3 Sales Readiness Initiative Secrets The Best Enablement Leaders Swear By

,

Improve the results of your sales readiness initiative with these critical reinforcement elements

Let’s begin with a quick talk about what sales readiness means. Sales readiness requires more than just training. It means that you have assessed and certified that your sales team has developed mastery of the new messaging, product or solution, geography, or buyer persona. Salespeople have proven that they are ready to go-to-market and begin speaking with potential customers. Most sales readiness initiatives will include a company (or unit) wide “required” webinar, and then perhaps an on-demand video that presents the new material to the team. Some enablement organizations will even go so far as to include online learning and quizzing through their LMS to assess if sellers paid attention to the material.

But how does that really benefit the sales team? How does this help them feel confident bringing the new information to market? It doesn’t.

sales readiness initiative boring webinar

You see, salespeople need the opportunity to practice their pitch. They need to be able to take what you’ve delivered and “try it on for size” to make it their own. They have to be able to speak authentically to real people. Watching a webinar and going through a little training isn’t going to get them there.

What your sales readiness initiative is missing is visibility into real sales interactions, calibrated assessments, and informed reinforcement. Protect your investment in sales readiness or transformation with a program that will truly benefit your salespeople and will produce more than just a participation rate statistic.

1. Visibility at Scale

The sales manager “ride along” is about as old as the sales profession itself. Regional sales managers have racked up more airline miles than they will ever be able to use. At the same time, frontline managers struggle to maintain the level of observation needed to keep their team’s conversations effective, while balancing an ever-growing list of responsibilities. And, let’s face it, when you’re in enablement you’re not getting any visibility into sales interactions at all.

The point is that, while visibility in sales isn’t exactly new, the ability for global organizations to maintain high-quality visibility at scale is a growing challenge. Sales organizations are becoming further distributed, while the buying process is becoming ever more complex.

Visibility at scale refers to the central enablement team’s ability to keep tabs on what is being used in the field, to what standard, as well as what is working well for the company’s brand and revenue goals. This provides your enablement team with the information you need to improve the relevance of your sales readiness initiatives.

While no single solution provides foresight 20/20, video and call recording technology provides both enablement and sales leaders a window into what is happening in their reps’ and managers’ daily interactions, without the need to rack up all those SkyMiles.

Sales Readiness Initiative Checklist CTA Midpage

2. Calibrated Assessment Activates Coaching

Certification in sales readiness isn’t just about visibility. Mature readiness initiatives use calibrated assessments to systematize sales certification. Assessing a rep’s ability to pitch a certain product or use a specific method in a sales conversation helps enablement and management understand how well that rep is performing. But what happens when you need to scale assessment across 2,000+ reps, account executives, managers, etc. around the globe?

Calibrated sales assessment takes the guesswork out of the equation and provides a usable data set for enablement to use. Calibration works best when sales, enablement, and operations leaders align on what specific skills, behaviors, etc. they wish to see in their team’s interactions. They agree on what is most important and they document these skills in a rubric that provides a level of consistency throughout the certification (and coaching) process.

Calibrated assessments also empower frontline managers with the information they need to become better coaches. When set up correctly, managers can use their reps’ assessments to target coaching with each individual during scheduled 1-on-1 and team meetings for continued improvement.

3. Reinforcement Protects Your Investment

What all this really boils down to is protecting your investment. When your company invests in a new product, rebranding or repositioning, sales training, new messaging or methodologies there is a significant amount of both money and time spent making the idea a reality.

When enablement simply roles out the new initiative in a webinar or an event and stops there, you’re leaving a huge amount of investment to chance. And I think we are all aware that the chances of sales picking it up and running with it from there are pretty slim. Not for lack of desire; rather it’s a change that needs to be managed properly. The adult brain will only retain about 30% of what you teach them, the rest needs to be reinforced through coaching.

Reinforcement must become part of your sales readiness initiative. It’s amazing to me how often I see a lack of it in large organizations. It may seem complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you gain visibility at scale that your sales leaders, managers, and you can use to observe how new messaging is being used in practice and in the field, the path to providing training reinforcement becomes clear. Taking that visibility a step further with calibrated assessments that create alignment in your organization enables targeted coaching and development to reinforce the behaviors and messages that are critical to moving your deals forward.

Managing sales readiness initiatives in a global sales organization is never easy. But by adding these three critical elements to your plan, your team will be far more likely to successfully incorporate the desired changes and apply them to improving sales wins in the long run.

Sales and Enablement Alignment Sales Transformation Checklist

Opening Pandora’s Box Reveals the Truth in Manager to Seller 1:1

,

The manager to seller 1:1 is a critical interaction that takes place in every sales organization, and yet it is a black hole for sales leaders

“90 minutes of your time can enhance the quality of your subordinates work for 2 weeks or for some 80+ hours.” – Andy Grove, CEO & Co-founder at Intel

The manager to seller 1:1 meeting is a proven management practice that, when executed well, creates happy, healthy, and productive teams. In fact, the 1:1 may be the single biggest leverage point a manager has to impact team performance.

But today’s overwhelmed and underdeveloped frontline sales manager may not have gotten the memo. The tyranny of managing to the number leads to choosing what’s urgent over what’s important and being reactive versus proactive. 1:1s commonly get pushed, lack preparation and structure, and have no clear outcomes. This dysfunction of such a critical management activity creates a hole that is hard to dig out of.

The desire to help sales managers has led us to study the manager to seller 1:1. In doing so, we’ve come to realize that this may be the single biggest unmet need in today’s sales organization. If you’re ready to open Pandora’s Box, let’s dig in.

The Purpose of the Manager to Seller 1:1

Manager to Seller 1-1 meetingWhy are we here? Without a clear purpose, there’s no alignment on what would make the meeting successful.

This is where the issues start. Because managers themselves aren’t sure what the purpose of the 1:1 is. They know that every manager does them, and they are supposed to, too. But why? And how does it fit into their goal to get their reps to their number?

Most frontline sales managers have not been trained on how to run a manager to seller 1:1. So they make it up as they go along. Often, each 1:1 is a bit different. In my experience, the typical flavors of a manager to seller 1:1 are:

  • Forecast review
  • Pipeline review
  • Deal review
  • Coaching

But what if I told you the most common type of 1:1 isn’t any of these. It’s actually all of them combined into one meeting!

Successfully executing any of these interactions with a seller requires practice and discipline. Trying to accomplish them all in one meeting is downright impossible! The discussion jumps from topic to topic and quickly becomes a disaster that is a testament to the fact that no one is sure what the purpose of this meeting actually is!

