Sales and Coaching Fails

Coaches fail for the same reason that salespeople fail.

I wrote about Johnny a couple of weeks ago. As you know from the article, his VP and manager (both clients of mine) think he could be great, but he lacks commitment. Why? Because he hasn't figured out what's important yet? Someday, he may, but right now he wants us to tell him, but all we can do is help him find it.

A couple of weeks ago, Al booked a call on my calendar. Al is the 'head of sales' in his company and one of his investors suggested that I could help him scale his sales force. Not because I was a good recruiter, but because I had some success turning smart people into rock star sales people regardless of how little sales experience they had. When we talked to Al and when we read his follow up email, we saw that he had his numbers, but that was the problem. He knew what he wanted. He knew what his company needed. He had no clue what his people, as individuals, truly wanted.

Last week, another head of sales reached out asking about my coaching program. This head of sales also invited the CEO to our first call. They told us that they know their people and that each salesperson needed help with a different part of the sales process. This could be true, but do the salespeople know it and do they want to change? Or are they comfortable with where they are? Under what circumstances would each salesperson want to change what they're comfortable doing?

Now, why the title? Because coaching fails for exactly the same reason that salespeople fail. Self interest. Self centered. Self absorbed. Salespeople approach prospects with their own goals in mind. Similarly, the heads of sales that I mentioned are asking about coaching for their reasons and for their company's reasons. Salespeople sell better when they solve for the customer and coaching will only work when the salesperson is driving the process. 

One more point. Not everybody is ready to be coached today80% of your sales comes from 20% of your salespeople. Do 80% of your resources go into 20% of your salespeople? Is it the same 20%? The Pareto Principle can be applied in many ways. Here's what I suggest...

  • Figure out who your top 20% are and how much they sell.
  • Figure out how much sales would grow if each of the salespeople sold as much as each of the top 20% did. (Did you come up with 400% (4X)?)
  • Finally, evaluate all of your salespeople. Compare the Sales DNA and Sales Competencies of the top 20% to the rest of the salespeople. Then figure out whether you should fix them or replace them.

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