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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

INFOGRAPHIC: CSS By The Numbers

header-CSS-By-The-Numbers.jpgJust like an athlete, you can go it alone and get some occasional wins. To win a gold medal requires a clear plan, consistent discipline and constant improvement.

Topics: Sales coaching

What You Can Change Today to Increase Sales Performance Tomorrow

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“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  

I would bet, like the rest of us, you learned this Golden Rule in Kindergarten and you were probably raised to believe you should always treat others as you would want to be treated.

It sounds great in theory, and I applaud your kindness and compassion, but make no mistake, the Golden Rule does not work when developing people.

WHAT?!

It’s true. The sentiment is nice, but it just doesn’t work.    

Topics: sales management Talent coaching

When Managers Think They Are Coaching (but they are not)

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I think most sales managers would agree that coaching their salespeople to get better at their craft is a good investment of time. I talk to scores of managers in my practice, and there seems to be near universal agreement that coaching is important, and most sales managers do invest some time and energy to make it happen. That said, what constitutes coaching?

Topics: sales management coaching

How to Develop a Great Sales Hunter

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My recent article on how to hire a great sales hunter stirred up great conversations about how to coach and develop those hunters once they are onboard. Great stuff, so I want to share it with you!

The best way to grow an organization is to grow each of the people within that organization, including your sales hunters. Great managers do this by keeping the natural behaviors of these people top of mind and committing to a handful of strategies to maximize their strengths. 

When we studied the very best new business developers out there, we found 6 specific behaviors that great sales hunters had in common. We also discovered the best ways to maximize these natural strengths and help them to turn raw potential, or talent, into performance.

Here are our Pro Tips on how to develop each of the 6 behaviors commonly found in the best new business developers out there:

Topics: sales management Talent coaching

Using Radical Candor to Drive Sales Performance and Grow People

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If you have ever worked with me you know I am a sucker for strong feedback and coaching. Here’s why. 

People are the foundation of any sales organization and if the people don’t grow, the organization can’t either. One of the very best ways to grow people is to provide them with strong, consistent, and targeted feedback so they can adjust their style, adapt their approach, and turn their talent into performance. 

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to work with an exceptional manager whose secret weapon for growing people is effective feedback. His genuine caring combined with his never-miss-a-thing insight can be life-changing for those who work for him. 

I was anxious to better understand what he did so naturally and most others struggled to do at all, so I pummeled him with questions. And he let me in on his secret.

This manager built his career on two principles. 

  1. Praise: People need to receive specific and positive feedback from their manager when they do things right in order to consistently repeat those positive behaviors.
  2. Criticism: A manager has a “moral obligation” to be upfront and honest with their employees when providing them with corrective coaching.

Moral obligation? I wanted to hear more.

Topics: sales management Talent coaching

Employee Morale and Retention – Money Talks, but Caring is Key

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Have you ever watched a TV show and been able to connect a character’s behavior to something specific in your life or work experience? I had that happen to me recently. If you watch the Bravo reality series, Flipping Out, you are familiar with Jeff Lewis and his reputation for being opinionated, outspoken, slightly neurotic with a quick, dry wit and a direct communication style. I actually love his personality! However, he can easily rub others the wrong way and he often has major conflict with those closest to him. 

On a recent episode, Jeff admitted how valuable his design assistant Vanina is to him and how much he relies on her for the success of his business. He explained that he’d recently given her a substantial raise to let her know just how much he appreciates her. Regardless, in this episode, she broke down in tears and admitted she was ready to leave because she felt overworked and underappreciated. 

Topics: sales management Talent coaching

If Your Sales Team Was in the NFL, Would You Make the Playoffs?

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If you ask me, it’s the best time of the year… the NFL season is here! Tailgating, road trips, barbecue, fantasy football, the joy of victory, the agony of defeat! Every team, or at least the diehard fan, is overflowing with optimism that “this will be the year!” The NFL is home to the best of the best, but only 12 teams will make the playoffs, and one and only one will be left standing in Minneapolis after Super Bowl LII (that’s 52 for those that would have to look it up like me).

Would your sales team make the playoffs, or perhaps even make it to the Super Bowl? Fans who are passionate about the “Xs and Os” of football know there are great “game plan coaches” and great “game day coaches.” The best are great at both. They have a great plan (game week), and great execution (game day). To be a great sales leader, you need a great plan AND great execution. You can’t just give the pre-game speech, and you certainly can’t coach in hindsight after all the points are on the board (think month-end revenue). You have to be a great game day coach, ON THE FIELD!  The best sales plan in the world will only get you so far. Here are the keys to being the best game day sales coach you can be.

Topics: sales management coaching

Why The Talent of Problem Solving is Essential for Sales Performance

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You have a salesperson who has a great, positive attitude. The clients love this salesperson, and he or she does a great job at getting that first appointment and building a relationship with clients.  BUT when clients or coworkers come to this person with an issue, it ruins his or her day — it gets them completely off track and the salesperson just can’t seem to find the way back. What’s the problem?!  Is the individual's positivity not as high as it should be? Is discipline the issue? Actually, what you are seeing may all come back to their problem solving ability.

Topics: hiring salespeople Talent coaching

3 Ways to Help Top Salespeople Perform at Their Best

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Recently I went to my daughter’s last soccer game of the season and it was thrilling to see how much the girls have grown in the past year. They are a talented group with a couple of great coaches who have helped them develop their talent. 

The day of the game, their moves on the field were impressive. They were superstars, but I noticed during halftime that despite incredible talent on the field, one of the girls needed help tying her shoes. Without hesitation, her coach bent down and tied them. This same child dribbled the ball around everyone and scored twice against a great defense, but she still needed some very basic help from her coach before she could get back in the game.   

Sometimes you have to tie shoelaces to be a good coach!  

It immediately made me think about coaching a talented sales team. 

Their strengths are impressive. The more you coach them, the more they grow, but each one of them may need very specific support and coaching in order to perform at their best.

How do you get even more out of your top performers?

Topics: Talent coaching

Why Now Is The Time To Incorporate Analytics Into Your Sales Coaching Process

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The statistics surrounding the effectiveness and prevalence of sales coaching are quite startling. Research indicates that reps who have access to highly effective coaches perform 19% better than others on average. Yet surveys also indicate that approximately 25% of sales managers don’t employ any kind of coaching process.

Topics: sales management coaching