Managers must establish a set agenda for their 1:1s and develop a cadence with their team that allows them to focus on each of these interactions separately at various points in the month and/or quarter. Get this simple, but often overlooked, piece right and you are on your way to better 1:1s.

Get Your Sales Managers on a Sales Management Cadence with the FREE cadence builder >>

Failure to Take Off and Land

Without a clear purpose, we’re off to a rough start. But a well-structured agenda will still make this meeting work. Extra credit if the manager has transferred ownership to the seller to own the agenda and it’s documented in a way that creates clarity and structure.

Without an agenda, the meeting is likely to meander aimlessly into irrelevance. Fear not, you can still make it worthwhile if there are clear actions items that come out of the meeting. Actions could include:

  • Submitting a revised forecast
  • Executing on agreed upon pipeline goals
  • Inviting manager to a call
  • Drafting an email for review
  • Scheduling an internal meeting

If you are a sales manager with 8 to 10 direct reports, this can be pretty hard to keep track of. Don’t be surprised if these actions float into the ether, never to be seen again.

After establishing a purpose, take off and landing the meeting tend to be the lowest hanging fruit to be addressed that will also provide the biggest payback.

Manager and Seller Should Feel Good

“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” – Albert Einstein

A sales managers’ list of tasks includes rolling up the forecast, managing the pipeline, and closing business. That’s the easy part! What differentiates an average sales manager from a great one is their ability to remove roadblocks for their sellers. But while the manager may parachute in to save the day from time to time, this is not a scalable strategy for success. Helping the seller come to his or her own realization to solve a problem is.

When a manager is using the appropriate mix of guiding versus telling, the seller learns not to come to the manager for a solution, but rather with a problem that can be solved together. The same basic discovery and active listening skills that make for an effective sales conversation are a manager’s friend in the 1:1. There is typically at least one issue that, if solved for the seller, would make a big difference in the coming week. Isolate and focus on it.

If this sounds like more art than science, it is. But it’s also critical. A manager can get the mechanics of the 1:1 right, but if there is no trust the seller will be more likely to see the manager as in their way rather than a partner.

One simple way to find out is to ask! How was this meeting? Was it useful? Why or why not? What should we keep doing or start doing? Seeking feedback is an unnatural but highly effective way to instantly make this meeting better.

Conclusion

With limited direction outside of “get to your number”, it’s no wonder the average sales manager can get lost. When manager to seller 1:1s lack a clear purpose, fail to take off and land effectively and don’t feel good for either party, it’s a recipe for dysfunction.

Think of it this way: if your sales calls were to resemble anything like this picture, would you expect to sell anything? I don’t think so.

The manager to seller 1:1 is the key force multiplier moment an organization has to lift sales team performance, and it’s time we start facing that reality head-on.

 

Empower_Sales Management Cadence Blog CTA XL

How To Improve Sales Team Performance with 4 Easy Adjustments

,

Benchmark data spotlights four fundamentals to improve sales team performance

There are some basics to every sales call that most sales teams tend to take for granted. Sales and enablement leaders assume that their teams are highly capable of executing the fundamentals of a sales conversation. They lack the visibility into daily sales interactions to really get a good snapshot of how these fundamentals are used in the field. As a result, when met with the question of how to improve sales team performance, they will fixate on adjusting activity levels, offers, messaging, and/or processes to improve outcomes.

Michael Jordan said, “Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”

Companies make huge investments in big sales transformations, consulting, methodologies, etc. when the end result is going to be the same. When a team lags in performing fundamental skills, no messaging strategy is going to have the intended impact, and sales performance fails to hit expectations.

The data from our 2018 Sales Team Performance Benchmark Report spotlights a critical need for optimization in four fundamental sales skills. This data is based on the observation and assessment of over 32,000 sales calls over a range of company sizes and industries.

1. Setting an Effective Agenda

how to improve sales team performance_Agenda100% of your reps should be able to set an effective agenda at the beginning of each call or meeting. This is a fundamental, yet simple, area of improvement to focus on in your team and will have a clear impact.

Setting an agenda establishes a mutually agreed upon purpose for your meeting, ensuring that the time the prospect spends with your sellers is uniquely relevant and valuable to them. This helps build the relationship by signaling that your seller respects their time and has something valuable to share with them in return.

How to Improve Your Sales Team’s Agendas

  • Write it Down: Have your sellers draft their agenda for a given interaction type and review it with you in their 1:1. The agenda should remain 90% the same for any conversation of that interaction type.
  • Roleplay: Have your seller roleplay setting an agenda. Ultimately, sellers fail to set an agenda because they get excited at the beginning of the call, and then before they know it, they are straight into discovery. Give them the opportunity to practice so it becomes second nature.
  • Monitor and Recognize It: Provide feedback (positive and constructive) to your sellers on their agenda every time you attend one of their meetings to continue to reinforce positive habits.

2. Telling a Client Story

how to improve sales team performance_ClientStoryOur brains are wired to seek out stories. Stories give us a glimpse into what our lives could be like if we make the same choice that others have already. A client story gives your prospect tangible proof of success and assures them that, as a customer, they will be in good company. It also helps establish trust and provides third-party validation to your solution.

It is relatively easy to teach sellers how to tell an effective client story during a sales calls. Sellers should be equipped with available stories that align with customer needs, profiles, industries, pain points, etc. Given the information, your sellers then need to practice incorporating the story and making it their own. If appropriate, it is also often helpful to provide slides that sellers can include in their decks that help illustrate the key points of each story.

Access the full Sales Team Performance Benchmark Report for more insights & coaching tips >>

How to Improve Your Sales Team’s Client Stories

  • Tell Your Sellers a Story: The hardest part of creating a story is having a compelling narrative and arc. If you have client stories that you have found to be successful in your selling, document them and share them with your sellers.
  • Practice Your Story: Have your sellers practice their stories. Like most things, stories improve over time. Consider adding a “story hour” portion to your team meeting where, each week, a seller brings a client-facing customer story and shares it with the group.

3. Differentiation

how to improve sales team performance_DifferentiationHow important is it to your business that customers understand the differences between your solution(s) and those of your competitors? Very important, right?

Differentiation is a core sales skill that leadership expects all sellers to be able to do. But that expectation is being taken for granted when 47% of your sellers are not able to articulate these differences! They are actually creating more harm than good by taking calls with your customers and prospects. In fact, we found that a full 6.29% where providing absolutely no differentiation at all!

