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A Few Good Sales Coaching Blog Posts

If you’re in sales (or general) management, two consecutive posts on Bill Caskey’s Inside the Sales Mind blog are really worth reading:

  1. Sales Training Q&A #12: How to Maintain a High Performance Sales Team.  During my years as a sales consultant this was one of the coaching exercises I did with every sales manager.  It is very, very effective.  I learned this reality check from my former boss, Ken Arnold, many years ago.  Don’t watch this video only once.  Watch it until you can, at any time of the day, week, month, quarter or year, instantly respond to the question, “If you had to reduce your sales team by 20 percent, whom would you fire?”  Make sure you answer Bryan Neale’s other questions as well.

  2. Salespeople, What Is Your Selling Time Worth? The second post discusses how to calculate the value of a sales person’s time.  It too, makes a lot of sense.  We used to handle this one slightly differently:

If a salesperson’s quota is $2 million, and you use the same denominator, 2000, what you are calculating is how much product or service the salesperson needs to be selling on an hourly basis.  In this case, it’s $1,000 per hour!  Ask a salesperson to go through the math with you.  Then remind them that they need to be spending their time in a way that will return an average of a thousand an hour.  It’s usually pretty sobering.

One of the other points I like to make is this:

“Do you really believe a particular opportunity is qualified and worth pursuing? Give it the acid test. Ask yourself: ‘If I had to fund every penny of my salary, benefits, expenses, and other costs of acquiring this contract, in return for, say, reimbursement and a 30 to 40 percent commission, would I do it?’ Makes your collar feel a bit tight, doesn’t it? That’s the bet your company is making. That’s why it’s your responsibility to be logical, objective, diligent, and unemotional in pursuing the right deals.”  Source: How Winners Sell (Kaplan, 2004).


2 Responses

  1. Thanks Dave. I like your other point—would you fund the next call? Starts to get to the real issue of ‘is it worth pursuing?’ Every call costs so much ($500-1000) but those costs are usually ignored–by everyone.

    Nice work on your blog!

  2. Dave,
    Bryan makes a good case and it’s definitely worth watching the whole video — I was thinking that you identify the top, remove the bottom, and train the middle, but he says to focus training on your top performers, because
    this is where you will get the biggest payback. It’s similar to sports — at all levels, teams spend the most practice time refining the skills of the the first string and much less on the 2nd and 3rd strings.

    I’m wondering though about those people in the middle. Bryan says pay attention to who is moving up and who is moving down, but the thing about the middle is that everyone is bunched together. How do you tell who is
    moving in which direction? Firing people is tough on morale and training new people is expensive. I’m not suggesting holding on to the low performers, but maybe it’s possible to provide some help to the middle performers, without taking anything away from the high performers.

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