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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

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

3 Steps to Make Sure Individual Focus Meetings are Never Mediocre

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Every week or two, in nearly every sales organization across the country, sales managers and salespeople sit down together for their regularly scheduled individual focus meetings.

You’re familiar with these meetings, so let me ask you... in your opinion, do your salespeople look forward to them? Are they anxious to share valuable information and discuss next steps in order to ensure they are moving business forward? For the most part, would you say they are a good use of everyone’s time?

Many will answer, “No.”

In my experience, both salespeople and sales managers often find themselves dreading these one-on-one meetings because they feel as though they are a waste of their time.

Topics: sales management Talent coaching

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. 

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.

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."

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.

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.

Topics: Sales sales process coaching