More often, we find that sellers talk about features, rather than specific benefits to the client. To effectively differentiate, sellers must be trained to focus on customer needs and how your solution is uniquely capable of filling that need. Features and pricing do not differentiate your solution from your competitors.

How to Improve Your Sales Team’s Differentiation

  • Play a Game: Is it a feature or a benefit? In one of your team meetings, prepare five to ten index cards with examples of features and benefits of your product. Have team members pick a card from the pile and determine if it is a feature or a benefit.
  • Show and Tell: If you record sales calls, find an example of strong differentiation based on value and an example of a feature dump. Play both clips and have your sellers discuss what they think went well and what did not as a group.

4. Value Proposition

Fb_SpotLighthow to improve sales team performance_ValuePropYour strategic team worked hard to create a value proposition that clearly states how your solution helps your customers. It’s pure gold and ready to be shared with the world. But does your sales team know how to articulate it to your prospects and customers? You have about a 50/50 chance.

Delivering the value proposition in a sales call is critical to establish why the prospect should care about what you are trying to sell. But, in this environment, it needs to be delivered appropriately. Many sales teams have the value proposition scripted; most sellers can recite it in their sleep. But only about half of them can deliver it in a way that is engaging and highly relevant.

How to Improve Your Sales Team’s Value Proposition Delivery

  • Certify: Value propositions should be consistent across sellers. Establish and confirm that all sellers have the knowledge by certifying them on your value proposition.
  • Practice In-Workflow: In an effort to move beyond a flat delivery that often occurs with scripted content, start each of your 1:1s by having sellers tell you the value proposition.

How can you improve sales team performance? By relentlessly focusing on improving and optimizing the fundamental sales skills reps need to be successful. Without that commitment, investment in big, sexy sales transformations, rebrands, consulting, messaging, etc. is just a huge waste of money.

SpotLight Report_Blog CTA

5 Sales Team Performance Fails Guaranteed to Make You Miss Quota

,

New benchmark research highlights 5 sales performance fails that contribute to sales teams missing quota

Infographic_5 Sales Performance FailsWe are all well aware of the statistic that 53% of salespeople fail to hit their quota—and many claim that number will only continue to climb. I don’t think many sales leaders need to be told that, though. You’re living that reality every day. You know that attaining your revenue goal continues to ride on the shoulders of just a small segment of your sales force.

Those star sellers carry the rest of the team, while your enablement and management organizations struggle to onboard, train, coach, and develop an almost continuous stream of new hires, who are thrown into the revolving door with little hope of ever breaking from the middle of the pack. You tell yourself that this is just how it’s always been done, all while sales performance fails to improve quarter over quarter.

Could more of your sellers be closing more deals? Based on our recent research, the answer is a resounding YES!

While many sales leaders inspect the activity of their team to understand how to attain their goal, activity management isn’t solely responsible for sales performance. If you have reps on your team who cannot properly articulate your message and move the conversation forward, it doesn’t much matter how many cold calls, discovery calls, or follow-ups they are completing. They don’t have the skills to effectively close the deal and no activity metric is going to get them there.

Every interaction your sellers have with prospective clients is critical to getting them to their goal. That is why we assessed over 32,000 sales conversations and analyzed the results. This analysis unveiled five critical skills that the average sales rep struggles to effectively implement within the sales conversation.

Sales Performance Fail #1: Telling an Effective Client Story

Our brains are wired to seek out stories. Stories give us a glimpse into what our lives could be like if we make the same choice that others have already. However, 59% of sellers do not tell an effective client story within the sales conversation. Client stories are important to your process because they provide tangible proof of success and a vision of what life could be like for prospective customers. They also assure your prospects that they will be in good company, should they decide to move forward with the relationship.

Our assessment did not just focus on the existence of a client story (23% did indeed tell a client story, but failed to make it engaging and/or relate it specifically to the prospect’s situation). In order to be effective, a client story must be tailored to your prospect’s persona, industry, business need, and/or specific pain points. It must also incorporate a compelling narrative and arc to captivate your audience into relating to it.

It is relatively easy to teach sellers how to tell an effective client story. Sellers should be equipped with available stories that align to customer needs, profiles, industries, pain points, etc. Given the information, your sellers then need to practice incorporating the story and making it their own. If appropriate, it is also often helpful to provide slides that sellers can include in their decks that help illustrate the key points of each story.

Get Coaching Tips for Sales Managers in the Full Sales Benchmark Report Here >>

Sales Performance Fail #2: Engaging Delivery

In most companies, sellers are given a script or “talk track” to help guide them through the sales conversation. While this is necessary to optimize your sales process and maintaining your message, sellers do need to learn how to make it their own so they can deliver it in a natural, conversational, and compelling way. This is a key skill that separates top performers from the rest of the pack.

Our assessment found that 56% of sellers are not delivering an engaging message to their prospective customers. While most salespeople can hit the key talking points, features, and positioning marks, few can make them come alive for the person on the other side of the conversation. Many people think this is a skill reserved only for “natural-born salespeople”, but it is absolutely a skill that can be taught and learned—with a bit of practice.

Train your sales reps to do their research, ask engaging questions, tell a compelling client story, and be unexpected. There is nothing like throwing a little curveball into the conversation to bring your prospect back into the meeting and stimulate a reaction.

Get Coaching Tips for Sales Managers in the Full Sales Benchmark Report Here >>

Sales Performance Fail #3: Value Proposition

Your sellers can likely recite your company’s value proposition in their sleep. But that just may be the problem—they sound like they’re sleeping when they try to articulate it to prospects. Our analysis found that, at the end of 50% of sales calls, prospects do not know what the company does or the value that it can provide.

The whole point of the sales call is to clearly articulate what, how, and potentially why your solution solves the prospect’s specific business problem. When sellers fail to engage prospects in your value proposition, they are wasting the most important opportunity your company has to establish an on-going, mutually beneficial relationship.

Most companies will attempt to mitigate this issue with scripting, training, and, perhaps, message certification. But this just scratches the surface. Sellers need to be able to apply your company’s value proposition to specific scenarios that make it relevant and valuable to different prospect’s needs. They also need to be able to deliver it in an engaging manner, not just recite it.

Get Coaching Tips for Sales Managers in the Full Sales Benchmark Report Here >>

Sales Performance Fail #4: Differentiation

After 47% of sales calls, prospects do not have a clear view of how your solution differs from your competitors. The main gap here is that sellers tend to equate differentiation to pricing and features.

