Monday, November 28th, 2022

Developing the potential of talented salespeople

Why development is so much more than just training. In “Hiring salespeople with talent” (see pages 6-7), I explored the challenges involved in making good sales hires. Now I want to shift attention to some of the key things we need to do if we are to fully develop the potential of the talented salespeople that we have just hired…. 

Thursday, September 29th, 2022

Making conflict work

While conflict needs to be managed well, it can also be productive. Conflict is a frequent challenge among business relationships with customers, partners and suppliers. Inside organisations, conflicts within teams and cross-functionally are also common, yet sales professionals often feel ill-equipped to manage conflict well. Unresolved conflict can spread and grow, and result in stress and well-being issues for those… 

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

Measure behaviours as well as outcomes

Only 25% of sales organizations are directly measuring sales behaviours that drive sales success, claims ValueSelling Associates. “Our research findings mean that 75% of sales teams are driving down the interstate with their focus fixed on the rear-view mirror,” President and CEO, Julie Thomas tells the Journal. +

Monday, January 10th, 2022

TOTAL Coaching

Developing and implementing a coaching culture within a sales environment to effect real transformation in coaching across your organisation. Throughout my career in sales leadership with SKF, the Swedish-based world leader in supply of bearings, seals and rotating equipment solutions, I have considered the importance of continual improvement in individual and team performance to be a fundamental element towards success…. 

Monday, January 10th, 2022

Creating an effective coaching culture

How embedded is coaching in your organisation? Let’s explore the fundamental question first: does coaching work and is it worth investing in a coaching culture? The use of coaching has increased, complementing established learning interventions and the research evidence of its effectiveness is robust. A recent review of quantitative studies concluded that workplace coaching does show a good effect size… 

Monday, January 10th, 2022

Is coaching the critical sales management skill?

It’s all about time, skills and mindset. Successful sales managers must master a range of important skills. They need to make sure that they recruit the right people and help them to realise their potential, encourage their teams to follow and contribute to the organisation’s learned best practices, ensure that opportunities are well-qualified, that pipelines are well managed and that… 

Monday, July 26th, 2021

The gift of anxiety

Perhaps surprisingly, the nature of anxiety means that it offers an inherent opportunity for personal and professional growth. In high-value and complex B2B sales, ambitious sales targets and growth plans are common. Typically, sales professionals are measured on outcomes they can control only to a certain extent. As they mature in their career, many develop ways of managing sales pressure… 

Monday, July 26th, 2021

Establishing the foundations of a coaching culture

The ability to coach is a key attribute that distinguishes truly effective first-level sales managers from the pack. What’s the one thing that separates truly effective first-level sales managers from the rest? You can make a case for their ability to motivate or to create an environment of responsibility and accountability, but there’s good reason to believe that their ability… 

Friday, February 26th, 2021

Team tenure

Why understanding team tenure can be a key to healthy sales-team dynamics and a rapid alignment of teams. The longer a team has spent together with the same composition of team members, the more harmonious interpersonal relationships become. The shared experience builds trust and psychological safety, leading to smoother team processes, more effective use of resources and increased team performance… 

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

Mapping out the solution

Here’s how to use “systemic intelligence” collaboratively. The high-pressured, action-oriented sales environment usually leaves little time for sales professionals to step back and reflect on their work. Managing a multitude of customer and internal relationships, complex sales cycles, and chronic disruption means we need robust problem-solving skills. Unfortunately, “mindtraps” have formed through human evolution. Once a matter of survival to… 

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

Moving from “I” to “We”

How a relationship-based group coaching model can improve performance. As a salesperson and subsequent sales leader with more than two decades of experience, on-the-job learning has provided me with valuable insights and business management skills. However, given the rapidly evolving business environment, I realised the need to embark upon a continuous learning path. On learning about the SAP Master’s programme,… 

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

Just call me Coach

How developing a coaching culture can make you a “destination employer”. How to embed a coaching culture was a dominant theme at the most recent Sales Learning & Development conference. Sales learning and development is not just about teaching skills; it’s about engaging and motivating the whole organization to be passionate about learning and development, and adopting a coaching culture… 

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Comedy and coaching culture at APS conference

Two half-day programmes explored the interrelated issues of performance and talent. Driving improved sales performance via strategic insights and best practices was top of the agenda for delegates at a morning conference for APS members and guests at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on 16 May. An afternoon conference focused on developing sales talent. Speakers included a mix of company… 

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Sales coaching for the digital age

How Big Data-Driven Coaching has been boosting win rates. Maintaining a position of pre-eminence in the highly competitive IT industry requires leaders to adapt to changes in the business landscape more rapidly than the competition. Continued success also relies on the development of innovative sales enablement techniques that boost performance, help meet customer needs and achieve bottom-line results. Digital Transformation… 

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Can a coaching culture improve the level of performance of salespeople in SMEs?

Coaching in Ireland is in the early stage of its life cycle, mostly used by “early adopters” rather than being in the mainstream of management tools. The use of coaching in companies as a development tool for employees has exploded over the past 15 to 20 years. According to a report by Frank Bresser (2009) there are about 43,000 to… 

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Recruiting coachable salespeople

Can organisations understand how to recruit salespeople who are adaptable, coachable, and willing to embrace new learning? What makes a good salesperson? Arguably there are many characteristics and behaviours, and whilst some commentators pigeon-hole salespeople with simplistic titles to define their characters (Dixon and Adamson 2011), others take a different view and suggest that great salespeople demonstrate “differentiating mind-sets”, reflected… 

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Is coaching going AI?

Last time around, I wrote about artificial intelligence (AI) and sales. More specifically, I speculated on the possible impact of one type of AI – deep learning – on sales as we know it today. I explained that many features of more routinised sales jobs might be amenable to replacement by deep-learning methods, and also that perhaps this might not… 

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Opportunity coaching for fun and profit

You’ll notice a number of articles elsewhere in this edition on the subject of coaching. I want to use this short piece to focus on an area that has become a particular interest of mine: using coaching techniques to help our salespeople develop more effective opportunity strategies. I’ve observed organisations that do a particularly effective job of opportunity coaching, viewed… 

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Using data to drive effective coaching

Organisations understand the power of coaching and the importance of data to inform this activity. But could it lead to a zombie sales force? What is the difference between coaching and training? This is often poorly understood. As a starter, we might consider that training is about transferring knowledge while coaching is about enhancing that knowledge and developing people and… 

Monday, March 12th, 2018

Three often-overlooked topics to enhance sales practice

Why the three topics of coaching, change management and stakeholder engagement should be considered more seriously in the development of sales managers and sales professionals identified as high performers. Introduction I identified three topics I considered to be important to sales that were not usually taught or self-selected by salespeople, and that I believed would help outperformance in the long…