July 29

The Sales Management Elephant In The Room


There is great technology for helping sales managers review sales conversations and meetings. But sometimes technology is viewed as a magic wand for curing missed sales quotas. Tech tools can analyze who did most of the talking on the call, how a salesperson handled objections and whether or not the salesperson set up a clear next step with a prospect. 

Really good information and great data to have as a sales leader.

Here’s the elephant in the room.

The sales manager must be able to interpret the data and determine the best course of action by which to coach the salesperson. Technology tools point out areas of improvement. One-on-one coaching conversations improve sales skills and results.   

Don’t confuse reviewing data with sales coaching.  

It’s similar to a person trying to lose weight.

An individual can track the number of calories they are eating each day. That’s data. And the data shows that this individual is eating too many empty calories starting at 3 p.m. in the afternoon.

Now what will the diet coach say and do?

A good coach would hold a conversation around why this eating behavior is occurring at 3 p.m. Is the person hungry because they keep missing lunch? Are they eating junk food because they are stressed and comfort food temporarily decreases stress? Maybe this individual simply needs education around good nutrition. But as you can see:

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to coaching new behaviors.

Let’s got back to sales. Your technology tool shows that the average deal size for this salesperson is 30% less than other members of the team. Great data. How are you going to coach the salesperson to sell bigger deals? If you just tell the salesperson to “sell bigger deals” the salesperson will agree. But after the coaching session, they have no idea of how to make that bigger deal happen. 

This is when a sales manager needs to apply emotional intelligence skills and coaching skills to interpret the data and identify the right solution.

  • Is the salesperson not selling larger deals because she isn’t good at identifying the real business problem? Or is it because she isn’t asking all the discovery questions because of low impulse control?    
  • Maybe the salesperson isn’t good at the hard selling skill of dollarizing the cost of the business problem. The seller presents a smaller solution because he doesn’t know how to ask specific questions that help the prospect discover that the “pain” is costing the company $500,000 not $50,000.
  • A salesperson is stuck selling smaller deals because she isn’t demonstrating the EQ skill of assertiveness in asking for meetings with the right decision makers. Or she lacks the hard selling skill of engaging champions in her sales process.  

You get the idea.

Data is great. Knowing what to do with the data and coaching against the data is what creates true behavior change and increased sales results.

Good Selling!


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