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How To Improve Sales Productivity With CommercialTribe

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Improve sales productivity by improving the performance of your sales managers and reps.

Anyone can become a salesperson, but very few are actually good at it. True professionals are always on the lookout for how they can improve sales productivity. The ability to take those that have chosen to become not just great salespeople, but great sales managers and leaders, and give them the tools they need to improve their craft is why the team at CommercialTribe gets out of bed every day.

The reality of the sales profession is that the “make it or break it” mentality is what is keeping sales organizations from attaining the next level of sales productivity. Our big idea is that we can improve sales productivity by moving sales teams into a sustainable world where people are being coached and developed on an ongoing basis. A world where sales teams reach their maximum productivity not by waiting for the next improvement in CRM technology, but through the improved effectiveness of each of their interactions.

Becoming a great sales professional is just like becoming great at anything. If you want to become a guitar player or basketball player, you practice your craft. You practice every day, and you put your practice to the test by performing in concerts or games. In a quota-driven environment, the ability to hone your craft as a salesperson is compressed. You have to get to performance level fast, and you have very little time in your schedule to do it. You need a tool that enables practice, reinforcement, and feedback to get you to your goal.

Founded by sales executives and built by reps for reps, CommercialTribe has a broad set of observational modalities to capture reps in both simulated and live environments. This gives sales managers and leaders visibility into critical interactions that they are currently blind to and provides reps with a clear path forward to improved performance.

Learn how you can improve sales productivity with CommercialTribe >>>

CommercialTribe—More Than Just A Pitch Certification Platform

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CommercialTribe is a SaaS Sales Team Development Platform—Developed by Salespeople for Salespeople.

After decades of working his way up the ranks of some of the most well-regarded sales organizations, CommercialTribe’s CEO and founder, Paul Ironside, realized that something wasn’t right in the industry. As a sales leader, Paul had access to all the data one would need to analyze sales activity, forecasts, pipeline metrics, cost of sales, goal attainment, etc. But he lacked the ability to actually observe his sellers and managers in action consistently. Without efficient observational capabilities, sales leaders around the world were restricted to viewing their world from the vantage point of lagging indicators. They were only able to see that something was wrong after their team missed their goal or after their top performers quit. This reality was simply unacceptable.

Paul began searching for a tool that would provide him with the ability to observe his sales team in action and empower sales managers and leaders to coach and develop individuals based on their specific needs. While his search for what he needed came up empty, the idea continued to fester and grow. Finally, he realized what he had to do. He had to create it himself.

From Paul’s vision came CommercialTribe. Born as a practice platform for sales reps, CommercialTribe has matured into so much more. As we partnered with some of the most progressive sales organizations in the world, such as LinkedIn, HubSpot, nVidia, Pure Storage, and more, the insights that our customers provide have helped shape the CommercialTribe of today—and continue to do so in the future.

CommercialTribe is no longer simply a practice and pitch certification platform. It is an environment that empowers the entire sales organization—from sellers and their managers to sales operations and enablement—CommercialTribe has become a platform that aligns the entire sales organization to increase productivity and improve performance.

From onboarding to launching a new product, re-branding to sales transformations, upskilling to professional development and more, global sales organizations rely on CommercialTribe to execute, measure, coach and improve.

Ready to take your sales organization to the next level? Schedule a demo today and tell us what your sales team needs!

Request a Demo

Sales Assessments That Will Save Your Sales Kickoff

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Avoid the post-sales kickoff “thud” with observational sales assessments.

Planning sales kickoff and getting all your stakeholders, content, consultants and vendors in line is no small task. Nor is it a small item on the company income statement. You know that your goal is to create lasting impact that will provide a return on investment for your organization by transforming seller and sales manager behavior to produce revenue. What you don’t know is exactly how you are going to do that in the months following the hype and charisma exuded at sales kickoff. Observational sales assessments provide visibility and help ensure initiatives launched during sales kickoff live throughout the year.

Observational Sales Assessments

Sales Assessments-BaselineA sales assessment is the deliberate and systematic assessment of sellers selling in both mock and live environments based on a set of observable attributes which align directly to core selling skills and behaviors.

The reason assessment is so powerful is its ability to expose gaps in seller ability at the skill or behavioral level and accurately measure progress made in developing these skills over time. Without a structured assessment approach, you are relying on the “spray and pray” method to training and development—with sales kickoff being the place where you spray and the balance of the year you pray.

Many enterprise sales training programs today use traditional learning and development practices that disseminate knowledge and test a person’s ability to regurgitate that knowledge, mainly using quizzes. While this may work well in other functional areas of an organization, it is critical that your sales team not only represent that they have internalized the knowledge, but that their selling behavior in a live-call or demo setting have changed as a result.

Observing and assessing sellers selling has traditionally been difficult for organizations to do. Without the proper tools to do so, the main measurement for whether or not your sales launch initiative introduced during kickoff has taken root is to analyze lagging indicators, such as the number of new product units sold in its first quarter and year.

