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Has the fun gone out of Sales?

Yesterday I had a first meeting with a VP of Sales. He opened with: “It feels like the fun has gone out of sales, particularly with the constant focus on forecast. How do you respond to that as a coach?”

My answer was two-fold:

  • Firstly, the constant focus on forecast highlights just how influential a sales manager is. It’s easy to slip into passing the focus on to salespeople. But this distracts them from the activity needed to close forecast business on time – the fun bit. The alternative is to find ways to ‘protect’ salespeople, coach them when needed and get accurate information for the forecast.
  • Secondly, the current business environment demands clear value and RoI for projects and deals to go ahead. Salespeople need to work with customers to do what is needed to get the go-ahead and deliver the value. This is at the heart of great selling and what I fell in love with many years ago as a trainee salesperson at National Adhesives.

It is a tough environment but sales managers do have the power to lead their people to great selling and make it fun again. And guess what? Our coaching framework for sales managers is designed specifically for this purpose.