3 Strategies to Improve Sales Forecast Accuracy

Sales Funnel-TopLine Leadership Sales Management Training

The single most important issue in any sales organization is managing the funnel to achieve an accurate sales forecast. Let’s look at two ways this core issue is typically handled.

Company A’s funnel process uses one of the most common approaches to forecasting, orienting its sales funnel to the steps of its sales process: qualifying, opportunity identified, quotation provided, demonstration delivered, and negotiation/close. You know the drill.

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

TopLine Leadership Sales Management Training

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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5 Reasons Why Sales Managers Don’t Coach

Sales Manager's who don't coach

Let’s do a countdown on the most common reasons I’ve observed about why sales managers don’t do enough sales 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 sales 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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Sun Tzu’s Tip for New Sales Managers

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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

Coachablity of salespeople

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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Hiring the Right Salesperson

Hiring the right salesperson

Perhaps no decision is more important for a sales manager to “get right” then the decision to hire a salesperson. Mistakes are very costly. Here are some suggestions for making your next new-hiring decision one that you will one day congratulate yourself for.

Can you see this candidate, after training and effective coaching, ranking in the top half of your sales team? If not, don’t hire the person.

Each hiring decision you make will have an impact on your team’s culture – and you need the impact to be extremely positive not negative.

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7 Ways to Drive Your Sales Coaching Culture (Free eBook)

Implementing a formalized approach to sales coaching – a sales coaching culture – is proven by research to drive up sales performance. The link between the ability of your sales managers to coach sales reps and your reps’ willingness and ability to make the best use of that coaching is critical to your company’s top … Read full article

Great Sales Coaches Help Reps Learn from a Lost Sale

Nobody, no matter how good they are at selling, has a 100% win rate. That means all of us have to learn how to deal with losses. As a sales manager, your job is to help your team learn from these lost sales. A lost sale is a failure only when we, individually and as a team, don’t learn from it.

Having a positive attitude is especially important in the sales profession. And when a salesperson loses a big deal, it is easy for them to get down. That’s a normal human reaction. But if your salesperson stays down, that’s not good. And one way to help salespeople process their lost sales quicker is to teach them how to “look for the lesson” in every lost sale.

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5 Point Plan for Improving Your Sales Team

To achieve meaningful and significant improvement in your sales team, you must spend more time coaching your salespeople. Trouble is, there are so many barriers that prevent effective coaching from happening. Here’s a 5-point plan (sound familiar?) for overcoming these barriers and significantly improving your sales team’s performance. Adopt the sales leadership mindset. Many of … Read full article

To Become a Better Sales Coach You Need to Think Differently

Have you ever considered what made you successful when you were a salesperson? You were, and still likely are, action-oriented, decisive, and adept at problem solving. These sales attributes were rewarded as a salesperson – and then you got promoted and everything changed. Except – perhaps – you. Now I ask you to consider – … Read full article