Better Sales Coaching Creates Measurable Results

Sales coaching is often listed as one of the top three priorities for sales managers – and with good reason. Sales coaching is an effective way to increase sales, retain employees, and create measurable positive changes for any organization. Coaching also offers managers an opportunity to not only get a firsthand look at the issues their reps are facing in the field, but also to share best practices that will assist reps in improving their performance. 

But despite the major benefits coaching can offer, research has shown that the majority of sales managers fail to provide effective coaching to their sales reps. In this post, we’ll highlight the impact of effective sales coaching, and show you how you can improve your own organization’s coaching efforts to maximize your sales team’s success. 

Better Sales Coaching Raises Sales Percentiles by 28% – 49%

While it seems fairly obvious that better coaching creates better results, research suggests that the potential for improvement may be significantly higher than many sales managers expect. 

In an evaluation of almost 2 million salespeople and sales managers, Objective Management Group (OMG) found that sales percentile scores were 28% higher for sales reps whose managers devoted at least 50% of their time to coaching. Reps who received coaching also showed higher scores in key sales competencies: 13% better in Qualifying and 24% better in Closing, compared to reps whose managers rarely provided coaching.

Interestingly, these numbers only factor in the time spent coaching – not the quality of the coaching itself. In a follow-up evaluation, OMG discovered that managers who spent extensive time coaching and have great coaching skills can increase their reps’ sales percentile scores by as much as 49%, compared to managers with weak skills who spent minimal time coaching.

More Than Half of Sales Managers Are Not Good Coaches

Unfortunately, further OMG research has indicated that the majority of sales managers do not possess the coaching skills needed to create this level of positive impact. According to OMG, 63% of all sales managers fall into the weak category and 24% of all sales managers fall into the serviceable category – leaving only 13% of sales managers with “strong” or “elite” coaching skills.

Poor coaching among sales managers may be attributed  to factors such as: 

  • Competing priorities – A sales manager’s role includes a number of varying responsibilities, and while coaching is often named as a key objective, few organizations reflect that prioritization in management KPIs. For many sales managers, personal sales and commissions may also outweigh management compensation, and influence the manager’s motivation to devote their time and energy to coaching.
  • Poor definition – Sales managers may also have a poor definition of what “coaching” involves. Some managers may believe that coaching is simply a matter of telling a sales rep what to do, or helping them with basic tasks such as lead identification or pricing. Others feel that listening to a sales call or observing a client visit in the field constitutes coaching. However, these activities require additional learning and engagement elements in order to be effective.
  • Inability to execute – In other cases, a sales manager may understand the various factors that go into effective coaching, but are unable to effectively implement them. In particular, many sales managers falter when it comes to role-playing activities – often considered one of the most important and effective elements of sales coaching.

What Makes Sales Coaching “Good”?

There are a number of ways to develop and implement successful sales coaching programs, but the most effective programs share the same basic qualities. In general, good coaching programs: 

  • Are individualized to the sales reps’ unique skills and learning preferences
  • Promote trust by creating a non-judgmental environment and allowing open discussion of challenges
  • Encourage self-evaluation that allows the sales rep to build self-awareness and guide the coaching discussion
  • Use the Socratic method, with effective questions that stimulate thinking and allow sales reps to have ownership in creating the solution
  • Focus on improving one area at a time versus addressing multiple points and potentially overwhelming the sales rep
  • Focus on improving skills and techniques rather than specific sales numbers

Improve Your Coaching Skills with HireDNA

The sales training and coaching experts at HireDNA can help you improve your sales coaching skills, develop an effective coaching and training program, and deliver high-quality sales training that works within the workflow of your sales team.

HireDNA was recently recognized as an emerging leader in corporate training and coaching. Our experts can assist with any questions about building first-in-class, on-demand sales training tailored specifically for remote sales forces.

3 Keys to Boosting the Productivity of Remote Sales Teams

One of the biggest complaints we’re seeing from clients in the middle of this global pandemic is that the myriad interruptions to business operations are disrupting sales momentum. While day-to-day sales activities may be continuing, progress toward sales goals is often stalling.

