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The Future of Sales and Marketing

The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

An Inconvenient Truth In Coaching Salespeople

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Most managers who have been around for a while understand that if salespeople are going to grow their skills they are going to need some coaching. If you think about it, every endeavor that involves performance against a standard, winning or losing, or rising to significance, begins with a talented performer coached by someone who provides accurate feedback and helpful coachingfrom athletics, to music, to business. If you watch how real coaching actually happens, you see the coach is always in a position to observe the performer first hand. Athletic coaches coach their people on the field, not in the office. The same goes with any other disciplineexcept for sales. 

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Topics: sales management, coaching

Sales Promotion or Sales Prevention?

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As a sales leader whose responsibility is generating revenue, you would most likely answer that you are a Sales Promoter. But are you? Has an obstacle course actually been created that prevents your sales people from selling? Sales Prevention sounds like an oxymoron, but it exists in many sales cultures.

Sales Prevention exists when there is a misalignment between the sales manager and salespeople's challenges and priorities. Jim Hopes, Managing Partner of The Center for Sales Strategy, conducted a study based on the responses of 400 sales professionals. The results showed that of the top four responses regarding challenges, only one intersected between the sales manager and salespeople.

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Topics: successful sales meetings, sales management, coaching

When Pigs Fly: Really? Why You Should Focus on Your People's Strengths

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Sometimes the most revelatory meanings come from parables. Storytelling is an art and has been a part of the human experience since cave men started drawing pictures on cave walls, since troubadours roamed the countryside telling stories through their songs. Storytelling helps us make sense of the world.

One of the most effective ways of telling a story is through a parable. It’s a short, allegorical piece meant to teach a lesson. It’s told in words that convey images people can easily understand and often include animals and nature like "The Three Little Pigs" and "The Grasshopper and the Ant."

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Topics: Talent, Sales, coaching

One of the Most Important Ways You Can Define Yourself as a Great Sales Coach

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Great coaching is hard to find.

Most people aren’t born to coach, but those that are, the ones who are great at growing and developing people, can forever change the lives of those around them.

I talk about coaching in sales and management all the time, but the same lessons can be drawn from and applied to sports, education, really everything. People do not grow in a vacuum.  They only grow in relationship to another person.

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Topics: Sales, coaching

Keep It Simple, Sales Manager

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Today we have a guest post from Sherrie Roberts. Sherrie has been crushing sales goals and breaking records for over 20 years from local broadcast to national networks and rep firms. Serving in roles as salesperson, sales manager, General Manger and Founder.


Government is not the only entity wrought with bureaucracy. It’s known to rear its ugly head in all businesses. Systems and policies are certainly vital to accomplish missions and keep chaos at bay. Yet bureaucracy is proof you can have too much of a good thing. Too often we become so ensnared by rules and with making them, that common sense takes a back seat. 

There’s this thing called the “naked rule” that has become somewhat of a mantra in my management career. Once, in a meeting discussing a unique issue that had arisen, one leader proposed a new policy to address said issue. Yet another leader responded, with brilliant hyperbole, “So if an employee showed up naked to work, would we really need a rule that says you have to wear clothes to work?” Thank you Captain Obvious for saving us that day from yet another policy that wouldn’t solve anything. In this case, it would have created unnecessary complication—as is so often the case.

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Topics: Sales, sales process, coaching

5 Practical Ways to Help Salespeople Build On Their Strengths

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A new school year is right around the corner – time for back-to-school shopping and wrapping up summer reading. In preparing for the new year, I came across a poster that my son’s class completed at the end of last year. Each student took home a poster full of compliments from classmates and teachers. In reading through my son’s, I realized that many of the “compliments” were about his talents. For example his teacher wrote, “You are my little leader. You set the mood for the class. If you say ‘yes,’ everyone will follow.” 

I am already noticing that leader talent in my 11-year-old, and others are picking up on it as well. That’s because our strengths are hard-wired in us from a very early age, and when they are strong, people notice and appreciate them. 

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Topics: Talent, Sales, coaching

The Compound Effect - Start With the End in Mind

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In a former life, I was a professional triathlete and triathlon coach. I helped athletes with a wide range of athletic backgrounds accomplish one of the greatest physical tests of endurance known to man: completing the Ironman, a combined 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. When clients would first come to me and ask for advice about their training plan, they would inevitably ask, “What do I need to do to be able to finish the Ironman?” The answer was the same for each client: “You need to be able to swim 2.4 miles, ride 112 miles and run 26.2 miles in one day." That was a very definitive end goal, and the goal had a definitive date. The challenge then became how to take them from where they were physically on that first day, to that end point several months (or for some, years) away, ending at the Ironman finish line.  

Maybe I’m a little late to the party, but I have just been turned on to the book “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy. I wanted to share a few thoughts on its relevance to sales managers and leaders—and how it relates to my story of someone training to complete an Ironman. You might not realize it, but some of the challenges that sales managers face when building a sales organization are similar to what triathlon coaches are up against when training an athlete for the challenge of the Ironman. These challenges are: defining the goal, creating the strategy to accomplish the goal, and taking the required steps needed to accomplish the goal.

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Topics: Sales, sales training, coaching

"I Just Hired a Green Salesperson. Now What?"

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Most strong managers, when searching for the right talents, skills, and experience, recognize that the talent piece is primary. If a salesperson doesn’t have the talent, he or she can’t be highly successful. Once you have someone who has talent, you can provide the right coaching that turns that potential into skill. So, that leaves only the area of experience where there may be some “give”—which is exactly why I know there is a good chance you have hired some pretty green salespeople.

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Topics: Sales, sales training, coaching