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Stuck in the Gap? Lead Your Sales Team to Greatness!

Posted by on April 11, 2012

Sales TeamAre you stuck in the gap between truly great sales and the reality that your sales and leadership team is struggling?

Most of the data on sales success and sales best practices in the field inevitably leads to the conclusion that your sales force is only as strong as the sales leadership they get. Any lasting change has to start with the Vice President and roll like a wave all the way through the often-overlooked Regional/District Managers.

Not sure your team needs outside help? Some indicators that your sales leadership may need some intensive work on alignment and performance enhancement are:

  1. You have a high number of Region Managers that are recent field promotions, i.e. very successful sales reps that you have promoted to Region Manager positions.
  2. You have a high level of turnover at the Region/District Manager level.
  3. You get very good results on a certain set of products from one region and completely different results from another region (inconsistent execution on your product portfolio).
  4. You have too many Territory Managers/Sales Reps that underperform to their sales plan and are not engaged in an aggressive developmental plan to correct the issue.

You need a proven process for sales leadership development that will help your organization achieve better numbers on the following metrics:

  1. Percent achievement of sales plan
  2. Full product portfolio sales execution
  3. Number of conversions during product launches
  4. Reduced undesired sales rep turnover

At CGWA, the journey from mediocre to great looks something like this:

  • We do a very careful analysis of the current state of your sales leadership performance
  • We ask you to define your vision for what great would look like for your business
  • We customize a solution and get it to the sales leadership team as quickly as possible, up to the standard of performance and execution that you would like to see

Our research indicates that a lot of our potential clients are spending literally hundreds of thousands of dollars training their sales force as a whole, but spending very little to train their Region Managers, which is a sadly misdirected allocation of funds. Repeated studies into how organizations invest in sales execution lead us to this conclusion: The most important investment you can make is to ensure that your sales leadership is aligned, motivated, and focused on the right best practices and disciplines to drive successful sales to your business.

Greg Wright founded CGWA in 1977 on the principle that customized, skill-based training provides the best learning experience for employees, as it incorporates a company’s culture, business trends, and “real life” situations into the structure of the training.

Crucial Conversations: Performance Coaching

Posted by on February 29, 2012

Performance CoachingIf you’re a manager, you probably know that performance coaching is often seen by employees as a form of punishment. From their perspective, “coaching” equals “discipline.” Frankly, in business environments that use this approach, that perception is accurate. However, if handled in a rewarding and supportive manner, fear and resentment will automatically disppear from the coaching process. The importance of handling it properly cannot be underestimated. When coaching is fully understood and trusted, it can then become the positive force it is intended to be.

Management Responsibility

Since coaching is within the jurisdiction of management, managers naturally set the expectations of employees throughout the process. As a manager, it is imperative that you demonstrate that coaching sessions are intended to help the employee further their career and not as an indication of dissatisfaction with the employee’s overall performance.

All employees, regardless of tenure or performance, should undergo the performance coaching process. To ensure maximum effectiveness and develop trust, coaching methods should incorporate positive advice and feedback, not negative criticism.

The Essence of Coaching

Coaching is a journey, not a checkbox on a form. Employees can intuitively feel when their manager is just “going through the motions.” Simply complying with corporate policy on performance coaching is probably more detrimental to the morale of the organization than merely ignoring it as it fosters contempt for every other corporate initiative.

In fact, coaching is fundamental to the optimum functioning of an organization. Instead of merely informing, it is essential that a coach ask the right questions to help others understand their current thinking and behaviors. Armed with this knowledge, an employee can improve themselves.

Coaching Styles

None of this is to say that there is one ideal method of coaching. There are as many successful styles of performance coaching as there are successful managers. Many managers still ascribe to the “command and control” formula. In this paradigm, the manager does the thinking, designs the game plan and enforces its execution. This might work well if your coach is an Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs, but can suffer with other personality types.

A more proactive method of performance coaching involves the AOLA method; Awareness, Ownership andLearning. Once a problem or opportunity is identified, ownership is assigned and accountability follows later. The most beneficial aspect of this method is that both the manager and the managed learn.

At CGWA, we believe that our Coaching for Improved Performance workshop should be part of your Professional Development toolbox. Through the application of our unique coaching model, targeted case studies, and face-to-face feedback, managers are able to achieve resounding success with their employees. Although we know the classroom experience is priceless, we don’t want you to leave this blog without a free tool you can use today. Use it as your springboard to coaching greatness!