Differentiation is a core sales skill that leadership expects all sellers to be able to do. But that expectation is being taken for granted when 47% of your sellers are not able to articulate these differences! They are actually creating more harm than good by taking calls with your customers and prospects. In fact, we found that a full 6.29% where providing absolutely no differentiation at all!

More often, we find that sellers talk about features, rather than specific benefits to the client. To effectively differentiate, sellers must be trained to focus on customer needs and how your solution is uniquely capable of filling that need. Features and pricing do not differentiate your solution from your competitors.

Get Coaching Tips for Sales Managers in the Full Sales Benchmark Report Here >>

Sales Performance Fail #5: Creating a Vision

A full 43% of sellers do not effectively create a vision of use for prospective customers. Without that clarity on how they would use the solution, your prospects likely do not have much urgency to purchase. They know they have an issue that needs to be solved, and they’ve identified you as a potential resource, but if they don’t see specifically how your solution is going to translate to pain relief for their life, they are likely to either continue with the status quo or continue looking for a solution that will fit their needs.

Your marketing and/or business development departments have done some heavy-lifting to get prospects to the stage in the buyer’s journey that they are talking with sales. To lose them simply because they don’t have a clear understanding of how it works is just a tragedy!

The solution comes back to being able to tell a compelling story. Integrating a client story into the discussion provides prospective customers with a vision of use. Also, make sure sellers are doing their research and understand the prospect’s business so they can effectively align your solution with prospective customers’ needs.

Could your sales reps be closing more deals? Absolutely.

But the ability to do so will not just come from optimizing your tech stack or requiring more activity. These adjustments will result in only marginal improvements, at best. Optimizing the conversations your sales reps are having with prospects and customers will yield greater returns with a relatively lower amount of investment.

Begin improving your team’s conversation performance by downloading the full Sales Performance Benchmark Report. Discover what skills other sales organizations focus on to improve their sales interactions and gain specific, actionable coaching tips that sales leaders and frontline managers can start using today to improve sales interactions.

 

SpotLight Report_Blog CTA Sales Performance Fails

How to Master Data-Driven Sales Management

,

A holistic approach to optimizing your sales team with data-driven sales management

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

~ Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World’s Greatest Philosophers

In sales, it’s the close that gets all the glory. When that deal gets marked “Closed Won” and the gong is rung, for a bright and shining moment the people rejoice.

But, for most companies, making a sale isn’t a one-time event. That one shining moment was preceded by weeks or months of drudgery and hard work. That new customer was once but a glimmer in a sea of data and noise. Then they surfaced through an ad campaign or a cold call, and the struggle to reel the account in ensued.

High-performers make a habit of consistently executing each activity, no matter how inglorious, they need to move leads through the funnel efficiently and effectively. And frontline managers who use a formal, data-driven approach to managing and coaching develop more high-performing reps within their teams.

Some sales organizations focus on managing the activities of their sales teams. They set KPI goals on how many calls to place, emails and InMails to send, and connection requests each seller should complete in a given time period and track to that goal. Other companies focus on conversation management. They set specific standards for how sellers should speak during the discovery call, present the demo, and close to next steps and they track how well each seller stays within their set talk-track.

Truly forward-thinking sales organizations focus on sales manager development to optimize their sales teams. They recognize that the frontline sales manager is the catalyst to improving rep performance, and they take a holistic approach to enabling them with data-driven sales management tools and processes. This approach integrates tracking both activity and conversation data to inform their management and coaching interactions.

Data-Driven Sales Activity Management

leveleleven data-driven sales management_300pxSuccess in sales isn’t just about the close. It’s the consistent, collective activities that each member of your team must deploy on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis to keep your pipelines healthy and active. Most of these activities get none of the glory, yet are the foundation of every successful close.

Activity management sets and tracks the rhythm of every sales rep’s day. It’s the number of new prospects, cold calls, emails, follow-ups, etc. that they must execute to guide potential customers through the funnel.

As Bob Marsh, Founder of LevelEleven, puts it, “No matter how good you are at selling, you’re not spending all day closing deals. You’re spending 99% of your time on the behaviors and activities you’re hoping are going to lead to sales.”

Sales activity management provides the data your sales managers need to determine if their reps are performing these activities as expected. This activity data provides your sales managers with visibility into what their high-performers are doing with their time, versus the activity of their mid or low-performers.

Visibility informs your sales managers on how to coach reps to improve the level of activity they need to perform in order to be successful. Data-driven sales activity management also helps sales organizations track and determine what activities create value for your company (and your customers) and which ones do not.

Data-Driven Sales Conversation Management

commercialtribe data-driven sales managementActivity data is critical to improving your sales team’s performance, but it is not the complete story. Conversation optimization closes the gap that is created between efficiency and effectiveness. If two of your reps are making the same number of phone calls and sending the same emails, yet one is outperforming the other by 20%, what is the cause?

Data-driven sales management isn’t just about inspecting activities logged in Salesforce. It also requires cracking open the conversations your sellers are having with prospects and customers to understand where gaps exist within these interactions.

In fact, on average, your reps are wasting 25% of their qualified opportunities once they do get one on the line. This trend is due to several factors

  1. Lack of defined sales process and messaging
  2. Lack of data-driven sales management development and coaching
  3. Lack of a formal sales management cadence

Data-driven conversation management enables sales managers to help their reps make every sales interaction count. It gives managers powerful insights into what their teams are saying and doing within their activities. And it helps them identify what areas each rep needs coaching in to improve each conversation. It also provides your sales organizations with critical intelligence into what your high-performers are doing, so you can apply what is working well to the rest of your team.

Optimize Your Sales Team

A holistic approach to data-driven sales management uses both activity and conversation management systems to give managers and leaders the best view of what variables improve performance—and how to apply them to shift the middle.

Taking a data-driven approach to formalizing your team’s sales management processes helps build a healthy pipeline, optimize pipeline velocity, and gets your team to goal. Contrary to average sales teams, where each quarter is a mad dash to the finish line, data-driven sales teams consistently sustain quota attainment and revenue growth into the future.

Data-driven sales management is not a one-time event but requires continued observation, measurement, and coaching to develop the behaviors that get your team to goal. The good news for today’s busy frontline sales manager is that sales technology now enables data-driven sales management more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

Data-Driven Sales Management Cadence Blog CTA XL

How to Build Your Sales Management Cadence

,

Great sales leaders have a sales management cadence that sets the rhythm of their team.

