The (not) Great Expectations of a challenged Sales Director
“When the talk started about sales coaching, my initial thought was it was something for the likes of Richard Branson or senior board members. I never really saw it happening at my level. I had the weird perception that I’m not worthy of it because my challenges don’t amount to much, and I should be able to sort them out myself.
And I wasn’t alone. The majority of my team were as sceptical as me initially, but…
On reflection my challenges were big
- The company was initiating a new sales strategy around Net New Business
- A young team being asked to do things they potentially weren’t equipped for – including the shift from responding to inbound (answering the phone) to proactive (making meaningful outbound calls)
- A fractious relationship with a peer that was often debilitating for me and frustrating for him.
The benefit of having a regular Sales Team Coach
For the whole team, the fact that Jim knows the dynamics in the company and knows the individuals you are talking about means that he absolutely understands the whole piece. That makes a massive difference, because you’re not just talking to someone jettisoned in for 3 days who says: “Right, what’s the challenge?”
As a result of the coaching
- Curiosity: Salespeople are asking more questions and better questions, having deeper relationships and consequently are generating opportunities
- My Coaching of the Team: I now have the skill to know the difference when it’s the right time to Tell or to Ask. I know when people want to be told what’s the best thing to do. But most of the time it’s “what do you think we should do?” or “how about we look at it like this?” as it’s more valuable if the person can work it out for themselves.
- Mental health and mindset: Even though 1:1s with Jim are another Zoom call, they’re different. It’s given people an opportunity to express how they’re feeling. Particularly important for the younger members of the team who could be working from their bedroom. We’re going to be making some changes this year, and I believe the team are now much more open to see change as a good thing and there’ll be less anxiety.
- Relationship: Compared to 18 months ago the relationship with my peer is transformed.
- Revenue: 2020 was the best year ever in terms of revenue and margin. The decision to start the coaching process has absolutely made a contribution to this.
As we move into Phase 2 of our Net New growth strategy in 2021, Jim’s coaching will play an essential role in its success.”