Part 2 of our dual episode of “True Confessions of a Sales Leader” continues with a discussion with Dr. Richard “Dick” Ruff and John Hoskins, respected experts in sales coaching, founders of The Level Five Selling Coaching System, and authors of the book, Level Five Selling: The Anatomy of a Quality Sales Call Revealed (click here for a complimentary copy).
In the first episode, Scott Olsen, founder of the Olsen Group and Gary Brashear, managing partner of the Olsen Group, joined them to discuss why sales coaching is so important to an organization, especially in these times. If you don’t think your sales organization or team needs a coaching program, listen to part 1.
After you’ve listened to part 1, then come back as we share insights and some real-world tactics on how you can get started on a coaching plan immediately.
Here are four key takeaways from this podcast episode:
Start at the top
Want to launch a coaching program? Most companies like yours probably have some previous history of coaching. Maybe it was intermittent or only done by a few people instead of a systematic way throughout the whole organization. So, how do you successfully get started or get re-started?
Start with your top management and top sales management. You’ll need an institutional commitment from them to establish a sales culture. Then, set the direction and focus for a coaching program before executing.
Conduct a quarterly business review by having your frontline leaders report on what they worked on and who they worked with. Review that plan and ask how the sales leader executed that plan. Prepare for some pushback, too. Pulling a sales member off of the time they’re spending making sales to coach them? Tough sell. However, it might also let you discover what the sales team is actually working on. Tasks that aren’t revenue-driving can be assigned to a non-sales member.
Use the right tools
Hire a coaching planner to help you get a good view of what the managers are focusing on and dealing with. Consider workshops that will help get everyone on the same page by using common language, a common framework, and the definition of what quality looks like. Employ—especially in these times—a virtual coaching platform. This technology, for instance, can provide videos with exercises that let the sales team “respond” on how they’re applying and responding to their current accounts. Then, the sales leader can view that and provide feedback.
When do you know you’re finished with coaching?
You never are. Coaching isn’t an extended exercise, it continuously needs to be done. Sales team members need to learn new skills, especially in our current environment. Those skills are constantly changing so coaching doesn’t have a beginning and an end. That said, don’t over-invest in people that aren’t performing. If you do, you have to cut your losses early. Don’t let your ego hold on to someone you think you’ll turn around. Other team members will suffer and might not get the level of coaching they need.
Welcome to this special two-part episode of “True Confessions of a Sales Leader.” We are honored to have on two guests: Dr. Richard “Dick” Ruff and John Hoskins, respected experts in sales coaching, founders of The Level Five Selling Coaching System, and authors of the book, Level Five Selling: The Anatomy Of A Quality Sales Call Revealed (click here for a complimentary copy).
Before we dive in, a quick bit about our guests. Dick has spent the last 35 years helping large corporations develop sales teams in the B2B market in the high-tech (yes, that includes Apple) and medical devices spaces. John began his career in the corporate world in a variety of sales and sales leadership positions and founded his own company. The two then combined forces and founded The Level Five Selling Coaching System, the only sales coaching system to master call planning and execution skills that helps salespeople deliver top-line revenue growth.
Joining Dick and John are Scott Olsen, founder of the Olsen Group and Gary Brashear, managing partner of the Olsen Group. Listen in as this virtual table of sales experts discuss why sales coaching is so important to an organization, especially in these times.
Here are four key takeaways from the podcast episode:
Sales coaching, defined
We’ve all heard the term but what exactly is it? It’s a formal process for helping a salesperson develop their full potential. The key is helping somebody learn versus just teaching them. You might be talented in sales but it’s hard to reach your potential without some kind of coaching. The challenges of coaching can go deeper, too, such as changing the behavior of a high-performing salesperson who brings a toxic environment to the team, or improving performance of those who don’t perform well, or getting people to change habits like those who don’t do the basics like submitting expense reports. These behaviors require a whole different skillset of coaching.
Set milestones for coaching
Sure, there are regular sales meetings between directors or the first-line sales team but what’s often missing is a standard format for coaching. Without that framework, it’s hard to tell if coaching is working and hard to adjust if it’s not. Coaching can be inconsistent even within organizations. Some teams will do it well about 20% of the time, while others may not spend much time coaching because of confusion or clear roles and responsibilities. Set objectives. Spend the time to do it effectively.
A personal connection is important when selling and when coaching. How do we connect —and coach or get coached—in a virtual world? In a nutshell, plan. Many successful programs will have a 90-day plan, including who the salesperson will be working with and a mutual agreement on a plan by all parties. This enables measurement when coaching online, whether it’s effective, and provides an overall ROI.
Decide if you need coaching
If an organization says they don’t need coaching, that’s a good sign they probably do. Every company needs a coaching regiment in place, especially in a transitional period as we are experiencing now. There’s no question that companies are changing what they buy, and how they buy. When customers change how they buy, sellers need to change how they sell. Short answer? Your organization needs coaching.
Picture this: You’re new to a sales organization and have been hired to transform it. The reasons for this needed transformation can be many, one of the most common being that the market has changed, forcing the business strategy to also change.