The idea of a sales cadence is not new. Sales organizations have been using the concept for years to structure how and when sellers deploy touchpoints with prospects and clients throughout the buyer’s journey. Rarely, though, is a sales management cadence used to build formality into frontline sales managers’ schedules.

In his article, Great Sales Leaders Have Incredible Sales Cadence – Do you?, Josh Horstmann explains that in his experience consulting with a great number of organizations, the one thing that separates great sales leaders from average ones is the quality of their sales management cadence.

What is cadence? Cadence is defined as “The flow or rhythm of events, especially the pattern in which something is experienced.”

Building formality into the flow of your sales team’s management rhythm provides sales managers with the framework they need to succeed and sellers with the coaching and development they need to reliably hit their number.

Why You Need A Sales Management Cadence

sales management cadence why 300pxFrontline sales managers today have a lot on their plates. They are hiring and firing, training and coaching, they have new products and messaging to bring to market, CRM data to maintain, reports to pull, meetings to attend, pipeline reviews, joint calling… The list of activities seems endless and they are all high-priority. In this environment, it is difficult for even some veteran sales managers, not to mention your newbies, to know exactly how much time they should be spending on each task or activity. A sales management cadence provides your managers with a framework for success.

Your sales management cadence also helps you set expectations with your managers so you can focus on optimizing these activities, rather than worrying about whether or not they are happening and to what standard. This level of activity management is often deployed for rep performance management, but rarely for frontline managers. With a documented sales management cadence, your managers know exactly what you expect them to do and how often you expect them to do it. There is no ambiguity nor surprises when the time comes for one-on-ones and performance reviews with your managers.

Finally, a sales management cadence gets your entire sales team pulling together. In his article, Horstmann relates the concept of a sales management cadence to rowing a boat. He writes:

It can be such a struggle – as you fight choppy waters, you can’t keep the boat straight, and your progress is stunted. The key is just to find the right rhythm. Once you find that rhythm, the momentum of your entire team will increase, and you can all ride smoothly. All of a sudden you realize that you’re moving at 100 mph, but it feels effortless. All that you notice now is the cool breeze on your face and all the other teams in your wake.

If you have ever rowed a boat, you know exactly what Horstmann is referring to. That feeling—sometimes fleeting—when everyone is in-sync and cutting across the water almost effortlessly. When you build your sales management cadence, you are putting the framework in place to get to the point with your sales team. It takes work and discipline, but it is possible.

Building Your Sales Management Cadence

sales management cadence tool 300pxTo get your team on the same rhythm, you need to take the necessary steps to lay the foundation, create the framework, and then implement your cadence throughout the team. For established sales teams with tenured managers, this process can take some time. Remember to stay focused on the long-term goal and be patient with the process.

Step 1: Start by downloading this free sales management cadence builder CommercialTribe created to help our sales manager enablement customers formalize their management processes.

Step 2: Determine which management interactions are important to your team. You may want to collaborate with your sales enablement and operations teams to align on what interactions are important to the organization as a whole and determine the desired outcomes.

Step 3: Select the desired frequency and duration of meetings for your team. Should frontline managers be doing weekly one-on-ones, bi-weekly pipeline reviews, and so on? Clearly document the specific cadence of these activities in your sales management cadence.

Step 4: Share your new sales management cadence with managers. Note that it is not enough to simply attach it to an email with the ol’ “have at it”. Sit your managers down and outline specifically why you are implementing a sales management cadence, what it means for them and how they should use it, what your expectations are, and how you will be tracking that they are using it.

Expect to coach your sales managers on how to use your sales management cadence on an ongoing basis. Check in with them during your one-on-ones to determine if they are using it and to what standard, listen to and understand their feedback, and offer course-corrections when needed.

Common Mistakes Sales Managers Make with Sales Management Cadence

1. Managers take over sales calls

Joint calling exists so managers can observe their sellers in action, assess their capabilities, and provide coaching. But this cannot happen if every time a manager joins a call the seller barely speaks. That sales call may go well, but what about the thousands of others the manager is not on? It is OK for a manager to have a clearly defined partner role on any sales call, but taking over calls will ultimately impede seller development.

2. Managers observe too few sales calls

Spending time with their team in real-world calls and meetings is a critical sales management activity. Not only can they help close business, but it also allows managers to be attuned to their sellers’ development needs. Inexperienced managers will just join the calls of their newer sellers and trust more tenured sellers have mastered the conversation. This is a short-sighted view of seller development and coaching.

3. Frequently rescheduling or canceling internal meetings

For sales managers, there is always a critical call to join or activity that feels urgent. The temptation is to push regularly scheduled internal meetings to “fight fires”. Instead, sales managers must set the expectation that recurring internal meetings are the most important events on the team’s calendar.

4. Internal meetings lack purpose and agenda

When sellers don’t know what is expected of them and the manager is not prepared, regularly scheduled internal meetings end up wasting time. If this happens enough, trust erodes and everyone takes the time together less seriously.

5. Trying to do too much in one meeting

A sales manager’s favorite catchall is the 1:1. This (often weekly) meeting may be part forecast review, part pipeline review or part deal review—sometimes all at the same time! While lack of time is a real challenge, each of these meetings can be meaty subjects in and of themselves. It’s helpful for both manager and seller to separate these conversations into different meetings to create clarity in how the time will be spent.

The impact of building (and, importantly, maintaining) a sales management cadence is improved sales performance through clarity, structure, and consistency in the interactions between your frontline managers and their sellers. Once your team hits its rhythm, you will experience a renewed flow.

 

Sales Management Cadence Rowers-Blog CTA XL

5 Steps to Sales and Enablement Alignment

,

Develop a high-performing sales team that will crush business goals with sales and enablement alignment

Though sales and enablement are technically on the same team, working toward the same ultimate goal, the two functions in many organizations have grown apart. The reasons for this disconnect vary, but the solution to aligning sales and enablement in your organization is relatively simple. Start creating a stronger, more relevant partnership by focusing on these five keys to sales and enablement alignment.

1. Build A Relationship With Sales Leaders

Communication is key in sales and enablement alignment, and the best way to improve communication is to build a relationship with sales leaders. The best way to begin building this relationship is by scheduling a meeting with senior sales leaders to discuss the sales team’s quarterly and annual goals. Understanding the goals and objectives your sales team is working toward will help you discuss how enablement can help influence those goals and build a highly relevant enablement plan.

Also, establish regular meetings with sales leaders. These ongoing meetings will help ensure your enablement team is on the right track, gain insights into how sales is tracking toward their goals, and inform any shifts in planning or tactics that may be needed. Keeping the line of communication between enablement and sales open helps build and strengthen your relationship and improves enablement initiative relevance, planning, and uptake.