How To Use Observational Sales Assessments

Typically, a sales kickoff is a two-day PowerPoint parade where the heads of various programs present, a sales success story or a few are shared, and perhaps there are some breakout sessions for key skills or functional areas. But nothing is really accomplished. Let me prescribe how you can use sales assessments to not only accomplish behavior change in your sales team but also measure the return on investment of your kickoff initiative throughout the rest of the year—and into the future.

Calibrate and Baseline Sales Assessments to Gain Visibility

Sales Assessments-Team Report-BaselineBegin measuring your sales team’s behavior with baseline sales assessments. Do this by creating custom sales assessment maps for each area within your sales force that makes sense for your organization. For example, different regions, business units, and function often need to be assessed on different criteria.

The assessment map is the most important step in this process—it creates the infrastructure for your ongoing sales assessment system. Therefore, gaining buy-in from sales leaders and managers on the observable attributes that will be assessed is essential. If they suggest changes to the assessment map, it’s an excellent indication of buy-in.

The observable attributes and scoring used in your sales assessment maps help keep individual assessments consistent and unbiased. Use a five-point scale and define what each score means, one through five, to eliminate some subjectivity in the assessment scoring. Instead of asking a manager to assess if their seller conducted a discovery conversation (a sales skill), ask them to score how well the seller used first and second level questions to uncover and confirm a business challenge that the prospect believes is worth solving (an observable attribute). A score of one means no discovery occurred and the seller jumped right into demoing the product. Three means the seller did a sufficient job in asking questions but did not confirm that the business challenge is worth solving. And five indicates a best practice approach to discovery.

The combination of a five-point scale and observable attributes make sure that the assessment information can be easily analyzed and understood by all stakeholders, such as enablement, sales leaders, training vendors, sales managers, and reps. In other words, each stakeholder knows that everyone was assessed based on the same criteria and can make decisions based on the baseline sales assessment report.

Enablement, sales leaders, and training vendors are likely going to be more interested in the aggregate results, so they can understand which specific selling behaviors are most important to focus coaching efforts around in order to get the greatest “bang for their buck.” While sales managers and reps are going to be more interested in individual results, so they understand specifically who needs coaching and what they need to be coached on in order to improve their sales results.

Use Visibility to Coach and Develop More Effectively

Sales Assessments-Coaching MethodologySales assessments alone won’t improve seller behavior. Sellers must next be coached and developed on those areas that need improvement. This means that sales managers must be able to effectively coach and develop their sellers using the information provided to them in baseline sales assessments.

The beauty of using sales assessments to develop your sales team is that they create a sort of choreography to coaching discussions. Armed with sales assessments, busy sales managers become empowered with a prescriptive coaching methodology that integrates ongoing seller development into their daily and weekly meetings and is focused on impacting behavior to influence results in the business.

Progression Sales Assessments

Sales Assessments-Progression

Once your sellers have had the opportunity to go through additional coaching—and, perhaps, more learning and practice—to develop their knowledge and skills, they are ready for another assessment. In this round of assessment, we are looking to determine where progress has been made. Compare baseline sales assessment scores with new scores to determine how well individuals and the team as a whole have picked up the new information and are using it in the field.

Progression sales assessments should be run in the same manner and measure the same observable attributes that were used in the baseline assessment. This ensures that you are comparing apples to apples and are measuring sellers based on those specific behaviors you need to change in order to make your kickoff initiative a success.

Why Are Sales Assessments Important?

When you and your team have invested as much as you do into your sales kickoff, you want to know that your sales force is actually going to use the information to improve their performance. You want to know that you are impacting your company’s revenue goal attainment and make the sales kickoff the beginning of an ongoing development effort that directly impacts selling results as opposed to a jolly event to build camaraderie.

Simply stated, sales assessments provide visibility into the strengths and weaknesses of your team, allowing for more effective and precise development of your sellers. A doctor would not operate on a patient without first conducting a thorough diagnosis to identify what and where needs fixing, right? Then why would you coach and develop your sellers without conducting a similar diagnosis?

 

Sales Assessments-Kickoff-Sales Transformation Checklist

CommercialTribe Case Study | HubSpot Sales Team Development

HubSpot aligns sales and operations with CommercialTribe to put the measurement of development of their SMB sales team on auto-pilot.

HubSpot is the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales software company. Founded in 2006, the company has grown to serve over 34,000 customers in 90 countries and employs nearly 1,800 people across seven offices, with hundreds of sales team members worldwide.

HubSpot is renowned for its strong company culture and commitment to promoting from within, which has been key in supporting the significant growth the business has experienced over the years.

The Challenge: Developing a Young Sales Team as They Sprint for Monthly Quotas

Mike Pici, Director of Sales for HubSpot’s SMB sales team, oversees eight frontline managers, who each manage around ten sales reps. The team is mostly made up of young sellers led by a group of first-time millennial managers.

