Improving Sales Performance

#MediaSalesReport - Learning & Development

February 01, 2023 Matt Sunshine
Improving Sales Performance
#MediaSalesReport - Learning & Development
Show Notes Transcript

This season, we’re analyzing the findings from our latest Media Sales Report. With data collected from surveys conducted in Q4 of last year, the responses from sales managers and salespeople alike will help us chart a solid path forward through the media sales landscape.    

In each episode, Matt will be joined by a rolling roster of outstanding experts from our team here at The Center for Sales Strategy.  

Today, Matt is breaking down the Learning & Development Section of the Media Sales Report with VP/Senior Consultant, Emily Estey

Together, Matt and Emily take on some top questions that arise from the report, like:

  • What advice would you give to sales managers leading  salespeople who aren't receiving trainings frequently (on a weekly or monthly basis)?  
  • How can sales managers have meaningful conversations with their sellers on a consistent basis?
  • What would you say to managers trying to engage and inspire team members that are underperforming in their eyes? 

The Media Sales Report:

The Center for Sales Strategy: 

Matt Sunshine:

Emily Estey:

(02:12) Are there any stats or is there any data that jumped out or were surprising?
(06:18) If 85% of salespeople are saying they want training, then we better provide it
(08:39) Get your people talking, have them talk about a success that they're having, or maybe a frustration
(11:24) What would you say to managers trying to keep their superstars performing consistently at that level?
(15:23) We're going to eat this elephant one bite at a time
(18:43) As difficult as recruitment is these days, 85% of salespeople want to go to a place where learning and development is made available to them. 

Matt Sunshine: (00:15)
Welcome to Improving Sales Performance, a podcast highlighting tips and insights aimed at helping sales organizations realize and maybe even exceed their goals. Here we chat with thought leaders, experts in gurus who have years of sales experience from a wide range of industries. This season, we're analyzing the findings from our latest media sales report. With data collected from surveys conducted in Q4 of last year, the responses from sales managers and salespeople alike will help us chart a solid path forward through the media sales landscape. In each episode, I'll be joined by a rolling roster of outstanding experts from our team here at the Center for Sales Strategy. Together we'll break it all down. I'm your host, Matt Sunshine, c e o at the Center for Sales Strategy, a sales performance consulting company.

Matt Sunshine: (01:15)
Oh, what a great topic we have today. I am, I, I love when the media sales report comes out because we get to do these podcasts where we jump in and really, um, dissect and talk about the, the things that, that are important that we're pulling out, pulling out of it. It's kind of like how to read the media sales report. And today on the podcast is Emily Estey, who's VP senior Consultant for the Center for Sales Strategy, and someone that I've had the privilege of working with for like a million years. Fif six, almost 16 years.

Emily Estey: (01:50)
. Wow.

Matt Sunshine: (01:51)
Time flies when you're having fun. All right, Emily, you ready?

Emily Estey: (01:55)
Yeah, I'm ready.

Matt Sunshine: (01:56)
All right, let's jump in. So, media sales report comes out, it's loaded with information. Today we are gonna focus on the learning and development. We're gonna, we're gonna zoom in on learning and development. So just as a general, let's kick it off. Are there any stats or is there any data that jumped out or surprised you?

Emily Estey: (02:19)
Well, I know we're gonna tackle this, but honestly, the 85% of people, you know, salespeople feel that training is important or very important. Um, that was actually a little surprising to me because, you know, what we hear, at least maybe from managers is that, you know, there's always kind of this grumbling around training, right? And that people are like, uh, I need training. I'm fine. Um, so that actually was higher than I thought it was gonna be. And encouraging, honestly. Yeah. Um, I think that, uh, you know, as people come into, I think we, we, you know, we're developing a generations of learners, people that like to learn, hopefully. Um, that would be great. But I think that, that, that statistic really, um, you know, gave me, gave me hope. I was like, yes, thank God, ,

Matt Sunshine: (03:10)
I had, it's, it's funny that you say that, and, and we are gonna jump right into that in something, but I had, um, a very veteran salesperson and sales manager who I was meeting with one day a few years back, said to me, you know, if you didn't call it training, and you just called it practice, I think you'd get more buy-in. And I go, really? Why? And they go, I don't know. I think sometimes training has a stigma of you don't know what you're doing, so you need training. Practice has a stigma of, you know, what you're doing. Just you gotta practice. Because, and I was like, okay, well, ok, well go on. We'll call it practice. I, what we call it . Okay. So looking at the data, and you brought this up, so I'm gonna reiterate, the vast majority of salespeople, 85% agree that having access to learning and development opportunities is important, or very important. Mm-hmm. , that's awesome. 80% of salespeople say they are participating in training on a weekly or monthly basis. So 80%, almost all of 'em, 85% are saying it's important. 80% say we get, I'm getting it at least, at least monthly or, or weekly. So what advice would you give to sales leaders that, that are only do giving to, to the 20% who are Right. Right. What advice would you give

Emily Estey: (04:35)
To the other 20%? Yes. Um, I would say that first of all, there, there must be, uh, there must not be perceived value for them in training. Like, they, they must not see that. And so my first thing would be, look, um, you, you raise and set standards with training, right? You, um, you can, you can count on predictable results with training. You can get the team consistent in their language, which gets, which builds culture. Like there's all of these reasons. It, it creates retention. And it's great when you're hiring. I mean, we've been hired because people were trying to hire people, and they were like, well, what's your training program? And companies that we were working with, like, oh, we don't have one. I guess we should get one. Like, it helps with, with, um, you know, em, employ em, employing new people, obviously.

