Optimize Sales Performance: Coaching a Game of Inches

[LevelEleven is all about optimizing performance with motivation, competition, collaboration and recognition, which is partially why we’re really pumped up for football season! Today, enjoy the second of 3 football-related sales optimization articles — and keep an eye out for the others!]

Sales has reminded me of the game of football for quite some time. After all, it’s a game of inches.

As Al Pacino said about football in Any Given Sunday: “The margin for error is so small. I mean one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite  make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us.”

And that applies to sales, too. Except those inches represent the activities that lead to revenue, and especially those in the top of the sales funnel, like:

  • Making targeted calls
  • Following up with leads
  • Landing on-site prospect meetings
  • Building qualified pipeline
  • Leveraging marketing content to add value to interactions with prospects

Executing on those “inches” is one of the many critical things an individual can do to have a strong sales career. The most successful sales professionals perform the little things that average salespeople tend to avoid doing or dedicating time to learn. That is, they take the time to continuously sharpen their skills. That’s what separates A performers from everyone else.

Coaching on the Inches

Despite the fact that inches do matter, there are still many organizations that focus all of their sales team’s attention on bottom-funnel activities that happen late in the sales process, like deals closing. If you think about it, however, 98% of a sales person’s time is concentrated on activities meaningful in the sales cycle that lead to progressing deals. It only makes sense for you to be coaching your team during that 98%, too.

Below are a few general tips that you can implement as you help your team to optimize sales performance around those inches:

  1. Keep it Industry Focused: Ensure that your team members clearly understand and remain focused on the high-value verticals and buyer personas that work best for your organization.
  1. Win Fast / Lose Fast: Coach them on how to disqualify opportunities early in the sales process. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask tough, uncomfortable questions. At the end of the day, some organizations are just not a fit for your provided solution. Does your team know that it’s okay to walk away once they identify that’s the case with any prospect?
  1. Don’t Be Robocop: Make sure that your team is taking a genuine interest in the goals and needs of your prospects and clients, listening more while talking less. It’s important for your salespeople to understand their prospects’ buying processes, without cornering them into your own organization’s process.
  1. Always Be Earning: Teach your team that whether they’re on a cadence call with a current client or having a first meeting with a prospect, it’s important to stay in the mindset of: “How am I adding value to this discussion, or how can I?” Content is king, so insure sales is aligned and communicating with your marketing team on this one.

Of course, you can also use a sales motivation tool to realize the potential of those inches. Check out our free “8 Signs You’re Ready for Sales Motivation Software” eBook to find out if that’s something that might be a fit for you. But either way, coaching your team on optimizing the inches that matter will set your entire organization up for success.

Sales Motivation Software

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