2. Shared Sales and Enablement Goals

sales and enablement alignment goalsSpeaking of goals, sales and enablement should have shared goals that you are working toward. If your enablement team is measured based on a separate set of goals than the sales team, the disconnect is structural. So often, enablement is measured based on metrics such as training participation and content engagement. But remember: the goal of sales enablement is to help sales sell more effectively. Are your metrics measuring that goal?

Though it is more difficult to calculate, sales enablement must always be focused on making sales reps and managers better. For enablement, this is done through training, content, and tools. But these elements must be highly relevant to the specific needs of your sales team—and, in many cases, individual reps and managers—and they must be limited in the amount of disruption to sales’ day-to-day workflow as possible.

3. Get A Seat At The Planning Table

It’s unfortunate how often sales enablement is not represented at the executive planning table. Without enablement participation in the business’s strategy and planning, how can they set relevant goals and plans?

A powerful, effective enablement organization has a huge impact on the growth of a business. We’ve seen many examples of how a strong enablement organization, closely aligned with a forward-thinking sales team, impacts a company’s ability to achieve long-term growth goals.

4. Understand The Sales Role

On the reverse side, it’s also amazing how often sales enablement has no background in sales. Enablement cannot possibly be effective without understanding the unique challenges and needs of a sales rep and manager. This is a pitfall that many organizations, unfortunately, fall into that results in poor performance and a lack of relevance. A lot of time, effort, and money is invested into initiatives that are never adopted by sales.

Build an enablement team with people who have worked in sales before. Then, try cross-training individuals on both sales and enablement teams so there is a better understanding of what team members do. At minimum, enablement should spend time observing as many live or recorded sales calls and meetings as possible to gain insights into how these interactions run.

sales and enablement alignment in-workflow5. Provide Value In-Workflow

There are times when salespeople need to be taken out of the field for training to “sharpen the saw”. But limit this as much as possible with virtual sales training and through platform certification. Sales teams that are trained and certified using platform technology solutions for assessment and coaching not only spend more time selling, but they become far more effective at what they do. This is because enablement organizations that use this approach have shifted to agile sales enablement to provide just-in-time training and individualized coaching and development.

Using this model, reps and managers receive the training and coaching they specifically need—rather than enablement or leadership’s best guess on what the team as a whole needs. And they get it faster without taking them out of their daily workflow, so they can apply it instantly.

These keys may seem like an over-simplistic view of the varying issues sales and enablement functions within most organizations face today. But focusing on improving each of these areas will improve alignment, enable more effective sales managers, and develop high-performing sales teams that will reach your common business goals.

 

Sales and Enablement Alignment Sales Transformation Checklist

The Proven Secret to Empower Better Sales Managers

,

Improve the quality and frequency of conversations between reps and managers with calibrated leadership teams

How do you spend an entire day in a room with sales enablement, sales operations, and sales leaders? In constructive conflict of course!

Throughout 2017, my team and I hosted a series of Sales Manager Effectiveness Workshops across the country. From San Francisco to Dallas, Chicago to Boston sales leadership, enablement, and operations all showed up because there is one key thing they can agree on: We need to help frontline sales managers become more effective.

Though each of these functional areas have a common goal, they all agree with this statement for different reasons:

For Sales Enablement, it’s far easier for managers to kill any change initiative than support it.

For Sales Operations, key business metrics like forecast and pipeline become unreliable without managers who regularly inspect and coach to them.

For Sales Leaders, a sales management cadence looks great on a piece of paper, but when managers are consistently under pressure to choose the urgent over the important it is not well executed.

Calibrated assessment aligns the needs of all three of these stakeholders to help frontline sales managers become more effective by providing the coaching framework they need to succeed.

The Power of Calibration

Jim Collins said: “Building a visionary company requires one percent vision and 99 percent alignment.”

When we’re talking about assessing sales teams, calibration is really code for alignment. When you get sales enablement, sales operations, and sales leaders together in the same room the way we did during our workshops, you get a wide variety of perspectives on the skills or attributes that sales managers need to be successful.

Calibration helps sales organizations work past this noise to align with what the company as a whole needs in order to hit the revenue goal. Stakeholders in each functional area will have their own ideas on how best to get there, but no one group can go off and accomplish goal attainment alone.

Calibration also helps the leadership team build trust and buy-in from their frontline sales managers. Think about it: What if your management team agreed on how they were going to manage? I’m not talking about them being told how to manage, but that they are bought into a unified process of management—and they live it every day. This is the power of calibration.

Calibration Empowers Sales Leaders

Think about your job as the sales leader. You spend a great deal of your time strategizing, planning, organizing and motivating. But at some point, your team has to go out and do the work. And this is where you are rendered almost powerless because you simply cannot be in all places at all times.

Calibration empowers sales leaders to move from just being an average or a good leader to a great one. With calibration, you can rest a little easier knowing that your management team is managing each of their sales teams with consistency in quality and timing. This is often referred to as a sales management cadence.

Click Here: Get Your FREE Sales Management Cadence Builder >>

Once your organization has aligned with the attributes and activities that are important to your sales management process, a cadence helps keep everyone on-track throughout the month, quarter, year, and beyond. It sets the framework by which your sales managers are expected to spend their time in field travel, joint calling, 1-on-1s, team meetings, forecast, pipeline and deal reviews, among other activities.

And while cadence informs the quantity of these interactions, calibration informs the quality.

A good example here is the 1-on-1 meeting between a frontline manager and a rep. You could say that you expect your sales managers to 1) have a clear purpose and agenda (forecast, pipeline, deal, skill building); 2) practice active listening; 3) provide constructive feedback 4) practice guiding vs. telling; 5) close with action items.

When you know that each of your sales managers are managing their teams the same way, and to a similar standard, you’re empowered to let go of the day-to-day of these interactions and start focusing on improving them.

The key to helping your frontline sales managers hit their quotas is making them better at coaching their reps within the meeting and activities that are already on their calendar. Improving the efficacy of these interactions is the greatest lever you have as a sales leader in influencing better outcomes for your entire organization.

Calibration Empowers Frontline Sales Managers

Without a framework to manage, your sales managers will struggle to succeed.