If you think that the sprint to the end of each quarter is a challenge, get this: Pici’s team operates on a monthly quota system. His team of roughly 70 sales managers and reps reset the clock every 30 days. This pace makes it very difficult to spend time developing junior employees and first-time managers because everyone is working to get to the finish line and hit the number.

As HubSpot continues to broaden its platform with innovative new products, Pici’s team needed to evolve their process. It became increasingly essential to be able to conduct high-quality discovery calls to ensure reps understood prospects’ needs and could accurately position HubSpot as the solution to their problem. As the business continued to grow rapidly, this discovery call—the Inbound Growth Assessment (IGA) in HubSpot vernacular—increasingly became an area of focus as a vital step in the sales process.

Mike Pici is a new breed of sales leader. Though his team works hard and he deals with the constant pressures of reaching monthly quotas with a young and developing sales team, he is still committed to carving out time to develop his people. However, like many sales leaders who believe in development, Mike continually grapples with having to re-invent the wheel on where and how to develop his team.

Channing Ferrer, the VP of Sales Operations & Strategy at HubSpot, was experiencing Mike’s pain from the other side of the office. Channing and his operations team conducted a study to determine the fundamental attributes and skills of a successful HubSpot sales rep. While he knew that attributes and skills were indicative of what makes a great sales rep, he did not have a mechanism with which to measure an individual’s strengths and weaknesses against these parameters. Nor did he have a clear path forward to coaching and developing the skills the team needed to gain the attributes and skills they needed to be successful.

Both Mike and Channing needed a systematic approach to pinpointing skills gaps, coaching for improvement, and measuring progress.

The Solution: Establishing a Sales Team Development Program

When HubSpot partnered with CommercialTribe, they found a solution tailor-made for developing sales teams.

Working with CommercialTribe, Mike focused the development of his sales team on improving the IGA. The IGA was a relatively new piece of the sales process, as HubSpot has been shifting from solely selling marketing automation to including their sales platform in the product mix. The IGA intends to frame a bigger customer problem and how HubSpot’s broad solution can address that pain.

CALIBRATE

HubSpot-Sales-Team-Development-BaselineCommercialTribe worked with both Mike and Channing to develop a customized assessment map that accounted for what Channing knew were attributes of a successful HubSpot sales rep with what Mike cared about specifically for running a successful IGA.

This calibration exercise also built trust between Mike and Channing’s departments to ensure that the attributes were correct and the assessment would be adopted by all parties.

BASELINE

Within two weeks after the assessment map was built, the sellers on Mike’s team had submitted a live recording of an IGA call for assessment.

CommercialTribe’s baseline assessment returned results that confirmed Mike’s hypothesis that there was room for improvement on the IGA call. While the team overall was certainly market ready, there were specific areas that, if improved, could make a significant impact on conversion rates at the top of the sales funnel.

COACH

Now it was incumbent upon Mike and his managers to take action. The baseline assessment produced insight into where to coach, but now they needed to put those insights into action during team and 1-on-1 coaching sessions.

CommercialTribe provided coaching guides for Mike and his management team to formalize coaching interactions with a clear and constructive agenda. The coaching guides led managers through the agenda to review the baseline assessment with their reps and align on what makes a great IGA. They would then discuss what the rep did well and where they could improve. Last, they would discuss and agree on actions that they could take to close the skill gaps.

Managers also used CommercialTribe’s “highlight reel”, which contained a different seller demonstrating a given attribute from the assessment map in 1 to 3-minute snippets. Sales reps and managers were able to view and return to the highlight reel on their own time and during coaching sessions to reinforce what an excellent IGA should look like.

“The value of the unbiased 3rd party assessment was huge,” describes one of Mike’s frontline sales managers. “Separating the assessment from coaching allowed us to coach constructively and focus on the fundamentals of great sales conversations by getting back to the basics, like focusing on why setting an agenda matters.”

“Perhaps one of the most surprising and rewarding moments for me,” shares one frontline manager, “was when a veteran rep who was very difficult to engage in change responded positively to the experience and we were able to open up a new coaching dialogue.”

PROGRESSION

HubSpot-Sales-Team-Development-ProgressionWith the baseline results in front of them and coaching delivered against strengths and weaknesses, Mike Pici’s team was ready to submit their IGA calls for a second performance assessment.

Simply put: Mike’s team got better at delivering the IGA.

More specifically, the team’s IGA improved by 22% overall. The team saw huge gains in setting an effective agenda, focusing on differentiation, and delivering an insight. Mike used this opportunity to pause and celebrate with his team, calling out a few cases of exceptional improvement. One team improved by a whopping 44%, three sellers received perfect marks, and five achieved over a 50% lift in their IGA delivery.

The Result: Sales Team Development on Auto-Pilot

Channing and Mike expect to see this improvement show up in his team’s ability to build early-stage pipeline, an area that is hard to get management focus on given the monthly quota system at HubSpot.

