At SalesGym, we interview dozens of leading sales executives every year to find out new thinking and trends on top performers, coaching, and building better sales teams. In a recent interview with Kevin Pawar – National Sales Trainer – NewsCorp Australia, he shared some fascinating insights into the current challenges of selling advertising strategies and how sales managers can generate better results with better coaching.
Early in the interview, Kevin brought up the more demanding expectations he’s noticed that customers have of salespeople…
“Salespeople have to bring something new to the conversation. What’s happening in that industry, what’s happening in that geographic area, what’s happening in the demographic of that particular audience? So every time a salesperson goes and meets the customer he or she has to take some more knowledge points that will in one sense continue to educate that Advertiser or customer and also have something new to share with them allowing them to look at multiple lateral opportunities to increase revenue. This is something new because many salespeople are used to walking up to customers every week and having revenue just flow through, are finding that it does not happen that way anymore. There are so many other people offering pretty much the same thing because with Facebook, Google, search engine marketing and search engine optimization, every man and his dog is flogging those products out there. Salespeople today have to get the customer to understand what our points of difference are as one of the oldest and largest media companies and what are the benefits of staying with us across multiple platforms.”Salespeople today have to get the customer to understand what our points of difference are as one of the oldest and largest media companies and what are the benefits of staying with us across multiple platforms. -Kevin Pawar, National Sales Trainer,… Click To Tweet
New selling approaches require better sales coaching
What we’ve found in working with thousands of sales teams over the last 25 years is that what used to work in the past, the high focus on relationship building, simply isn’t enough anymore. Kevin has noticed something similar…
“A habit that commonly holds a salesperson back is relying on relationship building alone. For salespeople who have been selling for a long time, at one point in time the relationship was key, so they are very strong in terms of the ability to build a good relationship very quickly and maintain and enhance that relationship but gone are the days where relationship alone is top of the list. Today it is more results, people buy from people who deliver results. So, it’s actually managing the customers’ expectations and getting the customer to realize that if that business does not evolve, the results that we once upon a time delivered purely on one product platform no longer work. So, it’s a shift of not only building the relationship but clearly communicating expectations and results.”It's a shift of not only building the relationship but clearly communicating expectations and results. -Kevin Pawar, National Sales Trainer, NewsCorp Australia Click To Tweet
Sales leaders all over the world are telling us how difficult it is to get more of their salespeople to sell with the more modern insights-led approach introduced in “The Challenger Sale.” This approach requires more preparation and a more assertive questioning strategy that can fracture rapport and trust if not done skillfully. As such, more coaching and practice is needed to help salespeople develop the confidence and finesse to transition to this higher potential selling methodology. Interestingly, 90% of the sales leaders we interview tell us that getting sales managers to deliver this kind of sales coaching is one of their biggest struggles. Kevin agrees…(Sales leaders') biggest challenges now is how do we get our sales managers to coach, know how and when to coach and when not to coach, and how often to coach. -Kevin Pawar, National Sales Trainer, NewsCorp Australia Click To Tweet
“One of the biggest gaps is effective sales coaching. A lot of older managers used to do curbside coaching. Our biggest challenges now is how do we get our sales managers to coach, know how and when to coach and when not to coach, and how often to coach.”
Who to promote to sales management?
One of the more obvious solutions to this problem is to promote people into sales management roles that have natural ability and aptitude to teach and coach. Often, the top performing salespeople are first to be offered sales management roles, but this is a key cause of poor coaching as Kevin has noticed…
“One of the biggest challenges, and I’m sure you’ve heard this a hundred times, most of our high selling salespeople end up becoming sales managers. In my humble opinion, that is the worst thing you can do because what happens is when you put a higher achieving salesperson into a sales manager’s role, while its fantastic for the growth of that salesperson, that person is rarely a good coach because they can do it for themselves but they cannot teach it.”
Characteristics of High Potential Sales Coaches
Often, top performing salespeople produce outstanding results because of unique personality and motivational factors that are hard to transfer to others. They can get frustrated quickly when their team members can’t sell the way they did as Kevin points out…
“A sales manager is not the best coach because they can sell very well, although that’s often why they are where they are. Often, they can’t teach because teaching requires a completely different skill set. The best sales managers think in terms of if the person I’m coaching wins, then I win but a lot of top salespeople have a hard time thinking that way when they’re promoted.”The best sales managers think in terms of if the person I'm coaching wins, then I win but a lot of top salespeople have a hard time thinking that way when they're promoted. -Kevin Pawar, National Sales Trainer, NewsCorp Australia Click To Tweet
Data + process is the key to great coaching
In the past, managers were nearly always older than the people they managed, but our technology driven world has changed that dramatically. Managers need the ability and comfort to work with technology, data and analytics because that’s how organizations today are engineered to cope with the reporting demands from senior executives. Kevin points out how his organization is adapting to this consequential trend…
“Another challenge we face is having a lot of young sales managers that are coaching or trying to coach people who are sometimes 10 and 15 years older than they are. When you’ve got sometimes a decade, a decade and a half, of pure sales capabilities under your belt and then someone who does not have the same tenure as you tries to tell you something … it just doesn’t work. So that’s another challenge and that’s why we’re using the data, evidence-based coaching so our salespeople say, ‘Yes, I see, that’s where I need some help.’ ”
The key here is to use technology to improve coaching and not use it to avoid the one-on-one interactions that drive positive change. In many cases, sales managers hide from their people and the in the trenches interactions that require strong interpersonal and coaching skills and, instead, get into habits of constant data analysis. Great coaching is about finding and using data to drive better coaching interactions…
“The amazing thing with Salesforce, you’ve got pipeline management and in your pipeline management, it actually shows how long a particular opportunity has sat at one stage of the sales cycle which is an opportunity to have a conversation to understand what can be done to move it up to the next sales stage. In other words, it’s a coaching opportunity if really identified early.”
So, in summary:
“Knowledge is like love, you have to give it away to increase it.” — Kevin PawarKnowledge is like love, you have to give it away to increase it. -Kevin Pawar, National Sales Trainer, NewsCorp Australia Click To Tweet
SalesGym is a research, consulting, and training company that works with and learns from sales teams all over the world and has refined a coaching and training process that trains sales teams the way elite athletes are trained. More insights and articles from us can be found on our RESOURCES PAGE.
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