Ever had a manager or coach give a speech that resonated more powerfully than most?
The answer, of course, is yes. The best speeches combine passion and insight to drill into our psyche and dig out new levels of energy, savvy, and determination.
It’s halftime of 2015. Your sales team just finished a quick 4th of July breather. With half of the year behind you, now is the perfect opportunity to give your team the epic halftime speech it needs to hear. And because a little extra coaching never hurts, here are 5 inspirational, insightful speeches from several of the most renowned sales coaches influencing the sales profession right now.
Cindy Littlefield – Sr. Consultant at Bridge Group
A Senior Consultant with the Bridge Group, Cindy has over 20 years of sales and sales management experience, and has spent 6+ years delivering playbooks, interim management, training, and coaching to Bridge Group clients.
Happy July, I can’t believe half of the year is gone. I have one word for both reps and sales leaders that will up your game for the second half: coaching.
The Merriam-Webster defines a coach as a person who teaches and trains an athlete or performer. I see a sales team as a group of athletes who, if coached properly, will condition their sales muscles to consistently perform at a higher level and achieve greatness.
For those of you who are thinking that your team is great and doesn’t need coaching, I have two words for you: Phil Mickelson.
Even though he is one of the highest paid and most successful professional golfers, he works with multiple coaches including: a swing coach, a putting coach, and a mental coach.
Have I made my point?
Now that I’ve convinced you that coaching has its merits, you may be wondering where to start.
Create a coaching culture: Schedule regular side-by-side coaching sessions with each rep. There is no better opportunity to reinforce what is working and identify obstacles to be overcome than by listening to live calls. Commit to spending a minimum of 3-4 hours per month with each rep and make sure it happens. Your reps need to know that they are your top priority. And no — pipeline reviews don’t count as coaching.
So now that you’ve made the coaching commitment, you may be looking for ideas on what to coach on. Here are some topics that often need attention.
Buyer knowledge: Your team needs to know who your ideal buyers are, what their hot buttons are, and how your product or service solves their business issues. If your reps are droning on and on about product, then it’s likely they don’t really understand your buyers’ hot buttons. Every conversation should be focused on the buyer, not your company and its products.
Prospecting: Whether your team only responds to inbound leads or is responsible for proactive outbound prospecting; they need:
- A touch “map” that tells them how many times they need to touch every lead or contact, along with when to leave a voice message and when to send an email.
- Messaging themes that align with your buyers’ hot buttons and tell the story of the business issues you solve over the series of touches. Don’t allow your reps to just “go through the motions.” Remove “following up” and “touching base” from their vocabulary and they will be better positioned to have great conversations once they finally connect with the buyer.
- The ability to ask the touch questions to uncover need is crucial. If your reps are tightly qualifying for “authority,” “budget” and “timeline” but glossing over “need,” they are spinning their wheels on deals that are unlikely to close without divine intervention. Superficial qualification equals a sketchy pipeline.
Effective coaching includes rep follow through. At the conclusion of each coaching session, assign goals for the next session that includes practicing the new behaviors they need to work on; along with self-development. Self-development could include reading a few chapters in a book or sitting with an A player and listening like a sponge.
As Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
So what’s your individual commitment to your team, Coach?
Mark Kosoglow – VP of Sales at Outreach
Mark is the VP of Sales at Outreach.io, where he runs a global sales team that helps sales executives better manage their reps, pipelines and sales process through Outreach’s unique sales acceleration platform.
Almost without fail, the success of the second half of the sales year depends on your execution of the first half’s game plan. The consequences of shortsighted decisions, deal chasing, and procrastination in the winter and spring are about to rear their ugly heads making your end of year (EOY) goals suddenly seem impossible.
How do you recover when faced with the next six months quickly becoming a lost cause? It’s tough, but there is a way. The strategy you need is “take 3 steps back to make a giant leap forward.”
Six months of poor execution can only be overcome by a giant leap forward and the only way to get enough momentum to carry you all the way to your goals is by backing up, getting a running start, and jumping like you are Blake Griffin dunking on Timothy Mozgov.
How to take 3 steps back:
- Stop. Slow down. Set aside a couple days you will invest in steps 2 and 3 that follow. Get ready to lose this week or this month, so you can win the ones that follow.
- Assess. Evaluate. Think hard thoughts. What needs to happen for you to hit your EOY goals? What was missing from your execution in the first 6 months of the year? Find and understand the big picture of the work and results required and why you didn’t do it the first time around.
- Break it down. Chunk it up. Use your newly gained understanding to define the details of what you will need to do. Then, figure out how you are going to do it.
That’s some general direction. Here are some specific tasks you can do:
- Identify opportunities which must close to have a chance of hitting quota for the year. Double down on those. Please don’t be overly optimistic and think it will all close. Build in a margin of error, but work those account like your job depends on it…it might.
- How many more average opportunities do you need to create? How many big? How many small? Now, work backwards. What’s your close rate? What’s your conversion rate? That shows you how many leads you need. How much prospecting time do you need to create that pipeline? You’ll need to prioritize those activities or you will never get there.
- Identify the deals that will not get any more time out of you. If they close, great. If they don’t, fine. You don’t have time for everything, so you are going to have to let some stuff go to do the new mission critical tasks you’ve created.
It’s cliche, but don’t be insane and think you’ll hit your EOY goals by just working the same way you have been. Be smart. Come up with a different plan. Then….Do.Work.Son.
