Blog Cover Image 1

Your Sales Leaders: Problem or Solution?

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 10/4/16 2:39 PM

Yesterday was the beginning of 4Q16 (the beginning of the end), and I got up early to make sure I had time for plenty of coffee, yoga and reflection before I started the day with 90 minutes of back to back coaching calls at 8am. It`s not very often that every one of those calls are around the same issue, but yesterday and into today was one of those times.

On every call the question was asked, "What are you doing this week and today that is part of your Q4 plan?" The answer varied slightly, but was basically; “I need to close 'x' opportunities this quarter, so I need to get `y` people to talk to me, etc…”

Ok great, but what are you going to do this week, today? What is in your control?

“Well, I have these 43 opportunities in the pipeline that I need to get to the next step...oh, and then I need to give my manager my Q4 predictions before the end of the day...”

None of these things (outside of the reporting of opportunities to their manager) was something within their control. Whether or not those opportunities get to the next step is the outcome, not the action (activity) that they need to do (right now) in order to know what the buyer needs to do next in their decision making process and/or to find more potential buyers for the month or quarter.

Eventually we got around to asking questions about their prospecting strategy and together reverse engineered the strategy to what know what needed to happen this month, week, and today.

Here's the thing- it`s no wonder that they needed our help when their own managers aren't doing these basics and worse- the interaction they have with the managers is to report on the numbers, not on what they actually need to do to get to that number and how best to do it.

And while we are on the numbers, how real are those numbers that the managers are getting to report up to executive leadership? If the salespeople are basing the likelihood of their opportunities to close on where they “think” they are in the sales process with no real understanding of where the buyer is in their process and what actions buyers are taking that indicate alignment to the sales process, isn't their forecast really a whole lot of big fat happy ears guessing?

Seriously? If I were the CEO or business owner of this company, I'd be freaking out a little bit. 

And we are still wondering why predictions fail and salespeople aren't able to make quota?

Why aren’t these managers working with their team early on to make sure they have their own individual action plans to close opportunities and create new ones? Why are so many managers only going so far as to ask, ‘how many will you close?’

Are you wondering, like I am, whether these managers are part of the solution or the problem? And if they are part of the problem, is that really their fault? Do your sales managers know who to coach, how to coach, or even have the time to do so? Are you are enabling your sales leaders to be a business growth solution, or part of the problem?

Or maybe you believe that it would be easier to hire a full time person to train everyone instead and just on board more sales people? Train them, make sure they know what to do, problem solved, now they just need to go do it right?

But will they do it?

"Well, if they don’t get it done, we will replace them." or "I know we have the right profile, and sure they could do better, but what we really need is to double the team next year." is something I have heard more than a few times recently.

Ok, so let’s do some back of the napkin math on that one. What is the cost to hire and train a salesperson? How long before they start to get results? What kind of results? How long do they tend to stay for?

Some have calculated that answer and come to the conclusion that they need their salespeople to “ramp up faster” - start producing sooner, and more. How? More training of course! Once they know and remember what to do, they just need to do it.

But will they? (Notice a pattern here yet?)

So what does a CEO or business owner who wants sales growth to do in order to change this self destructive cycle?

Are you a CEO or business owner who believes that coaching is a dirty word? Not scalable? Hard to measure?

Not according to research by The Bridge Group and ExecVisionNot only do teams that are coached 3 or more hours a month achieve an average 107% of quota, they also are 45% more likely to recommend the company to someone else to come and work for. Imagine what would happen to your sales when more rock star sales people are telling other potential rock stars to come work with them. As Trish Bertuzzi wrote in Chapter 19 of "The Sales Development Playbook"; “Coaching is not a component within the sales manager role; managing is now a component of the new coaching role.”

Are you more than concerned that I just described the majority of your sales leaders? Click here to get on our calendar to discuss.

Are you a sales leader and worried that this sounds like you? Click here.

Are you a sales person and this sounds like your experience with your manager? Click here.

Are you unsure how to effectively coach your salespeople? Can you think of a specific scenario or have a recorded call? Contact us to discuss! 

Contact Us

Topics: sales coach, sales management, sales leadership