“By providing them with clear insight and direction, busy sales managers can now see where and how to coach the key behaviors that move our pipeline forward,” says Ferrer.

The development of a sales team doesn’t begin and end within a quarter but is an on-going commitment to continually improve. “Once I determine where we want to get better, there is a system that puts the measurement of development of my team on auto-pilot,” says Pici.

With the Inbound Growth Assessment call clearly improved, Mike Pici will now turn his attention to the next development area for his team. A quarterly development calendar has been built using a menu of interactions, including not only developing how his reps interact with customers but also how his sales managers interact with their teams.

Could a 20% improvement in the effectiveness of your sales team benefit your organization?

Put the development of your sales team on auto-pilot when you subscribe to CommercialTribe. Request a demo today!

About HubSpot

HubSpot is a leading inbound marketing, sales, and CRM growth stack. Since 2006, HubSpot has been on a mission to make the world more inbound. Today, over 34,000 customers in more than 90 countries use HubSpot’s award-winning software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers. HubSpot Marketing includes social media publishing and monitoring, blogging, SEO, website content management, email marketing, marketing automation, and reporting and analytics. HubSpot Sales enables sales and service teams to have more effective conversations with leads, prospects, and customers. HubSpot CRM helps sales teams organize, track, and grow their pipeline. All three platforms integrate right out of the box and are available for free to start.

Learn More About HubSpot

About CommercialTribe

CommercialTribe is the standard SaaS platform for developing and coaching sales teams to improve performance. We create an environment to unlock the potential of every rep and manager to get better—every quota carrying year—by intelligently observing reps in multiple selling scenarios, constructively assessing their behavior, and providing managers with clear coaching paths to close rep development gaps—and improve their coaching skills.

Learn More About CommercialTribe

How To Make Quota Every Quarter with a Sales Development Loop

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The sales development loop helps you get your team to quota every quarter.

Your revenue goal for the quarter is clear. How you reach it is not. In fact, it’s likely that only 57% of your sales reps will hit their quota. What might that mean for you if this trend continues? Let’s try not to think about it.

The solution to the problem is clear: sales team development. Sales team development refers to the development of your entire sales team, from management to reps. What most sales leaders don’t realize is how much of an impact frontline sales manager development has on goal attainment. A company that invests $2,500 per frontline sales manager per year increases revenue plan attainment by 18.4%—on average, 106.7%—compared to those who don’t. Now, let’s think about what that might do for your career!

The sales development loop is a simple, yet highly effective process for improving the performance of busy sales teams. It puts the development of your entire team on auto-pilot by running each loop over the course of a quarter (three months), broken up into three 30-day segments.

Though we have run development loops that attempted to improve multiple types of sales interactions, we’ve found that they are far more successful when each loop is focused on just one specific interaction. Begin your sales development loop by identifying a specific area of the sales process that you want to improve.

For many teams just getting started with the sales development loop process, we recommend starting with the discovery call (or equivalent). The main reason for this is, based on the 30,000+ sales calls we’ve observed, 25% of qualified opportunities are wasted due to poor discovery calls. Even just a small decrease in that number will have a huge impact on your business.

Note that sales team development also includes managers, so you can also target the development of your sales managers using the development loop. Because training dollars are traditionally spent on sales skills training for reps, few managers receive relevant sales management coaching needed to develop critical management skills. Leaders who are interested in the development of their sales managers might target the forecast review, for example, to improve the effectiveness of manager-to-seller interactions.

The main idea is to pick just one interaction to focus on for each sales development loop. Once you decide on that interaction, take the time to identify what behaviors and characteristics make that interaction successful to create an “assessment map”.

Step 1: Calibrate Your Sales Development Loop

Download a Free Sales Assessment Map Template to Calibrate Your Sales Development Loop | CommercialTribeYour sales assessment map can be a simple spreadsheet that plots attributes and behaviors you are looking for in the interaction against the score you would give for each seller or manager being assessed. For example, when assessing your team’s sales discovery calls, you’ll want to identify how well they set an agenda, ask qualifying questions, build rapport, and close for next steps. Rate each behavior on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 meaning “non-existent” and 5 meaning “excellent”.

The sales assessment map will help you stay focused on the behaviors that you’ve identified as most important to making the interaction successful. It will also help keep your scoring and feedback consistent and objective for each person being assessed.

FREE Sales Assessment Map Template! Download Now >>

Step 2: Baseline Sales Skills Assessment

Take the first 30 days of the sales development loop to observe your sales team’s behavior in the specific development area you are focusing on to get a baseline for where your team’s skill level is currently. Resist the temptation to try and fix problems as you see them. Just focus on understanding the current state.

There are two ways you can observe your sales team. You can either sit in on a live call or you can have them submit a call recording. Either way, have your assessment map ready for each call you observe so you can score performance as you go.