But for savvy sales leaders, the global quarantine lockdown does not have to translate into a sales slowdown. While business interactions may be limited, creativity is not. For every obstacle that emerges, there exists a creative workaround to ensure your team can continue to work productively.

In previous discussions of what it takes for sales teams to thrive in a crisis, our experts highlighted steps like staying client-focused and taking your sales conversations online. In this week’s post, we’ll take a look at how successful remote sales teams can use the right tools and techniques to boost their overall productivity.

1.  Go Virtual

Virtual interactions have become a requirement thanks to the current coronavirus pandemic. While some companies have struggled to adapt their business models to remote operations, smart leaders are finding that virtual tools have allowed their teams to actually reach higher levels of productivity. This is a crucial discovery, because even when the global lockdown lifts, virtual business operations are likely to become part of the “new normal” for many organizations.

In our latest white paper on prospering during a crisis, we explained how can go on the offensive and take a proactive approach to managing the impact of a global crisis. With travel bans and quarantines forcing a shift to remote operations, this tactic includes the need to develop creative virtual sales presentations to present your solutions and demonstrate their value. This could include solutions like webinars, virtual office tours, or live product demonstrations using remote access tools or videos showing your product or team in action.

“Going virtual” can also apply beyond direct sales interactions. Virtual sales training has been a growing trend, well before the pandemic hit, with companies discovering a wealth of benefits to taking their training operations online. Virtual training has been shown to increase reps’ effectiveness, and outperform live classroom training in areas like increased pipeline and greater rep confidence.

2. Create Effective Sales Playbooks

A huge productivity killer is a daunting “to do” list that amounts to little more than a jumble of disparate tasks waiting for the next action. Reps get busy, actions slip into the “do it later” pile, and all the valuable time spent on prospecting is lost because they didn’t follow up in a timely manner. Having an effective sales playbook can help eliminate this common problem.

Playbooks are one of the most powerful tools in your sales team’s arsenal. They clearly outline your sales process, and arm your reps with all the content and strategies they need to navigate the sales cycle and close a deal. Operating without a well-defined playbook puts your team at a disadvantage, and can encourage a chaotic sales process that greatly reduces your ability to improve and scale your operations.

A playbook helps give your rep a comprehensive understanding of the entire sales journey, and allows your reps to clearly see the appropriate next action to take at every stage. This can help eliminate decision fatigue and ensure that your reps are making the right moves, at the right times, to move their sales conversations forward.

This is especially important in a remote sales environment when sales managers are not able to stand over their rep’s shoulder listening to calls and demos, and helping them take the appropriate steps to close the deal.

3. Use the Right Platforms and Tools

Rather than operating as a standalone tool, an effective playbook should be integrated with your CRM system and productivity tools, to help further automate your sales process and improve your team’s efficiency.

An effective CRM allows sales teams to automate tasks like meeting invites, email follow ups, and prospect monitoring. This is a key step in ensuring the next action dictated by your playbook is executed effectively.

Industry-leading CRM platforms, like HubSpot or Salesforce, also include productivity-boosting features like task sequencing, communication tools and templates, and call planning. These systems can be integrated with other productivity apps – including calendars, and prospecting tools – to create seamless sales operations and allow your team to operate at peak levels.

CRMs also offer remote dialer tools that will allow reps to automate the process of logging call notes, recording calls, and tracking their call activities, providing managers with full visibility into their team’s productivity despite being remote.

Expert Insights Help Move Your Team Forward

At HireDNA, we offer a range of solutions and services for businesses looking to scale their sales organizations. From sales performance evaluations and virtual training, to playbook development and CRM integrations, our team of experts can help you propel your business to success and accelerate your growth.

Contact our experts to learn how we can help you equip your sales force with the tools they need to improve their productivity and achieve peak performance.

How to Create an Effective Sales Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

Your sales team’s performance is crucial to your organization’s bottom-line. Every underperforming salesperson represents missed opportunities and lost revenue that could have contributed toward your business. While the most straightforward fix may appear to let the salesperson go, think again.