Chances are that your sales managers are largely making it up as they go. They’ve been promoted to the position and given a ton of responsibility, but they were never provided with a framework for how to accomplish their goals. Sales organizations put a lot of investment into training their sellers but very little (if any at all) into training sales managers. As a result, sales managers simply attempt to apply the knowledge and skills that made them successful from their days as sellers. This means that you likely now have a management team largely comprised of Lone Wolves.

If you have read The Challenger Sale then you’ve heard of the “Lone Wolf”. Lone Wolves are deeply self-confident and have a natural ability to succeed on their own instincts. They break rules, are hard to manage, and do things their way or no way at all. They are the least common profile of all salespeople, but they are the second most common among top-performing salespeople.

And what do we do with top-performing salespeople? Promote them to managers!

You’ve tolerated your Lone Wolves because they perform. But are they really impacting your long-term revenue goals positively and effectively? Are your Lone Wolves effectively coaching and developing to improve the performance of their entire sales team, or are they spreading bad habits by just focusing on the ones who emulate their style the closest?

Calibration begins to drive consistency in sales management processes and enables frontline sales managers by providing them with the framework they so desperately need (whether they know it or not). It informs them of what behaviors they need to expect in their teams and how to coach individual reps to close performance gaps.

For example, to run an effective discovery call, your sales organization may agree on a few critical behaviors: 1) set the agenda; 2) deliver an insight; 3) ask discovery questions; 4) present the value proposition; 5) close for next steps.

When you provide frontline sales managers and their reps with these criteria, they have visibility into what will make them successful, what is expected of them, and what they can work on to improve performance.

Furthermore, managers know specifically what areas they need to coach and develop individual reps on to help them improve—whether that rep is a top, middle, or low performer. Rather than simply riding their star sellers to goal each quarter, calibrated assessments enable frontline sales managers to level-up everyone on their team to produce more.

Your frontline sales managers need your help. They need sales leadership, enablement, and operations to align with expectations that drive successful interactions to get at the true root of underperformance. They need a defined management cadence to bring clarity to the activities on their calendars, and they need a process that provides visibility into making those interactions effective. This is where calibrated assessment really makes a difference. Because when you can improve the behaviors of your managers, they improve the behaviors of your reps. That is the impact of a force multiplier throughout your sales organization.

Empower_Sales Management Cadence Blog CTA XL

Leader-First Sales Enablement Activates the Multiplier Effect In Your Team

,

Improve sales performance with leader-first enablement.

Leader-first sales enablement is a relatively new concept to many enablement organizations. The traditional approach is to train reps, but leave sales leaders and managers out because they either don’t feel like they need the training and/or they are too busy to participate. But then everyone wonders why the reps never truly adopted what they learned. With leader-first enablement, enablement and management work together to ensure initiatives are relevant and that they are reinforced across the sales organization.

What is Leader-First Sales Enablement?

what is leader-first sales enablementLeader-first sales enablement recognizes that sales leaders and managers are key to successful transformation adoption among the sales team. 

It involves training and “certifying” your sales managers before reps go through the same training. Some teams will also train managers along with their reps, but training beforehand allows them to provide additional feedback and support before the bulk of the sales team enters training.

A leader-first sales enablement approach also helps foster a close, collaborative alignment between sales and enablement. It improves the communication between the two departments and results in providing better, more relevant services, training, and content to the sales team. When sales and enablement teams are closely aligned and pulling toward the same goals, sales performance quickly improves.

Why You Should Use Leader-First Sales Enablement

When sales managers don’t know what is expected of their reps, they cannot reinforce the skills or content that was taught in training to form the desired behavior changes. Everyone wonders why training was never adopted by sales reps and applied in the field. The answer is that, first, they likely forgot 70% of it within a week. Then, their managers are on them to perform at all costs. They have little (or no) idea what their reps have learned the week before. They are stuck in “status quo” land, and they keep their reps there with them.

Using this approach guarantees that the enablement and sales functions are working against each other, rather than with each other toward their common goal. Leader-first enablement aligns enablement initiatives with sales objectives and goals. It helps enablement develop sales manager partnerships in facilitating long-term initiative success, which leads to improved engagement and adoption. And, as we all know, improved adoption of important enablement initiatives leads to improved sales performance!

How To Structure Leader-First Enablement

structure leader-first sales enablementStructuring a leader-first enablement mindset can be a bit tricky, particularly for legacy organizations that are used to doing business the same way for a long time. But, it’s important to note that the most progressive (and successful) sales organizations in the world are being trained in this way today. The need to change to leader-first sales enablement is economic.

Start by meeting with sales leadership at the beginning of planning period (usually the year or quarter) to understand sales objectives and goals. Then, create an enablement strategy that aligns with these goals and refine it with feedback from sales leadership and management.

Some examples of enablement training we’ve worked with that work particularly well for aligning sales goals with enablement initiatives include:

  • Improving early-stage pipeline size
  • Improve funnel velocity
  • Improve conversion rates
  • Close key skill gaps
  • Get X% more reps to goal
  • Improve retention X%

Once you’ve created a plan and developed the content, train and certify sales managers first; then go to sellers. Establish a framework for how sellers will be assessed and certified during the initiative and provide managers with observation, assessment, and coaching tools.

Don’t let the momentum drop with a “thud” after your training event. Provide managers and reps with on-going reinforcement materials.  These could include:

  • Announcement videos
  • Email templates
  • Highlight reels
  • Success stories (i.e. “Jamie increase her sales 10% by introducing {New Product} to her customers!”)
  • Ongoing observation, assessment, and coaching until mastery of the message, skill, or process is reached

[CHECKLIST] Sales Transformations That Sales And Enablement Can Love >>

4 Mistakes to Avoid In Leader-First Sales Enablement

1. Skipping Alignment

Alignment and buy-in from sales leadership and managers are critical to creating a successful leader-first sales enablement framework. Without close alignment, sales managers will only continue to disengage or ignore completely your enablement initiatives. Ensure enablement initiatives are closely aligned with sales objectives and establish working relationships with leadership and management during training and transformation initiatives.

2. Skipping Reinforcement

I have witnessed countless enablement initiatives end with a “thud” after training or kickoff. Your plan must go beyond the main event to continue providing reinforcement and motivation throughout the year, and possibly beyond. Leader-first sales enablement requires that enablement partner with sales leaders and/or managers to help make reinforcement relevant and impactful.

3. Not Enabling Sales Managers

In leader-first enablement, sales managers need a structured framework to observe, assess, and coach their reps to effectively reinforce desired behavior changes. Work with sales leadership and management to find a tool and create the processes needed to gain visibility into the sales team’s daily interactions with customers and prospects. Gaining insight into how well reps perform in the “real world” provides the most valuable information for sales managers to coach and develop them on an ongoing basis.

