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February 25, 2019

As a business owner, what would your response be if you were informed that in the next year you could increase the productivity of your sales team by as much as 88%, and receive a return of 7x on the investment to do so? To make the scenario more intriguing, consider that your current sales management currently dedicates only 5% of their time and resources towards what is necessary to achieve these tremendous results. Would you hesitate to ask the obvious question, HOW??? Of course, you would, because the numbers just laid out for you are as real as death and taxes. The secret to growing your bottom line is typically already within your organization, it only needs to be uncovered and nurtured. Let me ask another question; does the majority of your current sales revenue come from the top 10% (or the top performers) of your sales force? Don’t worry, you have tons of company if you answered yes to this question, most sales organizations have the similar top-heavy responsibility for the health of their new sales revenue. Have you ever calculated the impact that increasing the production of the middle 60% of your sales force (or the core performers) by 17-20% would have on your KPIs, and ultimately your profits? Run the numbers and then let me know if we have your attention.

I see that you have continued reading which is likely the result of realizing the eye-popping revenue increase after running the numbers. The secret to the success, is not really a secret, but it will become your “secret weapon” to destroy the old revenue models and the costs associated with hitting your projections. In fact, most businesses must reassess projections and targets once they have realized the impact of something available to anyone that wants it……COACHING!

I feel that the most neglected investment most business owners make is the one that will produce the best return; investing in the development of your sales management. Most companies will spend a large percentage of their resources on training at the agent or employee level. This approach does bear some fruit, but when those same resource are redirected towards the development of managers to be effective leaders, motivators and especially the tools to coach their teams, the trees are full and continue to produce fruit well into the future. We are going to share some of the facts, as well as impacts that this approach has in an effort to better educate you on what you will achieve and receive when you choose to optimally direct your resources.

Coaching and training your managers will yield a higher ROI then individual rep training: Research shows that more than 85% of all sales training is targeted at front-line salespeople, not sales managers. We believe it should be the other way around. Train 1 salesperson and you have improved 1 salesperson… train 1 sales manager and you will improve your entire team! Sales Managers are the key in every sales force: If you want to improve sales performance or change strategic direction, your success depends on capable and committed sales managers. Without their sales coaching and guidance, salespeople will tend to stay the course. With their help, anything is possible in a sales force.

Shifting from “managers” to “coaches”: Most sales coaching programs help managers have better discussions with their reps. However, management isn’t about discussions, it’s about making reps better at critical selling activities and more importantly leading from experience and by example. Sales Management coaching allows the manager to be an exceptional leader and coach their teams in these critical selling activities.

Today’s Sales Managers need unique skills and understanding to lead effectively: Traditional sales management training has focused on generic coaching or leadership skills. However, managers don’t have generic jobs. A manager’s training should enable them to effectively execute the management tasks that are relevant to their particular role.
Create more “A” players: Rather than focusing on the top producers (get most of the attention of managers) and the under performers (get most of the resources), coach the middle 2/3 of reps who have both the room for improvement and the incentive to become top performers. A study from Harvard Business Review shows that “coaching – even world-class coaching – has a marginal impact on either the weakest or the strongest performers in the sales organization.” What this research found was that the bottom 10 percent of the sales force, and the top performers, have minimal gains in production with coaching. This is not a surprise as the top performers are already high achievers, and the bottom performers may simply not be in the right career choice. Help redirect the focus of the managers where it will have the most impact and return on the time they invest, by working to move “B” players to “A” players.

Retain talent and reduce turnover: A recent Aberdeen Group study found that it takes seven months and almost $30,000 to recruit and on board a new sales rep. Further, the cost of losing a rep can range from 1.5 – 2x the employee’s annual salary. These stats emphasize the need to increase rep retention. Sales coaching from management along with professional development initiatives demonstrate the organization’s interest in advancing the employee’s career and strengthening rep morale. The shift from managing to coaching builds a culture of trust and mutual respect, which create more “buy-in” from the entire team.

Make your sales force more effective at achieving business goals: More than half of company executives indicate that their employees don’t understand their company’s strategy, according to research from Harvard Business Review. Coaching enables sales leaders to define the business goals, outline a workflow, and work with their teams to achieve these objectives.

Growth of managers and their teams: Increased use of best practices and sales strategies will be one of the first measurable changes noted. This includes changes not only from the sales team, but also from the coaches. When the management team is talking to employees as a coach, or getting feedback from the coaching team, the “in the trenches” issues become obvious and can be addressed in structured, effective way.

As a business owner, you cannot afford to ignore the opportunity to change your company from good to great. As long as your current managers are open and exited for the opportunity to work with a coach (if they are not, perhaps it is time to make a change in management), you will start seeing the shift and return on your investment in the immediate term, and more importantly have found the “secret weapon” that will take your company to levels you only heard about but never thought possible for yourself. The beauty of this shift is that it requires little to no additional investment on your part, rather a redirecting of resources from a vacuum towards a fan. Time to stop sucking the wind from your organization’s sails with the never-ending cycle of wasted dollars for new hires, on boarding and training and start filling the sails with success and more sales by getting your managers “coached up” and in turn the whole team. With proper coaching, you will make 2019 the most successful year you have ever experienced!!


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