Rather than spend time and resources on ramping up a new hire, it may be more cost-effective to work to improve the underperforming rep’s performance. That’s where a sales performance improvement plan (PIP) comes in.

Evaluate performance gaps and develop a highly successful training program to boost your sales team’s output. Contact a HireDNA expert today.

5 Ways To Create An Effective Sales Performance Plan

A sales performance plan, also known as a performance improvement plan (PIP), is a detailed strategy that outlines the steps underperforming sales reps need to take in order to regain their optimal performance levels.  

This plan defines clear goals and growth metrics along with the roadmap to achieve those goals. With a timeline added to the strategy, your salesperson has a fair chance to improve their performance.

So, how do you create an effective sales PIP? Here are some key tips to building the right PIP:

Evaluation Your Team’s Performance

Before building out your PIP, it’s important to evaluate your salespeople and understand why they are underperforming. Once you do that, you’ll have the groundwork you need to understand what it will take to help them improve in those areas and ultimately increase their performance altogether.

Start with an evaluation to understand your reps’ strengths and weaknesses to determine where you should focus your time and attention. An evaluation will also help to determine if your rep is capable of improving their skills and ultimately their results. 

With thorough sales team evaluations, HireDNA can help you identify KPIs, uncover skill gaps, and discover opportunities for future growth. Learn more.

Provide A Precise Overview

Your performance improvement plan should not include vague statements and motives. Instead, it should clearly state what has been lacking in the sales rep’s performance.

For increased clarity, consider restating their job description and provide a comparative overview of what has been missing. For instance, if a sales rep is expected to meet a minimum of 70% of their quarterly quota and they have failed to do so, mention that with their exact figures in your performance plan.

Remember to include specific examples such as missed projects, exceeded deadlines, or incidents where the sales rep did not meet their role’s expectations.

Outline Tangible Goals

To provide further clarity in expectations, sales managers should provide highly targeted breakdowns of goals and objectives. Consider setting specific activity-based goals, like appointing a minimum number of leads per week or imposing minimum demonstrations per quarter. When defining your goals, be sure to prioritize what you want to accomplish first, and outline incentives for meeting smaller objectives.

For more tips here, read our blog post on How to Set Measurable Sales Goals & Objectives.

Make Your PIP Realistic

The entire performance improvement plan should include steps, learning procedures, and relevant metrics that can be achieved in the apportioned timeframe. If a sales rep is struggling to generate leads, they might require additional training and further time to put that into practice. Cramming the entire strategy into a week is unlikely to bear any fruit. Make sure you work closely with the rep and compare with other reps to help ensure the goals you set are realistic.

Establish Timely Follow-Ups

Once you have presented your sales performance plan to the salesperson, it is essential to schedule periodical follow-ups. As a sales manager, you should remain up to date on the progress your underperforming team members are making.

Regular coaching is key for a sales manager to help reps improve performance. Check-ins will allow you to stay at the forefront of any issues or troubles they may be facing with the plan. Be careful not to make these check-ins overly negative. They should be encouraging and include coaching to uncover obstacles and provide advice to help the salesperson meet their objectives. By showing that you are dedicated to helping them improve their performance, you can build loyalty and motivate them to put in more effort.

Effective coaching can also help to prevent the need for a PIP, as a sales manager can work closely with their reps to improve skills and ensure performance is on track with expectations.

Keep It On The Low

The enactment of a sales performance plan does not have to be a team-wide affair. Particularly in the case of veteran salespeople who are struggling to meet their targets, a publicized sales performance improvement plan can have a dampening effect on their morale. It is okay and often-times preferred to have the PIP remain a matter between the sales manager and the underperforming salesperson.

As a sales manager, it’s important to ensure that the entire process remains a positive experience. Outlining the advantages of the plan and providing positive encouragement can go a long way to boost a rep’s morale and performance.

Develop A High Performing Sales Team

Finding and recruiting talented sales reps is one of the toughest tasks for sales managers. An underperforming sales rep can become a highly successful performer if provided with a meticulously designed performance plan.