4. Not Measuring Progress

How will you know if the training or transformation is having an impact? Integrate your sales and enablement teams to develop a framework to measure how well reps and managers are progressing against the desired changes—and how those changes are translating into revenue for the company!

Leader-first sales enablement is a powerful framework for both sales and enablement leaders to activate sales managers as coaches and improve quota attainment. 

By partnering with sales managers, enablement leaders create a collaborative relationship that ensures both departments are working toward the goals that improve team performance and revenue attainment.

 

Sales Transformation Checklist CTA XL

Do Your Sales Managers Need A Motivation Makeover?

,

How Core Drives Can Deplete Or Increase Sales Manager Motivation

This guest post was originally published on yukaichou.com: Why Sales Manager Motivation Needs A Makeover

Previously, we explored the core drivers of motivation in the sales organization and why our traditional coin-operated, compliance-driven sales culture may finally be ripe for disruption in Why Seller Motivation Needs a Makeover.

Conventional wisdom suggests that we place more training and development emphasis on the seller. Look no further than the budget spent on training sellers vs. managers. In this article, let’s explore why the frontline sales manager is actually the key to change, their current sources of motivation, and how to disrupt the status quo to build a sustainable revenue generating machine.

Sales Managers’ Complex Task List

Most sales managers started as great sellers. Then, they are promoted into a management position where we expect them to gain a completely new skill set than the one that made them a successful seller overnight. Here are just a few of the common tasks sales managers are expected to perform on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis:

  • Field Travel or Joint Calling
  • 1on1s and Team Meetings
  • Forecast Reviews
  • Pipeline Reviews
  • Deal Reviews
  • Account Plan Reviews
  • Territory Plan Reviews
  • Win / Loss
  • Quarterly Business Reviews
  • Performance Reviews
  • Hiring and Recruiting
  • Rewards and Recognition
  • Training

The sales management hierarchy uses Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance to drive compliance and ensure these tasks are happening on schedule. Are our reps doing effective discovery? Join the sales call. Forecast needs to roll up. Better vet it. Is a key deal we’re forecasting to close qualified? Deal review time.

We expect managers to perform these tasks. But doing them well…that’s another story. Try sitting in a forecast review and you may be less confident about the forecast, but you will learn more about that particular seller’s upcoming weekend plans!

Don’t Miss Your Quota

Managers, like sellers, are on a variable comp plan. But, instead of being responsible for one quota, managers are responsible for a team quota. The average sales manager gets about 50% of his sellers to goal, but that is not going to cut it. So how do sales managers make plan? Most managers have a couple stars they can count on to overachieve and maybe they even sell a few deals themselves.

The quota system relies on Core Drive 6: Scarcity and Impatience as managers race to capture their earnings opportunity for the time period before it evaporates. It’s no wonder busy sales managers feel justified abandoning some of the tasks we previously explored that don’t help them draw a straight line toward delivering their number this quarter. For everyone in the sales organization, the short-term pressure to hit quota can feel overwhelming. What’s a sales manager to do?

Overreliance on Black Hat Core Drives is Fatiguing

sales manager motivation burnoutCore Drives 6 and 8 are Black Hat, making us feel obsessed, anxious, and addicted. While they are very strong in motivating behavior, in the long run, they leave us feeling fatigued because we feel like we have lost control.

For the sales manager, this often means managing their team feels more like a game of Survivor than a successful career. When half of your reps are underperforming, you have an open headcount and one of your best sellers is threatening to quit, it can feel like the job never ends. It’s no wonder managers are left feeling overwhelmed and underdeveloped. As a result, the tasks we expect them to perform to help their team hit quota are either sub-optimized or abandoned entirely.

Getting More Of Your Sales Managers To Plan

The sales manager role has gotten far more complex over the years, but we are still using the same motivational drivers to try to achieve our goals. With today’s millennial-minded sales manager who is looking to be developed and not just hit a number, these forces threaten to either burn people out or churn them out of your organization entirely.

Sales and enablement leaders need a thoughtful plan to counteract these forces that drive long-term engagement and skills mastery. These are known as White Hat drivers. White Hat drivers make us feel powerful, fulfilled and satisfied. It may sound obvious, but consistently getting more managers to plan relies on getting more sellers to plan. And the only reliable way to get more sellers to plan is to develop your sales managers into coaches.

Light The Coaching Fuse

We’ve all had a coach at some point in our lives. When effort meets opportunity it feels like anything is possible. That’s what it feels like to be coached. On the flip side, coaching has its own rewards. Phil Collins said: “In learning, you will teach and in teaching, you will learn.”

Use Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning and Calling, to help your sales managers realize their higher purpose beyond just delivering their team quota. The best way to tap into their inner Tony Robbins is to coach the coach. Observing sellers in action to provide coaching is commonplace through joint calling or even field travel, but for some reason, we don’t apply the same philosophy to our managers. Help them realize their calling by sitting in a one-on-one between manager and seller. Don’t talk, just listen, and then use this observation to coach the coach. Coaching your managers to become better coaches will light the motivational fuse that reminds them why they became a sales manager in the first place!

Learn More About Yu-Kai Chou’s Octalysis Gamification Framework for Improving Behavioral Design & Team Engagement >>

 

Give Your Sales Managers A Choice

sales manager motivation coachingTo many, coaching is one of those disciplines that is way more art than science. But if you are going to democratize coaching for all your managers, you will need to demystify what the best coaches in the world do intuitively.

Use Core Drive 3: Empowerment and Creativity to not only get all your managers on the same page but also make them feel enfranchised in the process. To do so, look no further than the list of activities expected of sales managers we discussed above. I’m sure you have a point of view on what should happen during those activities. Build a list of criteria.

Now here’s the magic: Put those criteria in front of your sales managers and let them choose which criteria matter to them. What they choose may be different than what you intended but by giving them a choice, they are FAR more likely to use them to coach their teams.

Time for Your Motivation Makeover

The Black Hat core drives that motivate sales manager behavior aren’t going away anytime soon. And even the White Hat techniques discussed won’t be sustained without becoming part of a larger system that makes managers feel like coaching isn’t such a deadlift each time.

Think about what drives motivation for your sales managers. Is it time for a sales manager motivation makeover? Try integrating these White Hat techniques into a quarterly plan focused on improving one interaction within the team’s workflow. For your sales managers, the goal is to establish a system that puts sales team development on autopilot.