Jordan Wan – Founder & CEO at CloserIQ
Combining impressive backgrounds in sales management and analytics, Jordan founded CloserIQ in 2014 to help startups hire top sales talent. As CEO, Jordan oversees sales and business development.
As the second half of 2015 begins, it’s time to re-group and focus on the goals you made at the beginning of the year. Maybe you crushed your first half quota or maybe you’re way behind and feeling a little bit of panic setting in. Either way, the first half is done. This is a brand new ball game.
Here are 5 tips to help you finish 2015 stronger than you started.
1) Find your motivation.
It all starts with why you come to work everyday. Make sure you’ve got positive energy and motivation to keep you focused for the next 6 months.
To clear the air, request a check-in with your manager and have them help you take it to the next level. Make sure you know your goals and promotion opportunities. You need to know what it means to crush it and what happens when you do. Your manager should have the same incentives as you to make sure you stay hungry.
2) Set daily activity goals.
6 months is a long time. If you know your pipeline conversion rates then you should be able to calculate the daily activity goals you need to hit. It’s much better to have a sense of how you did at the end of every day than get blindsided at the end of the year.
If you are struggling to reach your daily activity goals despite working a full day, then you should ask your manager for help diagnosing where your time is going.
3) Maintain a consistent pipeline.
Don’t bust your pipeline by under-allocating time with top of the funnel opportunities. Having a late-stage heavy pipeline may be a great feeling for the next month but if you’re not paying attention, you’ll have some bad swings and look like a one hit wonder.
4) Push to a close.
Which opportunities have the best engagement right now that you can drive towards a final decision? It’s much harder to re-ignite conversations so make sure you are following-up on your working deals and driving towards a final state of closure, even if it’s a no.
5) Minimize distractions.
Other than the regular social media culprits, you need to watch out for fantasy football in the second half of the year. It’s an amazing game but also very addictive.
Before draft season begins, lay out some boundaries for yourself and don’t over-commit. It’s not about being a good employee, it’s about maximizing your selling time and minimizing distractions. Keep your eyes on what’s important — your career, your reputation as a closer, and your W-2.
That’s all I got. There are tips that we all need a reminder of every once a while.
And don’t procrastinate on this stuff. Start putting the work in today so you don’t end up like the other clowns who will be blaming the shitty weather and holiday effects for their poor performance in the second half.
Good luck. Go crush it.
Matt Hottle – CEO at RedHawk Consulting
The subject of a recent Sales Influencer Series episode, Matt is a long-time sales executive who now runs a consulting firm that specializes in optimizing sales, marketing and operations for startups and small businesses.
It’s time to step up.
You are all heart. Time and time again you have answered the bell and put in the grind to make your numbers. You work hard and hustle for everything you’ve won — but that’s not enough anymore.
It’s time to step up and become more than just another meat puppet peddling the latest and greatest version of a product. Ineffective salespeople are being culled from the herd every day. It’s time for the willing to stand up and start treating their sales profession as a craft. Something to be honed, refined and developed into a world-class skill-set.
Be better than the best you compete against — know more, do more, hustle harder. Know your product and their product better than they do.
Be a student of your industry by understanding the current state, future trends and potential pain for which your buyers are trying to solve.
Find ways to add real value to the process for your prospects — don’t just facilitate a purchase.
Don’t wait on your half-assed marketing department or sales manager to create a better value proposition for you. Create one yourself that actually gets you traction. Ask for forgiveness later.
Pick up a book, any book, about sales tactics and strategy. Read it and then read another.
Consume at least one industry publication per day, preferably two.
Get to work early. Stay late. Exercise. Eat a vegetable once in a while.
Strive to get better at what you do every day.
Celebrate your wins with vigor and be willing to truthfully examine your defeats. Own both and be accountable for either outcome.
Most of all, find joy in the process. Love the grind or find ways to make it part of what builds you up and makes you stronger, faster and a killer of quotas.
Dionne Mischler – Founder at Inside Sales by Design
When leading a team, especially my own, I believe in positive motivation and making our number well ahead of the deadline. I also preach this to my clients and highlight it when given the opportunity to present best practices. It comes as a surprise to some when I share that revenue is a result of doing the basic everyday activities well.
And in order to guarantee the right result, the right sales infrastructure needs to be in place as well as the team engaging in the right activities – phone, emails, texts, social media, etc. Given that, my emails to my team are short and expectations are consistent whether it’s the first of the year or mid-way through.
So one of my “half-time” messages would read/sound something like this:
“Team, congratulations on a job well done! We’ve made our number in both revenue and net new accounts and contacts. We are leading the pack and providing real value to our prospects, customers, and organization. We couldn’t have done it without you and appreciate all of your efforts!
As we enter Q3, we’ve got an amazing opportunity ahead of us to delight our customers, help our prospects, and as a result, make our number and for you to achieve your personal goals when comp plan milestones are overachieved. I’ve spoken with all of you and know you have some personal goals so let’s go get ‘em!
And as always, I’m here and committed to making sure you’re all successful. I look forward to an amazing and successful second half of the year and hearing the stories from your realized goals of vacations and home buying!”
With these halftime speeches from five of the top sales coaches in the industry, you can truly face the second half of the calendar year and any challenges you may have.
This post was originally published on Ambition, a sales operations platform that drives CRM adoption, KPI performance, team accountability and cultural alignment.