First Steps to Coaching a High Performance Sales Team

March 11, 2015 Leave a reply

So you have just started a new role or inherited a sales team what do you do? First you start with the who – the people, then the how – the sales process, and lastly the why – the metrics and targets they and you will in effect be measured by.

The Who

Like anything in life you need to sit down with each of them and understand why they are here, what was their journey to this point, and what is their destination or end goal.

Importantly what motivates them (money, status, job satisfaction, recognition), what about their role do they enjoy and what do they dislike, what do they do well, and where can they improve.

Your own ability at breaking the ice, building trust and demonstrating integrity will be crucial in them opening up and being honest with you. If you are able to demonstrate some of your own background, challenges and even past vulnerabilities that will help in levelling the conversation.

Once you understand their roles, where they fit in the company, their motivations and strengths and weaknesses this places you in a good position to understand the people aspect and how you can coach them to be the best.

The How

Next is looking at the sales process so what do they do, how a lead comes in to the business, how it is captured and nurtured and what systems and processes are in place to turn that lead if qualified in to a customer. That means analysing the sales lead workflow, marketing automation, CRM system, and data capture. How the team prepare for sales calls or meetings and the ever important follow-up. Key areas of focus should be pipeline management, forecasting and negotiation and close. Coaching all the team members across the sales process and refining their skills and ability in each area will be essential to have them all high performing.

The Why

Lastly reviewing the metrics and targets, these must be done together as one impacts the other. If your metrics are wrong then you’ll never over-achieve on your targets. By starting with the target you can work back on what metrics and activities you need to hit to get there. If you know the average sales value and the conversion rates for each team member then you can quickly identify how many sales calls or meetings need to be performed to reach target and by when. Also by having data and metrics about your ideal customers and those that convert the highest you can focus on the right customer segments.

When were the targets last hit is a really good question and there really is no point on having targets that no-one can hit. You then have a demotivated team and if there are winners in that team they’ll go elsewhere as no-one wants to be at 50% of target all year. You need to look behind the numbers and understand what is realistic based on historical data, where your product/service sits in the market right now and how you are driving more leads in to your sales funnel.

You’ll rarely have all the team performing at 100% or more but when the majority are above this line then you have momentum to really grow and a happy CEO and a happy sales team!

The 14 Sales Questions We Need to Ask

December 2, 2014 Leave a reply

1. Do you have a clear sales strategy and is it still relevant and appropriate for what you sell, who sells it and whom you sell it to?

2. What is your compelling sales proposition? What makes it unique or different and how does it match up to your competition?

3. Do you have a Sales and Marketing plan with clear vision and SMART objectives for your company and team?

4. Are the roles and responsibilities clear between team members, Sales and Marketing and Business Development?

5. Who is in charge of leadership, training, coaching and mentoring? Are your sales people improving? Do they know where and on what to focus their time/energy?

6. Does your sales team have achievable and communicated sales targets? Are your sales team members appropriately rewarded and incentivized to make sales and hit/exceed sales targets? How do you communicate and reward customer wins?

7. What is your target market? What are your different routes or channels to that market? Which ones are fastest or optimal?

8. What is your Buyer Profile? What problem does your product/service solve?

9. How do you generate leads? Where do you capture this and other prospect information? How do you analyse trends and report on the business success/failure?

10. What is the split that you need of existing versus new business? What is your client retention rate? What is your new business conversion rate?

11. Do you sell face to face or over the phone? How do your sales people sell? What methodology do they use? Does it matter? How many sales stages are there in your sales process? Is it different across the team? Why?

12. Do you sell products or services? What do you want to sell? Can you bundle your products into a service? Is that easier/more profitable?

13. Do you have/measure sales KPIs? Do you have a CRM system? Does your sales team submit sales forecasts? Do you have regular Sales Pipeline reviews? How often do you meet as a team? How do you share sales best practices? What tools do you/they use?

14. How often do you meet your Clients? Why is it important? Who do you meet? What do you discuss? How is this feedback communicated to the company?

When I meet Company Directors for the first time I try and ask most of these questions to get an understanding of what problems and challenges they are facing in their sales team. The answers are always interesting but more often than not they are very similar regardless of company size, industry or sales team complexity. We then start work on developing a high performing sales team of independent creative and entrepreneurial members yet also unafraid to ask for help!

Coaching Great Teams

November 10, 2014 Leave a reply

As I watch my North London football team capitulate again and England narrowly lose to New Zealand in both forms of Rugby I think about leadership and team coaching.

As members of a team whether that is sporting, I coach an under-15 rugby union team in my spare time, or in business we all make decisions and judgements that affect the outcome. Many times these are snap or quick decisions and therefore we need a toolkit and to know what options we have. These can often be taught or are learnt from making mistakes. Our coaches and leaders help us to make the right decisions.

Yes we also need Managers to help us but far better if they don’t just manage but also coach, mentor, inspire and lead us and then we can really look up to them. We are not automatons and therefore we need constant motivation, inspiration and desire to improve all aspects of our job whether that is as a sports person or as a sales person.

Coaching helps us focus on aspects of our role and step back and look at what we do and think positively about what we can do to improve rather than just negative criticism. After all no-one really likes criticism.

A coach who has been in our situation is more respected than one who hasn’t (armchair critic) and it is the same with sales. An experienced Sales Director can effectively coach, mentor, inspire and develop your sales people to improve what they do by discussing real world scenarios and providing proven tools, processes and tactics. A winning mentality is infectious and of course no-one likes losing…

Jefferson Sales has been leading and coaching sales people and creating high performing sales teams in companies since 2005.

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