What’s Missing From Your Training on Sales Coaching?

Friday, August 29th, 2014 - Post by MichelleVazzana

A sales manager’s entire attention is focused on leading a sales force to achieve specific organizational business objectives and goals, yet there is something conspicuously missing from sales manager training on coaching — a focus on the specific path to achieve those objectives and goals. Most training on coaching includes traditional coaching models that can be used by any function within a business. Unfortunately, these coaching models stop short of providing sales managers with insight into how to leverage coaching to best achieve organizational business goals. In sum, most coaching models miss the critical link between “what” they want sellers to do and “how” sellers can best accomplish the desired outcomes.

As a trainer, you have the opportunity to uncover the specific business goals your sales managers need to achieve, and then use that information to zero in on the exact topics sales managers need to address through coaching to help the sales force reach those goals. For instance, maybe your company’s main business goal is to obtain 20% more new customers. If so, sales managers would benefit from training on how to coach sellers to segment territories and determine which accounts have the highest potential.

Perhaps the main business … Read the rest

One Likely Reason Your Forecasts Stink

Monday, August 4th, 2014 - Post by JasonJordan

forecast2Sales forecasting is an activity that consumes an enormous amount of management’s time, yet few organizations are happy with the accuracy of their collective forecasting efforts. So how is it that sales forces can expend so much effort on forecasting and still produce revenue predictions that stink? To find out, Vantage Point recently turned its research engine toward sales forecasting in an effort to identify the sources of forecasting failure as well as the best practices that can make sales forecasting more accurate.

Our first observation is that many sales forces are using forecasting models that don’t reflect the way their sales forces actually sell. The predominant forecasting approach is, of course, to build the sales forecast from a pipeline of opportunities that are being actively pursued by the sales force. Each opportunity is slotted into a stage of the company’s sales process, and a percentage is then applied to the deals in each stage to generate a probability-adjusted revenue prediction. In fact, our research shows that 85% of business-to-business sales forces currently forecast using this tried-and-true method. So what’s the problem with that?

We will set aside for the moment the many problems with how this opportunity forecasting method … Read the rest

Leadership or Sales Management Training… Which Do You Really Need?

Monday, June 30th, 2014 - Post by MichelleVazzana

Learn-ButtonWhen a sales manager gets promoted, it’s typically because he or she was a very successful salesperson. However, many of the skills that made the manager successful as a rep are in direct conflict with the skills needed to succeed as a sales manager. Most organizations know this and take great pains to prepare these newly-minted sales managers for success – primarily in the form of training.

One of the most common types of sales management training is leadership training, which is designed to create greater insight and self-awareness about how sales managers relate to their team. While leadership ability is certainly important, there is another type of training that is often missing from the picture — actual sales management training.

At its core, the most necessary role of a sales manager is to manage, coach, and direct salespeople toward their goals. The company’s overall vision and strategy is set by executives and sales leadership, leaving sales managers to carry out the execution of the vision and to achieve its stated targets. Without this vital role of sales managers, a company’s vision and goals will never be realized, but sales managers need the right skills and tools to lead their … Read the rest

Dumb Things that Smart Managers Say: Lessons from a Soccer Game

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 - Post by JasonJordan

Coach-gifI was recently at a soccer tournament with my 12-year-old son. His team had won its first few matches and was in the semi-finals. The stakes were high – win and move on, or lose and go home. The kids were playing well but losing by one goal with only a few minutes left in the game. Their coach, whom I know to be a very smart man, then said something that I thought was pretty dumb. He screamed onto the field, “Come on guys, we really need this one!”

The kids’ reaction to his comment was actually quite interesting. As you would expect from a good group of kids who really wanted to win, each of the players immediately turned to their coach as soon as they heard his voice. And with all of their attention on him, the coach used that valuable time with their undivided attention at the end of the game to say, “We really need this one!” Great coaching?

Well just as quickly as the players had turned their attention to the coach, hoping for some wisdom or guidance, they dismissed his comment as the usual coaching gibberish. They returned to their soccer game, no … Read the rest