Call recording can save you a bit of time, and it provides you with real-life examples of what great performance looks like. When you start coaching your team in the next step, showing these examples to your reps will help them understand exactly what you are looking for.

Step 3: Activate Sales Coaching & Development

The next 30 days of the sales development loop is dedicated to coaching. Based on your assessments, how can you most efficiently allocate your time and energy toward developing your sales team to have maximum impact? This will take some practice, but getting good at it will save you a lot of time.

Chances are you will find that some reps are great in some areas, but need further development in others. Your assessment maps will highlight specifically who needs help in each area, allowing you to efficiently and effectively coach based on personal strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Step 4: Measure Sales Development Progression

Finally, the last 30 days of the sales development loop is meant to observe your team a second time and look for skills progression. Can you see evidence that your team is improving? Celebrate progress on the skill the same way you would celebrate hitting quota and you will be on your way toward creating an environment for your people to get better.

Sales team development isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain type of forward-thinking sales leader to commit to “slowing down to go further.” But once they see the final results, those that do make the commitment are energized and excited to do more. And, no, it’s not just about keeping your job. It’s really about building a world-class sales organization and a sustained revenue-generating machine through continual coaching and development.

Free Sales Management Cadence Builder

CommercialTribe Case Study | How To Fix a Sinking Sales Demo

Fixing a poor sales demo in a global organization feels like trying to turn the Titanic.

When a multi-billion dollar global financial services organization realized that their sales demo was sinking, they turned to CommercialTribe to turn the Titanic.

The Company

A multibillion-dollar financial services company that specializes in developing software to help improve compliance and reduce costs for companies of all sizes. They employ hundreds of sales executives worldwide.

The Challenge

When the company realized that 75% of their sales team was unable to effectively deliver a sales demo, they knew they needed a quick solution to the problem. Not only were these sales demos not turning into revenue, but in a quickly maturing market, this meant that the company stood to lose critical market share.

There are many ways to train a sales team. But when you have to turn the Titanic, you can’t just tell your engineers to shovel more coal into the furnace and hope for the best.

The Vice President of Sales knew he needed to find a scalable, proven program that would work across his diverse teams. He wanted a solution that would not only train his sales team, but require them to practice, and then apply the needed changes in their sinking sales demo. That is when he came across CommercialTribe’s unique sales team development platform.

“Before CommercialTribe, we were focused on telling our buyers what the solution is and what it does,” he explains. “That’s not the most effective sales approach. Now, as a result of our practice initiative, we are back to what matters most—what it means and why our customers buy.”

The Solution

Salespeople who are able to identify specific pain points and clearly articulate value in a sales demo are 35% more likely to be selected as the preferred vendor. And yet, time and time again, we sit through the same old “about us” and “feature-dump” demo.

With 57% of his reps improving their sales demo results, the proof of concept was impossible to ignore.

Using CommercialTribe’s sales development SaaS platform, the sales leader was able to quickly identify the top-performing demo and then align the rest of his team of sales representatives around the message. All in just 15 days. With 57% of his reps improving their sales demo results, the proof of concept was impossible to ignore.

“CommercialTribe has been a primary ingredient in our culture shift. The team is not only embracing the concept that practice drives results, but are eager for the next exercise.”

The Results

CommercialTribe fixed the demo problem. But it didn’t stop there. CommercialTribe is now the sales team’s solution for ongoing sales skills improvement, which also provides a framework for effective coaching. So far, his sales team has improved on such fundamental sales skills as

  • Setting an agenda that focuses on the audience’s pain points
  • Positioning the solutions to solve specific challenges
  • Clearly articulating differentiation
  • Helping the client see themselves using their solution

The organization’s sales training program’s ramp to productivity has been significantly reduced — from several months to a matter of weeks using a formal practice, assessment, and coaching process. With an unsinkable new sales demo and new-found agility to respond to market changes on deck, this global Fortune 500 financial services organization is steaming on to reach ever higher goals and accept new challenges.

“CommercialTribe’s service has been outstanding. So many times you buy a solution only to find it unsupported. CommercialTribe has been proactive, responsive, and with us every step of the way.”

About CommercialTribe

CommercialTribe is the standard SaaS platform for developing and coaching sales teams to improve performance. We create an environment to unlock the potential of every sales rep and manager to get better—every quota carrying year—by intelligently observing reps in multiple selling scenarios, constructively assessing their behavior, and providing managers with clear coaching paths to close rep development gaps—and improve their coaching skills.

Learn More About CommercialTribe

Want To Know What Makes A Good Sales Manager? Ask Google

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Google observed and analyzed 10,000 manager interactions and found out what makes a good sales manager.

Google is the gold standard when it comes to using data-driven insights to make decisions. Constantly on the lookout for ways to optimize their business based on data, Google executives wanted to find out if there was a way that they could effectively engineer the perfect manager.

Google, like many companies, traditionally hired and promoted based on technical talent. But what did their research show? Of the top eight characteristics that make a good manager, technical expertise comes in last. What mattered more?