At HireDNA, we help organizations build high-performance sales machines. With science-backed sales performance evaluations, we can help you uncover skill gaps on both the team and individual level. Then, through customizable training programs, we can target those gaps and help you to ramp up performance in no time. Let us help you build a winning sales team!


Assess Sales Training Needs: Find & Resolve Performance Gaps

In a demanding sales environment, identifying the real problem behind low productivity is crucial. Uncovering performance gaps is often the first step to assess sales training needs. This process can help decision-makers to identify real factors that influence the performance of their sales team and fix them through high-quality training. In this article, we’ll help you understand how to identify and resolve performance gaps through training.

If you prefer to speak directly with a sales training expert, set up a consultation with HireDNA today. Contact Us

Why Perform An Assessment?

A sales training assessment is a crucial step to improving the performance of any sales team. The Objective Management Group (OMG) provides some promising statistics on the use of assessments vs the lack of assessment:

Use Assessments

  • 61% Quota Attainment
  • 14% Attrition

Don’t Use Assessments

  • 49% Quota Attainment
  • 19% Attrition

The comprehensive, science-based OMG assessment, which HireDNA uses in our evaluations, has proven to be even more successful. With the OMB assessment, organizations have achieved 88% Quota Attainment and only 8% Attrition. Learn more about HireDNA sales staff evaluations.

How To Find Performance Gaps In Your Sales Team

When laying the groundwork for your training program, there are several questions that need to be answered:

  • Does it do a satisfactory job of highlighting areas that need improvement?
  • Does it sufficiently address the performance issues that hinder employee productivity?

Proper analysis of training needs can unravel such answers, leaving you with precise data on how to proceed with your sales department. Here’s how to perform a sales training assessment to uncover these gaps and create a plan of action.

Conduct A Preliminary Analysis

Before you identify the barriers to your sales rep potential, you need to assess their current standing. You can then use that information to establish the desired outcomes of a sales training program.

In order to meet the organizational objectives, managers and supervisors must have a clear understanding of the current level of knowledge and skills their sales team possesses. The initial analysis also sheds light on the existing barriers to growth, which can be used to ascertain a realistic set of desired outcomes.

Determine Your Organizational Priorities

In order to come up with effective performance drivers, organizations need to prioritize their learning objectives. This provides insight into what actually matters for the organization and allows experts to prioritize goals/learning outcomes when designing the training regimen. For instance, if your priority is to improve your customer satisfaction scores, your training procedure should specifically include ways to deliver a better customer experience.

This step particularly requires the input of senior management and top-level executives, as they are typically responsible for determining the company’s priorities.

Identify Your Sales Growth Bottlenecks

Once you’ve laid the foundation for a sales training needs assessment, the next step is to identify key factors that are hindering your sales team’s performance. In order to bridge performance gaps, you first have to identify them.

HireDNA offers comprehensive sales staff evaluations and assessments to help you identify KPIs, uncover skill gaps, and discover opportunities for growth. Learn more.

Here are some ways you can assess and pinpoint areas that need improvement:

Analyze Periodic Reports

As far as your sales team is concerned, a glimpse of the monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual managerial evaluations can lend important insights into the performance of the sales department.

  • Was the team able to meet their monthly targets?
  • What was the most commonly cited problem among sales representatives?

Following up with team leaders can offer up a different perspective, while allowing you to understand performance issues from an inside perspective.

Closely Monitor Sales Representatives

One of the most effective methods of identifying performance gaps is by observing employees during their on-job hours. You can even go as far as formulating a task-based scenario or simulation and carve out the areas that exhibit inefficiency.

Live observations can reveal some real barriers faced by your sales representatives:

  • Is their unfamiliarity with the technology you are using leading to extended call times, and subsequently increasing call-drop rates?
  • Does conflict resolution continue to present an unsurmountable barrier to your sales department?

Observation is one of the most effective ways to extract actionable data that can help you to create a plan of action. The direct exposure to the problem helps experts create a sales training solution tailored to the exact scenario.