How do you start organizing your new team to meet this transformation?
In this episode of “True Confessions of a Sales Leader” we discuss ways sales leaders can transform their inside sales organizations.
John Belle, global head of inside sales at PayPal joins Scott Olsen, founder of the Olsen Group and Gary Brashear, managing partner of the Olsen Group, as they discuss the path to take.
Here are three key takeaways from this podcast episode:
Get aligned early
A successful leader should always know what they’re walking into. Remember: There’s a reason you’ve been hired. However, before this can occur, you need to be aligned with the team or stakeholders, whether that’s marketing, finance, and certainly HR. Getting alignment at the executive level is crucial—long before you share your vision or transformation with your new team.
Be empathetic but also prepared
How do you prepare for team members worried about inevitable change? If you've aligned with the leadership team, and you have a clear definition of success, articulate it to your team in a simple but organized way by breaking your mission down in the first moments with them. Help them get their head around your vision and set the stage where key initiatives need to be taken. There are four focal areas to help explain your point of view and define what “good” looks like:
Transforming at scale
Once your mission and vision have been determined, how do you execute and support? Work with your front line sales team to build a coaching culture. Help them understand how to do that effectively. Assess the sales team, benchmark, then build on what’s working and work on areas where there can be improvement. Remember: It’s just not working on making a salesperson better, it's how you are affecting the quality and productivity of conversations with your customers.
Have you ever had a sales mentor? Have you ever been a sales mentor? Looking for ways to integrate a mentorship program into your own sales organization but don't know how to start?
In this episode of “True Confessions of a Sales Leader” we discuss the power of mentorship in sales orgs and teams and how successful companies can use mentorship to ramp up sales, build confidence, and create success.
Scott Olsen, founder of the Olsen Group, Gary Brashear of the Olsen Group, and Konnor Martin, VP of Sales, RFPIO, discuss the importance of mentorship but also share their own personal stories on how it has affected their careers.
Here are four key takeaways from this podcast episode:
Mentorship is about imparting wisdom that comes with experience. It helps keep things running and fulfills a leadership and coaching capacity that one individual can’t do on their own. It’s also about sharing knowledge, wisdom and advice—a relationship that benefits both the mentor and mentee.
Ask yourself how mentors have helped you to get you to where you are. This can add clarity to the why and purpose of a program, based on its impact on you. Use that experience.
Being a mentor is more than what you know and telling your mentee how to do it. Ask questions. Prod and probe. Try to understand where your mentee is at in their career. Mentorship involves heart, your mentee’s best interests, and encouragement from you. Put your ego aside.
Integrating a mentorship program into your organization
If you want to start integrating a mentorship program, establish clear expectations on what the boundaries and parameters are for mentors and mentees before getting team members involved. Start with coaching—it’s short term and simpler and may evolve into mentorship.
Navigating while managing a sales team during COVID-19?
You’ll want to listen to our new episode of “True Confessions of a Sales Leader,” The Olsen Group’s podcast where sales leaders share their secrets of success, insight, and guidance.
For this crucial episode, we interviewed our own Gary Brashear, Managing Partner, The Olsen Group, and Matt Greene, head of sales for Fetch, a company that offers direct-to-door package delivery for apartment and multi-family buildings. Gary and Matt share how they are coping with the disruption, how they are motivating their sales team, and what they see on the horizon.
Here are three key takeaways from this Podcast:
Empathy is imperative
Practice empathy with your sales staff and share your concerns and your own fears with staff. Salespeople tend to be extroverted. They’re stuck at home, they’re not face-to-face with clients, sales are down. A status check can reveal who’s having a rough time or needs more guidance. It’s about more than the numbers right now.
Use past experiences
Is there a past experience that emulates what we’re going through now? It’s like a combination of 9/11, the 2008 recession, and the dot-com boom and bust all wrapped together. Take things day to day, try to navigate through information (or misinformation), and as a leader show up, represent, and listen to your team. If we learned anything from past experiences it’s that being transparent is key.
To pivot or not to pivot
“Pivot” is the word du jour for our current crisis. So do you stay the course or pivot? Ask questions of your team that may lead them to look at a challenge a different way. Talk to your customers and find out what has changed with them. As a sales leader it’s your job to serve customers, help them achieve their goals and if those goals have changed, (and they indeed have) you have to realign your strategy and goals for you—and for them.
Let’s say you’ve hired a new sales team leader. They bring the chops, the energy, and the enthusiasm. But, what if they don’t have the experience your organization needs? They might be new to your organization, maybe they’ve recently been promoted or have moved over into that role from another one.
Our three experts— Scott Olsen, founder of the Olsen Group, Gary Brashear of the Olsen Group, and Tony Esposito, a chief revenue officer and head of sales—offer crucial advice on how to coach, make the right decisions, and ensure your new sales manager is embedded into your organizations’ DNA.
Here are three key takeaways from this podcast episode .
Scott Olsen and Gary Brashear shares highlights from each podcast episode designed to help sales leaders like you and your sales teams develop the skills, systems and culture that leads to sustained and significant results.