This article is about exchanges that I had with three sales leaders in 2017.
First, the sales manager of a rep I was coaching booked a 1:1 with the rep at the same time that the rep was scheduled to talk to me. I asked who his manager was and when he told me, I told the rep to tell his manager that I don't want him to schedule over one of my calls again. A month later, that manager read this article and signed up for three months of manager coaching that day. When he signed up, he said, "I don't want my shortcomings to be the reason that any of my people miss their goals. Several of his reps signed up (and paid out of their own pocket) to be coached in subsequent months. Most were reimbursed, but the end result was that his team was the most over quota as a team in a multi-billion dollar company.
Second, a sales manager reached out in May saying, Hi Rick, (the manager in the first story) mentioned to me that he's doing some leadership coaching with you. It was a great reminder to me that there are some key things I've been missing in my coaching process and I need a reboot. I know that we've spoken in the past when you were doing some training for our international reps, however it wasn't focused directly on my own coaching abilities, we were focused mainly on the reps. Since then my responsibilities have grown and I'm now managing 14 reps and expect that to double. In general I feel I could use a re-boot. The team isn't performing as well as we'd like (attainment mediocre, morale low-mediocre, etc) and I feel I need to level up my skills to help them get to where they need to be. I dug out my OMG assessment from a few years ago and after reading through it I can see that some of my weaknesses are still weaknesses. That has to change. We evaluated his team. I never spoke to anybody on his team. Rather, I helped him understand the individuals on his team and how to use the evaluation to help them grow.
Finally, in September, a director of 27 salespeople had 8 of the reps on his team use our statistics tool to see how they compared to the millions of salespeople that have been evaluated using the OMG tools. He should be proud because the 8 scored above average on 19 of the 21 core competencies that we evaluate for and in the top 10% on 3 of the competencies. Why only 8 salespeople? Were they his best or his worst? Is he now planning on doing traning on the two areas where the group wasn't above average? What about the reps that need help in areas where others don't or the ones that are gonna be bored during training because they don't need that help? I wish I could get the director to read the article above and realize that sometimes the manager may not notice what is obvious or at least visible to the third party coach who has, as the article points out, a different perspective as well as different experience and predisposition.
As a result of last year, you'll notice my focus changing from helping reps get better to helping sales leaders help their reps get better. My next article will be about the first and biggest mistake that managers make with their reps, but if you don't want to wait for that and you want to be one of the sales managers that I help this year, start here.