Conduct Employee Surveys

Surveys provide an excellent platform for employees to reveal performance issues that are hidden from management. From ineffective online training forums to company policies that are proving to be an obstacle, surveys can reveal what otherwise would not make it to the surface. There are several methods to try, including surveys, polls, focus groups, and live webinars.

This feedback is highly valuable, as it comes directly from the sales representatives that you’re trying to train to be more productive and efficient.

Tailor Your Training Strategy

Having assessed sales training needs, including current capabilities and the blockages that have hindered your sales potential, it’s time to formulate a training plan that can increase the performance of your sales team.

An effective training strategy revolves around the needs and performance issues of every individual sales representative, while also catering to the organization’s macro-goals. The key takeaway is for organizations to understand that every individual represents a different knowledge-base, a different skillset, and therefore, a unique challenge when required to train and improve.

Build Your Winning Sales Team

Time is money. Businesses cannot afford to train their salespeople for weeks. This is where the sales recruiting and training experts at HireDNA step in. Whether you need to assess and train an existing team or quickly ramp up a new hire, we offer a suite of innovative sales training tools and strategies to help turn your staff into a winning sales force.

Why Choose Us?

  • 20 years of invaluable experience
  • Training time decreased by 50%
  • Our training enables organizations to leverage 33% more sales opportunities
  • Our partners experience 25% top-line revenue growth

Ready to train your sales team to be the best? Get in touch today.

Contact Us

Using Assessments to Develop Your Sales Team

When you have a high-growth business plan, you need a sales plan that can match it – one that will equip your reps to handle shifting market trends, meet evolving customer demands, and maximize effectiveness.

Creating that kind of winning sales plan starts with an in-depth understanding of the current-state of your sales people, process, management, and tools. Using a sales team assessment tool can help you identify critical skill gaps in your sales force, assess how your sales structure aligns with your business goals, and identify key strategies to keep your sales team competitive and ready to drive next level results.

The sales assessment should also answer crucial questions like, Are we reaching the right decision makers? Can we close more sales? Do our systems and processes support a high-performance sales organization? What must we change to improve? How long will that take? And what will the impact be?

Not All Sales Assessment Tools Are Created Equal

The most effective tools, like Objective Management Group’s Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis (SEIA), use proven, scientific processes to collect and analyze data about your people, processes, systems, and management.

A recent Harvard Business Review report demonstrated that a scientific approach to sales force effectiveness – emphasizing data, analysis, processes and tools – can create dramatic results, including increasing rep productivity by as much as 200%. Our Science Behind Sales Success white paper provides a more detailed look at the effectiveness of this scientific approach.

The Benefits of a Sales Team Assessment

The results from a sales team assessment will not only help you better understand how your team is performing, but will also provide a prioritized game plan to help you improve. For example, if your sales team assessment reveals that your salespeople seem to hit their goals consistently but narrowly, this could indicate a need for a more consultative selling approach, or adjustments to your overall sales process. On the other hand, inconsistent sales and routinely missed sales goals could indicate a need for more training and coaching, as well as improvements to your sales recruiting and hiring process.

Your sales team assessment results should provide you with accurate data on your strengths, clearly defined weaknesses, and help you identify key opportunities for growth.

Identifying Weaknesses and Capitalizing on Strengths

One of the biggest benefits of a comprehensive sales team assessment is identifying the areas of your sales force that may be hindering your overall success. Tools like the Objective Management Group SEIA and Improve use the data collected from individual evaluations to reveal hidden problems in multiple areas, including weaknesses common to your salespeople, problems with your hiring criteria, and business being lost as a result of these challenges. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the changes that must be made to your sales management systems, and what steps you should take to help your salespeople reach their potential.

A sales team assessment tool will also inform you about your team’s greatest strengths, and show you how to capitalize on those strengths to meet your overall sales and business goals. It’s no secret that people are more effective and productive when they’re able to tap into their natural talents and abilities. Your sales team assessment results will help you uncover those unique individual abilities, learn what motivates your team, and show you strategies for developing a strong sales culture that encourages people to bring their very best.