    1. Be a good coach
    2. Empower your team and don’t micromanage
    3. Express interest in employee’s success and well-being
    4. Be productive and results-oriented
    5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team
    6. Help your employees with career development
    7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team
    8. Have key technical skills, so you can help advise the team

Great Coaching Skills Make a Good Sales Manager

What really struck me about this is that the number one, most important skill that makes a good sales manager is to be a good coach. This is precisely the challenge that we’ve been solving for our clients here at CommericalTribe. We all know from experience that it’s not enough to just send your salespeople to training and then throw them at a list of prospects and hope for the best. Sales teams benefit most when someone takes the time to observe what they do, assess their performance, and then provide constructive feedback on what they did well and where there are opportunities for improvement.

In short, sales teams benefit most from having a great coach. Tweet: Sales teams benefit most from having a great coach. https://ctt.ec/Nh7ZU+ #SalesManagerDevelopment #SalesGoals

Our research shows that very few sales managers are very good at this. Why? Many companies don’t invest more than cursory training for our sales managers to develop their management and coaching skills. Without this investment in the development of frontline sales managers, your sales team is far less likely to hit their goals.

How often do you discuss how to be an effective sales coach with your managers? And how well do they understand how being a good coach fits into their daily interactions?

What Does it Take to Be A Good Sales Coach?What makes a good sales manager? Nature vs. Nurture | CommercialTribe Sales Training & Enablement Solution

Being a good coach is all about getting people to perform at their best.

John Wooden, one of the most respected coaches in sports history who led the UCLA basketball team to win ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, said: “In the end, it’s about the teaching, and what I always loved about coaching was the practices.”

Great coaches don’t focus on the personal glory of the game and the fame of the win. They measure their own success by how much their team is able to achieve. This mindset doesn’t always come naturally to highly successful sales reps that have been promoted into management.

Sales leaders who want sales managers who are great coaches can start by specifically looking for characteristics that create good coaches in the recruiting process. When IBM goes into colleges to recruit, they look at the students with undergraduate degrees in areas such as psychology, counseling, and teaching. They find the ones that had even just a small amount of business acumen and point them toward career tracks in sales management.

IBM has been doing this for a long time, because they understood early on that good sales managers are good coaches. And good coaches guide people. Students who were interested in these types of degrees, IBM discovered, were usually inherently interested in guiding people and already exhibited the coaching characteristics that make a good sales manager.

Making A Good Sales Manager: Is It Nature Or Nurture?

What makes a good sales manager? Sales Team Success | CommercialTribe Sales Training & Enablement SolutionTalent is something that people are born with, skill is something that is earned. Tweet: Talent is something that people are born with, skill is earned. https://ctt.ec/9adMR+ #SalesSkills #SalesManagerDevelopment

Some people are born with the characteristics that can make a great coach. But many, many others need to develop it.

Jack Welch, the celebrated growth CEO of GE, was not always the great leader we think of today. Early on in his career at GE, he was described in a memo from the head of HR as “arrogant, couldn’t take criticism, and depended too much on his talent instead of hard work and his knowledgeable staff” (Mindset, pg. 127). To his credit, Welch had the good sense to recognize this as a growth opportunity and worked tirelessly throughout his career to become a better coach and the leader we know and recognize today.

Developing great coaching skills requires commitment, work, and practice. If you want to develop your sales managers into coaches, you must first take the time to coach them and invest in tools to help them scale their coaching across their entire team.

You don’t need to have a team of statisticians on staff to understand what makes a good sales manager for your organization. You and your management team do; however, need to be able to observe and assess sales manager and seller interactions, to provide coaching. This observe, assess, and coach methodology is how sales teams continually improve in becoming better managers and closing more deals.

Download the Free Sales Manager Guide and Learn What Makes a Good Sales Manager | CommercialTribe Sales Training & Enablement Solution

A Common Sense Guide to Recording Sales Calls

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Recording sales calls doesn’t have to be a legal drama with this common sense approach.

When recording sales calls, it is always a good idea to tell the person on the other line that the call is being recorded. This is not just for legal reasons, it’s also about building (or maintaining) trust and rapport. If you start your call by first informing and then asking politely if you can record a call, you are legal in all US states.

This process is as simple as saying: “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today, Christine. I would like to record our call today so I can focus on our conversation rather than taking notes during it. Is that OK with you?”

Don’t worry about people abandoning a phone call just because you’re recording it. Call recording is a common occurrence these days, particularly in sales and customer service interactions. People have come to expect it. Your odds of getting struck by lightning are better than the person on the other line saying no (a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point).

Alternatives to Recording Sales Calls

If your organization has a policy against recorded calls, or if many of your sales interactions take place in person, there are common sense alternatives. One tried-and-true approach is a joint call with manager and rep. Their presence on a call should still be announced, but this allows sales coaching to occur without recording the call.

