TopLine Leadership Blog

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Motivation Coaching: Mastering the 1-on-1 Sales Coaching Conversation

One of the biggest issues that sales managers struggle with is sales rep motivation. Perhaps that’s why sales managers often ask me, “what can I say or do to get my salespeople more focused on achieving their sales goals?”

Personal motivators differ from one salesperson to another. There is typically a primary motivator and a secondary one for each sales rep on your team. Once you understand a person’s motivators you’ll want to incorporate them into your 1 on 1 conversations and other interactions.

As a start, before your meeting with your salesperson ask him/her to identify their “money goal” for the next 12 months, and what they need to sell in order to hit their money goal. Then during the conversation: […]

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Getting Senior Salespeople to Use CRM

While seasoned salespeople are highly valued for their expertise, they can sometimes pose a challenge when it comes to change. Name any kind of change—in company structure, compensation, sales territories, product lines, ownership, etc.—and it’s likely that many seasoned salespeople hate it. It’s understandable to some degree. Successful salespeople have fine-tuned their techniques and are extremely reluctant to change anything about how they work.

It’s no wonder, then, that I often hear sales managers complain: “My seasoned salespeople haven’t yet bought in to using our company’s CRM system. What can I do about it?” […]

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4 Crucial Metrics for Measuring Your Sales Managers

As the saying goes, what gets measured gets done. How are you measuring your sales managers? One metric is, of course, “% of plan.” But you already know that.

Every sales manager wants to be provided with a clearly defined target. Give them a clear target and they will hit it. The trouble with providing them with only one metric focused on end results, such as “% of Plan,” is that sales managers can become very short-term focused. They will put their effort into chasing big deals instead of coaching. So your sales teams aren’t being built to last. […]

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Can Your Sales Managers Teach Your Reps to Hit Home Runs?

Financial offerings warn that past performance is no guarantee of future success. Shouldn’t sales managers carry the same warning?

Too many companies tend to shoot themselves in the foot by investing the bulk of their training resources on their sales reps and ignoring training for those responsible for managing their reps’ performances. Star results as a rep don’t automatically translate into managerial success.

The fact is, most sales managers have never received formal sales management training. Untrained sales managers are a big reason rep training itself may fail to bear fruit, or more specifically, to impact sales results. That hurts your bottom line. […]

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5 Reasons Why Sales Managers Don’t Coach

Let’s do a countdown on the most common reasons I’ve observed about why sales managers don’t do enough coaching…
 5. They mistake “inspection” for “coaching.”
When I ask sales managers to describe what kind of coaching they do, a lot of them say they sit down once a month with each rep to discuss activity level, results, and deals in the hopper. They think that’s coaching. But it’s not. It’s “inspection”—looking at something after the fact!

The word “coach” is derived from the English word, “carriage” which means to transport someone from where they are now to where they want to go. Coaching is an on-going process of direction, teaching and support. It’s not a 1-on-1 conversation every now and then about numbers. […]

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Sales Leadership Lessons I Wish I Could Have Given to My Younger Self

Like most sales managers, I spent several years as a sales rep before promotion to a sales management position. Here’s what I know now that I wish I could have advised my newly-promoted self back in the day:

Your top sales rep may not be your best choice for promotion to sales manager

I had a sales manager opening to fill, and two quota-producing salespeople I was considering for the promotion. My top producer, Mike, was an exceptional salesperson. He had a “motor” that was 2nd to none and was consistently 120% of quota. He was highly competitive and incredibly hard-working. When Mike won a big sale he’d get very jazzed, but when he lost a sale he could get down in the dumps.

My #2 producer, Darren, consistently produced at 100-110% of quota. Darren was more even keel than Mike.

Naturally, I promoted Mike, my top producer because he sold more. It was a huge mistake! […]

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Sun Tzu’s Tip for New Sales Managers

Ann spent years developing into a stellar sales rep for her employer, a tech company. She had a well-earned reputation for producing results far beyond expectations. Six months ago, they rewarded Ann’s hard work by promoting her to the position of sales manager.
Now, Ann tells me she’s working harder than ever before—and yet her team’s results are mediocre at best. My words of advice to her and other new sales managers come from Sun Tzu (The Art of War), the great Chinese philosopher. He wrote: “Eventually your strengths will become a weakness.” […]

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How to Determine ‘Coachability’ in the Sales Rep Candidate Interview

Why waste time and resources hiring sales people who can’t or won’t grow on the job and end up taking up valuable space on your sales team?

Unfortunately, that happens far too often. It’s true that some reps are naturals and likely will succeed in almost all situations, but those self-driven top performers are more the exception than the rule. Most reps require sales coaching to attain top skills and performance — to thrive in your sales culture — and the time to determine a rep’s coachability is in the interview with the candidate, not way down the road. […]

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