Developing Goals for the Future

Businesses change rapidly in the modern market, and you need to stay focused on your business strategy while also monitoring your sales team for inconsistencies, declines in performance, or shifting customer trends that may be causing them issues. Do you hire top talent regularly? What type of recruiting strategy do you use to find the best sales representatives? What type of compensation structure do you use to attract and retain top-performing sales reps?

Making business decisions backed by solid data is a great way to move your business forward with increased confidence. If you are curious about potential ways to enhance the effectiveness of your sales team, use our online Sales Readiness Assessment tool for a quick snapshot of your current status. Ready to go deeper? Schedule a consultation for our in-depth Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis service to get a detailed playbook for driving sales effectiveness and performance.

How to Create a Winning Sales Culture

Every sales organization wants a productive, efficient and effective sales force. 

As organizations compete in today’s market, sales goals become increasingly aggressive and the pressure to exceed them intensifies. Consequently, how do sales organizations improve their sales culture to support this high-demand? And why is the sales culture important?

An organization’s sales culture establishes a combination of values, shared business goals and work environment the sales organization operates within.

“Statistics show that a company’s culture has a direct impact on employee turnover, which affects productivity, and therefore success. A Columbia University study shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with high company culture is a mere 13.9 percent, whereas the probability of job turnover in low company cultures is 48.4 percent.”

In order to increase sales performance and retention, organizations need a winning sales culture. Below are 4 key items for improving an organization’s sales culture.

1.     Define Your Sales Culture

Concept: Define or update your organization’s mission on sales culture and hire to it.

Practice: Establish or revise your organization’s vision on sales culture. Your sales culture should be used as a guide for assessing and hiring new sales reps. Hire candidates who not only complement your sales culture, but also have knowledge or capabilities that benefit your organization. Candidates who contribute positively to your organization’s sales culture help create a positive work environment for all.

Start with a vision. Without one there is nothing to empower and lead the sales team with. They’ll feel as if they’re just working to work. Building a unifying framework for your strategy empowers sales reps with a sense of direction and purpose. Rather than operating for themselves, they work for a greater purpose. This helps to create a motivated sales culture driven by performance leading to higher retention and accelerated ROI. 

2.     Develop Your Sales Plan

Concept: A sales plan establishes sales goals, targets and tactics for a sales organization.

Practice: An organization’s sales plan summarizes their sales goals, objectives, processes, targets and tactics. The plan also defines how each of those elements will be measured and tracked for success. An effective sales plan ensures the entire sales organization is focused on delivering against a consistent set of goals, targets and objectives. Your organization’s sales plan benefits the sales culture by establishing a core set of goals and expectations up front.

3.     Use Strategic Data

Concept: Key metrics provide sales organizations actionable insight into improving sales performance.

Practice: Strategic data points enable sales performance improvement for the entire sales force.  Key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics give sales organizations a key advantage when it comes to meeting revenue goals, selling more products and outsmarting the competition. KPIs also enable organizations to identify strengths and weaknesses of their sales pipeline. Organizations that provide their sales force with accurate and relevant data empower them to focus on qualified leads that will generate more sales revenue. A win-win for both the sales rep and the organization, creating a high-performing sales culture.

4.     Provide Applicable Tools

Concept: Appropriate tools enable sales reps to be effective and efficient in their sales role.

Practice: Investing in relevant tools enables sales reps to be successful at meeting or exceeding sales targets. Sales enablement tools automate processes that allow sales teams to sell better and faster. Tools let your sales force stay aligned with marketing and business goals, identify valuable prospects, access and search relevant content, upsell and cross-sell products, and trigger automatic customer communications. Most importantly, sales enablement technology helps streamline workflows and remove unnecessary tasks so the sales team can focus on creating revenue. Empowered reps are confident in their abilities, feel aligned with the organization’s mission and construct a strong sales culture.

5.     Recruit The Right Talent

Businesses must know how to attract, assess and select the right sales candidates. This is easier said than done. One way to make the process more predictable and consistent is with the use of  a  sales candidate assessment. And while there are many out there, some are better than others. Look for one that is personalized to your sales rolesenvironment and specifically designed to use data and science to accurately evaluate selling skills and DNA . By tailoring search, recruitment and assessment process to your individual business, sales candidates come properly vetted and are better prepared to perform in your unique sales environment.

