Many companies are wrestling with the question about what their future work environment looks like as they emerge from COVID-19 restrictions. Preferences are mixed, but many employees want to keep working from home at least part of the time.
Many sales organizations have become overly reliant on their top sales performers to achieve their goals. While it is convenient to say that we “hit our number” at the end of the quarter, the fact that a few top performers carried the team presents numerous challenges.
Here’s a post one of my colleagues recently made on LinkedIn after a long day of prospecting: “Today, I made 114 calls. The first 100 calls resulted in zero meetings. On call 102, I booked a meeting with a VP at a hypergrowth startup. Call 105 resulted in a meeting with one of the largest retailers in Canada. Don't quit too soon.” Boom! This post went viral, generating thousands of likes, shares, and comments as other sales professionals shared their own war stories and words of encouragement. Clearly, my colleague hit a nerve with his fellow sales professionals. It’s easy to see why. In a profession where the rejection rate can often be 90 percent, staying motivated is critical to your long-term success. So, what kind of person would sign up for a job where they are rejected over 90 percent of the time?
Sales organizations continue to invest in sales training but are often challenged when it comes to demonstrating that the training had a lasting impact on how their sales team sells. According to ATD Research (pre-COVID), sales organizations invested an average of $2,326 per salesperson annually on sales training. Interestingly, a survey by TrainingIndustry.com found that 43.5% of participants felt that sales skills training “needed improvement.” There are a number of reasons that sales training initiatives fall short.
“I think that’s what it’s all about: embracing change and being brave.” While this line is very applicable to the events of this past year, it is actually taken from the Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso.” The comedy is about an American football coach who moves to England after he’s hired to manage an English Premier League soccer team. Though the premise is somewhat absurd, his leadership philosophy struck a chord with me.
According to industry research, sales managers that devote more than three hours of coaching per month to each of their team members achieved 107% of their team quota. On the other hand, teams that received no coaching met only 82% of their quota. Coaching works because it helps you create leverage, and leverage is the key to be a successful sales manager. Leverage means that your salespeople do the work, not you. You spend less time “putting out fires” and more time working on important issues. You create leverage by developing and coaching your team so that their skills improve. With better skills, your salespeople are better able to solve their problems without your constant involvement.