and didn’t accurately reflect the changes in the business and markets that had occurred.
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Why Salespeople Don’t Use CRM & What to Do About It

Albert Einstein had a sign on his office wall: “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

Albert should have been in Sales Operations, because his sign explains why so many companies who make huge investments in CRM systems like SalesForce.com and others can be totally frustrated with low sales rep adoption rates and inaccurate forecasting results: Not everything that can be counted counts.

Why do so many salespeople resist the usage of CRM systems? One reason is that because of flawed CRM funnel structure, sales managers are unable to coach salespeople effectively. While managers can monitor activity levels after-the-fact, flawed funnel structure inhibits managers’ ability to coach sales skills, strategy, knowledge, etc. So your reps don’t sell more when they put information into CRM, and they wonder, “Why am I doing all this extra work? What’s in it for me?”
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A Tale of Two Sales Funnels

This is a story about two companies’ sales funnels. One company has a sales funnel that improves win rates, the other doesn’t.

“Company A” uses the most common approach, orienting its sales funnel to the steps of its sales process: qualifying, solution identified, quotation provided, demonstration delivered, etc. You know the drill.

Company B uses a funnel based on the customer’s buying process. Each stage of the funnel identifies specific actions that customers take when they are moving forward in their buying process. It is these “customer go forward actions” that salespeople seek to achieve as they progress an opportunity through their funnel.
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Four Simple Tips for Better Sales Coaching

Looking for practical advice on how to do more and better sales coaching? Here are four tips to get you started.Image we are here to help

1. Stop doing e-mail first thing in the morning. Instead, coach somebody.

You know what happens when you check your e-mail. There’s some  “hair-on-fire” issue waiting in your in-box that demands your immediate attention. But nine times out of 10, it’s a distraction that is important to somebody else but not to you. And once you head off down that road, another distraction pops up. The next thing you know your day is gone and you never had a chance to coach anybody.
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A Sales Coach Learns from Others How to be Great

How you have been managed by others influences how you manage your sales team today. No doubt, you have learned to lead others largely from your previous experiences – from both the best and worst practices of others. Often this technique of learning from your bosses works well, but sometimes it does not. Here’s one example.

Jack is a sales director for a leading technology company who shared the following story with me recently. I had asked Jack to tell me about his “worst boss ever.” The boss had been a micro-manager who tried to control everything. The boss’ management style had driven Jack absolutely crazy. So much so, that Jack changed jobs and became a salesperson at a different company.
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Trust, but Verify to Win More Forecasted Deals

Blog Image boy with arrowOne of the biggest frustrations sales managers have occurs when deals forecasted by salespeople to close – don’t close. What’s the problem here? Both salespeople and sales managers are optimists by heart. So it’s easy for sales managers to believe reps’ rosy forecasts, especially when the sales rep has performed everything described in their company’s sales funnel or CRM.

During the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan used the slogan “trust, but verify” when describing his policy toward the Soviet Union. And this is the same slogan that effective sales managers need to keep in mind when talking with salespeople about important sales opportunities.

Effective sales managers know how to temper the salesperson’s enthusiasm by finding ways to verify their reps’ optimism.
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Hiring Tips for a Sales Manager Position

Far too many times I have had SVPs and CEOs report to me that the only thing they paid much attention to when hiring sales directors and managers was whether the candidate had a successful portfolio in revenue attainment. Yes, managing sales numbers, quotas, and data effectively is very important in a sales leadership role. But a sales director or sales manager can only achieve their numbers through others — so they also have to be effective leaders of people. Any firm that is looking to hire or promote into a sales leadership position should become aware of the qualities that make leaders successful.
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