You can also practice sales calls, to be submitted and reviewed by management prior to making live client or prospecting calls. Common practice interactions include practicing voicemails, first pitches, walking through a demo, and roleplaying with a colleague. Practicing sales interactions improves seller performance without throwing leads away.

Recording Sales Calls – The Fine Print

Recording Sales Calls in the U.S.

Understanding the Legality of Recording Sales Calls | CommercialTribe Sales Enablement & Training SolutionBefore we get into the legalities of sales call recording, let me be up-front in telling you that I am not a lawyer and you should by no means consider this legal advice. Please consult your own general counsel if you have specific questions or concerns regarding recording sales calls.

California has the most stringent regulations regarding recording sales calls (real shocker there). Ever litigious, California courts have ruled over several call recording cases brought forward by its citizens over the years. The California Supreme Court has even gone so far as to rule (more than once) that a company that is not located in the state of California but is speaking with a California resident, must comply with California call recording law. In effect, making California law the law of the land, unless you don’t intend to do business in California.

This ties back to the first section of this blog. If you simply inform all participants that the call is being recorded as previously described, you are on the right side of the law in all 50 states without needing to worry about the specifics of each state.

Most webinar and conference providers automatically inform participants that a call is being recorded when they join. This is something that you will want to check on with your service provider. Even when you have an automatic announcement in place, it’s still a good idea to reinforce the message at the beginning of the call. Again, your main goal is to avoid the potential “yuck” feeling your prospects or clients might get by just being upfront with them.

Luckily, things only get easier from there. Simply put, U.S. federal law permits the recording of telephone calls and in-person conversations with the consent of at least one party. Technically speaking, this means that if you are party to the sales call and you consent to you recording the call, you’re not going to be raided by the FBI or the NSA.

Legal complications do enter the picture when you start looking at state call recording laws. Believe it or not, 38 states and the District of Columbia have all adopted the federal “one-party” requirement (that is a lot higher than I was expecting). The rest require varying degrees of what is called “two-party” consent but what actually means “all-party” consent. In other words, all parties involved in the sales call or in-person conversation need to consent to the conversation being recorded.

Click here for a full list of laws governing recording sales calls by state.

Recording International Sales Calls

As you might imagine, laws governing call recording vary widely from one country to another. Generally speaking, if you’re making sales calls into Canada and/or Europe you need to make sure you are getting consent from all parties involved in the conversation being recorded.

My 2nd best advice in this matter (again, 1st best advice is given in the first section of this blog!) is to simply do a Google search for the country you are calling to educate yourself and make sure you are finding information that has been updated recently, as laws do change.

The legality of recording sales calls comes up fairly often when we’re talking with clients and contacts here at CommercialTribe. The answer does not need to be as complicated as one might think. There is no law that flatly prohibits recording inbound and outbound interactions with your clients or potential clients. The complexities are in who needs to be involved in consenting to the recording.

In any case, it is simply best practice to be open about the fact that you are recording the call and gain the other party’s consent in the first place. This will not only protect you from potential legal repercussions but will also ensure you are not doing anything that will harm the relationship you are building with the other party.

Download Our Free Common Sense Sales Recording Scripts >>

Why Sales Team Development Is Exactly Like Saving For Your Retirement

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If long-term, sustained sales growth is part of your goal, you need to get serious about sales team development—before it’s too late.

Do you often wonder why you should be saving for retirement? Probably not. But how often do you wonder if you should be investing in your sales team’s development? Here are two commonly cited statistics that are meant to scare you:

What do these two statistics have in common? I will argue that the root cause is actually the exact same problem. Let me explain.

If you think retirement planning is your parent’s problem, I’ve got news for you. According to a recent study, nearly half of millennials have no retirement savings. The younger generation doesn’t see retirement as a priority, thinking first about student loans and financing the present instead. Getting people to save for retirement is an age-old problem, primarily because of “longevity disconnect bias”. People have a really hard time imagining what the future will be like, so they tend to ignore or de-prioritize it.

If you are a sales manager, you are faced with this same bias every day. Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You manage a sales team and your primary objective is to get your team to quota each month, every quarter. In the short-term, that naturally means inserting yourself into deals that are closest to closing, personally carrying any deal you need to, and riding your stars to try and make the number. In the short-run, that may indeed be the best plan to reach your goal.

But what sacrifices are you making when you prioritize short-term goals for long-term sales team development?

You are putting minimal attention on cultivating your early-stage pipeline for future quarters, you are creating dependencies within your team by trying to personally make up for deficiencies, and developing new sales stars gets lost in the chaos.

This pattern of putting short-term interests ahead of long-term sales team development may work for some time…but the music always stops. It’s the equivalent of waking up at 65 and realizing you have nothing saved, so you better keep working because retirement ain’t gonna happen anytime soon.

