Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Competent Coaching Critical In Sales Management: 6 Tips

March 14, 2013

Look to the gridiron for help making your mentoring efforts more effective.

Todd Martin 031213 image 1No successful football coach would say to his team after a game, You lost because you scored fewer points than the other team. Next time, make more touchdowns. Yet that’s how some sales managers handle their mentoring responsibilities.

You’ve undoubtedly thought often about how you could motivate your sales staff. Try envisioning your management tasks like the head of a football program might. Here are some tips:

Don’t wait until you’re behind by 14 points in the fourth quarter. There’s too much ground to make up, too much damage done. It’s harder to make up that deficit when the pressure’s on than it would have been to score two touchdowns in the first quarter. Now, the fans are leaving, the players are discouraged and you’re probably not doing your best strategizing because of the time remaining.

So step in early when you have reservations about how a salesperson is managing a potentially big sale, or when a new team member is struggling.

Focus on promising players with untapped potential. Your top players are probably doing just fine, and those lagging way behind may always be. Look closely at the folks right in the middle that still have potential and give them some extra attention.

Make your stars mentors. A quarterback can’t give expert advice to a field goal kicker about how to score three points, Todd Martin 031213 image 2but he can share advice about things like training, attitude and mental preparedness.

Call on your more experienced high-earners to set standards for excellence. Pair some likely duos up for personalized attention. If your mentors don’t know where to start, suggest that they answer questions like:

  • What reasons do prospects give for declining? Are there ways to diplomatically counter their objections? How do you know when to move on?
  • How do you develop relationships on social media?
  • What marketing materials work best for you?
  • How do you stay optimistic when you face multiple rejections?
  • Are there time management tips you can suggest?

Maintain a comprehensive playbook. No coach says, Well, that worked. They carefully document winning plays.

Write down every tip, every successful tactic, every repeatable phrase that your team members report. Create a collaborative document using something like Google Drive, and ask people to contribute (though you’ll have to seed it regularly). You’ll have a lengthy, ever-evolving list of best sales practices.

Todd Martin 031213 image 3Remind them that there’s no “I” in “salesperson.” What you’re asking of your sales force will necessarily add some time to some of their days. But you can foster an attitude of solidarity in your own attitude. Sure, you’ll publicly praise exceptional work, but find ways to call out smaller-but-still-worthy achievements in sales meetings.

Finally, encourage – and reward – self-sufficiency. Don’t try to solve everyone’s problems. Tap the talent that undoubtedly exists on your sales team and – win or lose – your salespeople will develop more confidence, which can go a long way toward closing sales.

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