6.     Personalize The Onboarding & Training Process

This is another process easier said than done. A simple company manual won’t do. To build a winning sales team begins with identifying the effectiveness of your sales force and developing a customized sales training and onboarding program to optimize performance. Personalizing the training and onboarding based on the selling strength and weaknesses identified using a sales assessment helps to accelerate the ramp-up process and time to productivity for new hires.

But training doesn’t stop with onboarding. Developing rock star sales talent requires ongoing development. Incorporating a micro-learning approach that delivers bit-sized bits of content along with quizzes, workbooks, and real-world implementation guides is a great way to ensure the training content is retained and applied.

7.     Provide Ongoing Coaching

A winning sales team is one that is continually coached. Idling by and expecting sales reps to simply perform, leads to the same old problems. Have sales playbooks built around effective sales methodologies. Give reps a roadmap to success, set goals and field questions. Be hands on with your team by attending sales meetings, scheduling weekly one-on-ones, and listening to sales calls. Some great tools to streamline the coaching process include Refract and Execvision. Engage your sales reps daily and they will deliver consistent results.

7.     Hold Salespeople Accountable

Establish clear expectations for your salespeople. Setting key performance indicators (KPIs) and other sales performance metrics are vital. Goals and expectation should be transparent, realistic, and should inspire sales reps to take their abilities to the next level. Presenting them with sales benchmarks is a great way to motivate them and fuel their inner competitor. Implement contest and awards to reward desirable behaviors and keep things fun and competitive.

Final Thoughts

These tips can improve your organization’s sales culture enabling increased sales performance, motivated sales reps and reduced attrition. Interested in a thorough evaluation of your hiring strategies, sales culture or sales enablement technologies? Revecent can complete an analysis of your sales strategy to identify any areas of opportunity. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results.  

Need help building a winning sales team?

Start with this online sales readiness assessment. Answer a few questions and your readiness score with recommendations for building your winning sales team

HireDNA takes the guesswork out of hiring and retaining sales talent with a predictive hiring system that uses science-based tools to identify the best candidates with the right sales DNA to perform in your unique sales environment, resulting in lower turnover and accelerated ramp-up to help you hit your goals faster. Contact us to learn what it will take to build your winning team.

The New England Patriots and How to Build a Successful Sales Team

The New England Patriots is an excellent model for what a well-oiled machine is supposed to look like. Since Bill Belichick has been at the reigns, The Pats has perennially been a 12-win team. That includes one year with Matt Cassel at Quarterback, and this past season with Tom Brady serving a 4-game suspension). Over the course of 17 seasons, Belichick has won 14 division titles, racked up 26 postseason wins (the most postseason wins by an NFL head coach), 7 AFC championship games, and 5 Super Bowls.

There are many things people can say about the “hoodie”, but one thing no one can discount is his level of consistency.

Outside of his short and dry responses to questions from the media, Belichick’s process-oriented approach to the game has contributed a lot to New England’s dominance.

Let’s take a look at a few principles that organizations can learn from the New England Patriots when building a high performing sales system. 

Know your Strengths

The Patriots have never been perfect. The Patriots won Super Bowl 51 with a flawed defense against a high octane offense in the Atlanta Falcons. Identifying and leveraging their strengths over their weakness is what Belichick and his staff do well.

On the offensive side of the ball, they were missing their superstar Tight-End, Rob Gronkowski for the last half of the season. They didn’t have a dynamic receiver like Antonio Brown or Odell Beckham Jr. to cover the slack. They didn’t have a dominating defense like the Giants or the Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom”, yet they still found ways to win.

What’s their secret?

Belichick and his staff have a great track record of identifying and leveraging their strengths over their weakness.

Taking an honest assessment of what your sales force does well gives you clarity of what to do in the long run. It allows you to have a bird’s eye view of your sales operations, and take inventory on what actions should be taken to improve efficiently.

The Patriot coaching staff understands there is no way they can be great at everything.