Make sales team development your priority

One of the investment products that may make sense for retirement is an annuity. An annuity is basically an insurance contract in which you pay a financial institution a lump sum or series of payments to be invested. Your long-term investment ultimately provides you with a guaranteed regular income in the future.

To get past “longevity disconnect bias” think in these terms when it comes to your sales team development. Ask yourself: “Are each of my salespeople paying me today?”

If not, what investments do you need to develop a future revenue stream? Delivering on your quota becomes more sustainable when you have more sellers on your team who are paying you.

Imagine your future self. How does it feel to have an entire team of sellers paying you?

Sellers do come and go, so it’s true that unlike annuities, they won’t be paying you forever. But there is actually another form of payment that—to some sales managers—is just as important. It is your reputation as a coach and your own development as a sales leader. When you commit to your sales team’s development, you become recognized as a multiplier of talent. You become someone that top talent wants to work for, and someone that people in your organization want to work with.

Continuing to look into the future, imagine what this would mean for your career. Sustainable, recurring “income” takes away the stress of just getting by day-to-day. And it allows you to strategically focus on the real challenges confronting you and your team in delivering sales objectives.

This future you’re imagining is not for everyone. Despite society’s best efforts, some of us are simply not going to save for retirement. Sales managers who recognize the long-term benefits of sales team development and are passionate about making it a priority are far more successful in generating revenue. If you are one of those rare sales managers who believe that the development of your team may be the single most important variable in your future success, you may be interested in learning about a proven sales team development framework, which we recently presented during BrightTalk’s Sales Training & Leadership Summit.

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The Essential Dreamforce 2016 Game Plan

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Each year, Salesforce.com does a spectacular job in bringing together speakers sessions, activities focused on helping you learn, grow, and succeed – no matter your industry, company size or role.

As a past attendee, I know that the sheer scale of the event can be overwhelming, and you really have to approach the four days with a solid game plan. That’s why we scoured the agenda and came up with this list of sessions – covering hot topics across onboarding, training, coaching, and analytics – that progressive sales and enablement leaders should not miss. We’re especially excited about The Sales Summit – one day of insightful sessions including four tailored tracks for Sales Strategy, Sales Leadership, Sales Development, and Sales Operations.

1: Drive Amazing Results with Modernized Prospecting: Tips and Tricks
Tuesday, Oct 4, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM | San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, Yerba Buena Salon 8

Here are back-to-back sessions on sales development in a hyperconnected world. Join social selling experts leading discussions around success metrics, sales discovery, and the importance of social media in your sales strategy. Marketing expert Jill Rowley explores why the modern buyer is overwhelmed.

2: Standing Out as a Strong Sales Leader in the Age of the Customer
Tuesday, Oct 4, 2:15 PM – 3:45 PM | San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, Yerba Buena Salon 9

Salesforce will share how the company has managed a rapidly growing sales organization. Then, a panel of experts will cover leadership in sales prospecting, and creating value for customers to close deals.

3: What It Takes to Be the Best Sales Coach
Tuesday, Oct 4, 4:00 PM – 5:10 PM | San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, Yerba Buena Salon 9

Join this session and pick up some proven leadership tactics on building a robust coaching strategy, along with a new framework for sales leaders.

4: Call Your Shot: Predicting Sales Performance through Coaching
Tuesday, Oct 4, 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM | InterContinental San Francisco Hotel, Grand Ballroom C

Last year only 44% of salespeople hit their goal. Only 46% of deals to forecast as “Closed” actually closed. Sales coaching has emerged as the catalyst for sales success. Learn how you can build an award-winning coaching culture.

5: Building Powerhouse Sales Teams
Thursday, Oct 6, 3:30 PM – 3:50 PM | San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, CRM Outfitters Theater South

Coaching, providing feedback, and motivating employees is the key to creating sales teams that stay focused, building strong relationships with customers, and hitting quota. Join this session to learn best practices for leading sales teams to success – tips based on research and hands-on experience.

BUT…Dreamforce wouldn’t be complete without a lineup of fun, empowering, and inspirational sessions that you absolutely shouldn’t miss either. Here are our favorites:

Dreampitch Competition Keynote
Tuesday, Oct 4, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM | Moscone West, Keynote Room, Level 3

Dreampitch is a startup pitch competition where three early-stage startups building on Salesforce App Cloud pitch their company to legendary investors and entrepreneurs Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca. You won’t want to miss it.

“Be a Customer Trailblazer” with Marc Benioff & Special Guests
Wednesday, Oct 5, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM | Moscone North, Moscone North Hall D

Marc Benioff and industry giants discuss the future of customer engagement including how innovative companies are using the cloud, mobility, IoT and artificial intelligence to achieve new levels of success with connecting with their customers.

Dreamfest and Benefit for UCSF Children’s Hospitals featuring U2
Wednesday, Oct 5, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM | Cloud (Cow) Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave, Daly City, CA 94014

It’s U2. Need we say more?

Of course, we’d love to connect with you at Dreamforce as well. We hope to see you there!