Understanding the DNA of your sales team will help you determine how to build around your weaknesses, what skills your salespeople need to be trained on, and the adjustments to the sales process to overcome your deficiencies.

Create A Sales Plan That Aligns With Your Goals

“In their eyes, Belichick was playing a very strategic, intricate game of chess while everybody else was playing checkers.” – Curtis Martin on how much his former teammates loved Belichick.

In sales, your version of winning the Super Bowl is to meet your sales quota for the year.

No other team in NFL history has attained the level of success as New England. At the core of what influences their operation is the effectiveness of their system.

They approach each season by starting with the end goal in mind. Being clear on what your goals are and the benchmarks you need to achieve are crucial. Belichick and his staff stay on top of what the trends in the league are and adjust their tactics accordingly.

One of the biggest perks to having a clear and concise system, is everyone understands their role and responsibilities.

The Patriots attention to detail and preparation stands out from a lot of other NFL organizations. They lean heavily on data and analytics and utilize their insights to develop their strategy. In contrast, the San Diego Chargers, who have experienced some success over the years have struggled to sustain it.

When asked about his thoughts about analytics and how it effects his game plan, Chargers coach Mike McCoy said that it didn’t. McCoy said, “I’m going to go with my gut decision on those things. No one can tell me on a piece of paper this is the right thing or the wrong thing to do.” Well, we all saw how that turned out. The Chargers ended up with a 5-11 record, they requested to relocate cities, and McCoy lost his job.

Relying on your gut instincts and not having a clear sales plan or playbook is a recipe for disaster.

Having a documented sales process and system is at the core of growing your business. It allows you to be clear about who the right people are for your team’s unique needs and creates transparency for your team.

Have The Right Players and Personnel

“You go to the draft board and think, ‘Here’s a nose tackle. Who needs a nose tackle?’ Well, eight teams in front of you need a nose tackle, and there’s [only] two nose tackles. It’s something you have to figure out where you can get the players to play in your system.” – Coach Belichick

Although it’s Belichick that gets all the accolades as being one of the greatest coaches ever, he didn’t do it alone. New England has some of the best analytics and coaches in the game.

Ernie Adams has served as the Director of Football Research for 16 seasons. Belichick and Adams regularly conduct a deep analysis of game film, stats and trends. These insights are used to develop plays and schemes, prioritize draft picks and determine who they should go after in free agency.   

In your sales organization, you need someone you can lean on to advise on the types of sales professionals you need for your system. 

Now, you may be saying to yourself, it’s easy to be successful when you have an elite Quarterback to execute the game plan. It’s easy to forget that the 5-time Super Bowl MVP wasn’t supposed to be here. Tom Brady was a backup QB, who was drafted in the 6th round of the 2001 draft.

What Belichick and his team understand more than anything, is strength is NOT the same as talent. When Brady was coming out of college, scouts said that Tom lacked the tools to be a starting Quarterback in the NFL. It turned out that what he lacked in talent he was able to overcompensate for with his football IQ.

The difference between the New England approach to free agency and others is that The Patriots focus on selecting the RIGHT player for their system, not necessarily the best.

When the Pats decided to upgrade their wide receiver core this past offseason, Belichick could’ve easily splurged. Mohamed Sanu, was a big name in free agency last season, but Belichick ended up signing Chris Hogan. Sanu ended up signing with Atlanta for $32 million with $14 million guaranteed (653 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns), while Hogan signed a 3-year $12 million dollar deal (680 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns). Who got the better deal?

No matter what your feelings are about the Patriots, their close to 20-years of dominance is unparalleled, especially in the salary cap era. New England’s ability to assess their strengths, recruit and train players that fit their system, and the uncanny ability to abstain from investing too much in low return free agents is the crux of their longevity.   

Everybody wants to have a team full of “Rock Star salespeople”. The truth is, the sum is always greater than the parts, and nobody does that better than the New England Patriots.

By creating and defining a sales system, identifying and building around your strengths, creating a recruiting strategy to attract and retain the right salespeople for YOURorganization, and having the right tools and technology in place, you’re in a great position to exceed your sales targets.