Emily Estey: (05:37)
But my, I think what happens is, is people don't have a plan. Managers don't have a plan. And so it's something that just gets put off and put off and put off. So I would start by saying to a manager, make a quarterly plan, um, prepare, plan it out. Don't be like, oh my God, Monday, I've been there as a sales manager. Oh, it's Monday. I need some sales training. Um, make a plan, make a quarterly plan, um, start small. Um, maybe pull your people and figure out where they really feel like they might be struggling. Um, go along with your due training, just with your sales process. Just start somewhere. But I'm telling you, I think if 85% of salespeople are saying they want training, then we better provide it. Like we better be that organization that builds a culture around practice of skills. Like, you don't just get, I mean, you take any team anywhere. If we're gonna use the sports analogy, what are they doing? They're playing a game one day a week or two days a week, but they're practicing the rest of the time. So, yeah. You know, you gotta do it.

Matt Sunshine: (06:47)
Every profession practices,

Emily Estey: (06:49)
Every profession.

Matt Sunshine: (06:51)
Lawyers, um, go into practice courtrooms with mock juries. Yeah. So that they can figure out doctors, practice, pilots practice every profession practices, except salespeople don't think that they need to practice. But the research says that 85% think it's important. Yeah. So I think the 15% that don't just are very vocal.

Emily Estey: (07:18)

Matt Sunshine: (07:18)

Emily Estey: (07:21)

Matt Sunshine: (07:22)
So over half the salespeople, 54% tell us that their manager talks to them often about their talents.

Emily Estey: (07:31)

Matt Sunshine: (07:31)
Well, that's good. 54% great for those, for those people. That's good. However, one third of salespeople responded that while their manager discusses their talents with them, often it merely feels like all they're doing is checking a box.

Emily Estey: (07:48)

Matt Sunshine: (07:48)
All right. So do you have any thoughts on how to best avoid the, the box checking? Yeah.

Emily Estey: (07:55)
First of all, you know, way to go managers for talking to your team about their talents. First of all, like, way to go. And I'm sorry that you just, you know, can't win for losing, you know, like . Yeah. You're talking to me about my talents, but it's not good enough.

Matt Sunshine: (08:10)
Right? Gimme a break.

Emily Estey: (08:12)
I had, I had a little heart, like, oh, that's poor. That's too bad. Um, but what I would say about this, because it is, I get that, I get that it can, it can feel that way. I work in an organization where my talents are repeated back to me, right? I mean, that's what we do here. And I, I understand how sometimes maybe that can feel that way, but my, um, my thought around this is that maybe get your people talking, have them talk about a success that they're having, or maybe a frustration that they're having, and then reflect back to them with the talent that you're seeing. Like, for instance, like, I can see why you might be frustrated by that, because you have have such strong responsibility that when people don't do what they say they're gonna do, it makes you really frustrated. Like, I, that makes a lot of sense to me. So instead of like just saying, oh yeah, remember you're super responsible and very positive, and, you know, maybe get them talking first so that then you can repeat back what you're actually seeing, where you're seeing the talents bubble up in what they're doing. That would be my first thought around that. Making, just making it a little bit more authentic.

Matt Sunshine: (09:25)
Yeah. You know, I'll piggyback on that. I'll say this, if you're a client of ours,

Emily Estey: (09:34)

Matt Sunshine: (09:34)
You should get on the phone with a talent analyst and say, and say to them, Hey, if I want to give some coaching or if I want to give some feedback on talents, what are some of the things I can say? Or what are some of the things I can do? Yeah. I know our talent analysts are happy to do that.

Emily Estey: (09:51)
Always that, I mean, that's generally always my first recommendation. Yeah. You know, and if you are using two or three, you know, almost always in the those calls, they'll give you those priority coaching strategies, mix it up, like have a call every quarter on those folks. Yeah. And give, get new priority coaching strategies. You know, I think that's Yeah. Awesome advice. Yeah. Love

Matt Sunshine: (10:11)
That. I'd say, I'd say this too, if you're using another talent assessment that's not ours mm-hmm. , um, demand that type of thing from whatever assessment that you're using. And if you're not using a talent assessment, start using one,

Emily Estey: (10:25)
Start using one

Matt Sunshine: (10:26)
Period. Like start using one

Emily Estey: (10:29)
And don't just use it to, don't just use a talent assessment to select people Use it for

Matt Sunshine: (10:34)
Coaching training. Yeah. Developing,

Emily Estey: (10:37)
They're very expensive selection tools.

Matt Sunshine: (10:39)
Yeah. They're them to coach. That's right. If, if all you're gonna do is selection, you're missing the boat. Yes. You're missing out on the best opportunity. It's how do you develop these people? All right, so let's jump back in here. Yes. So almost half of the sales managers, in fact, 45% considered about 21 to 40% of their sales team to be superstars. Mm-hmm. . Okay. And 18% of sales managers believe that 40% or more are underperforming. Mm-hmm. . So you have a, a, a pretty big chunk about one fifth of sales managers believe that 40% of or more are underperforming. So what would you say to managers trying to keep their superstars performing consistently at that level? Let's take that question first. Mm-hmm.  managers trying to keep superstars performing at that consistently high level.

Emily Estey: (11:38)
Yeah. So I'm going to, I wanna say, um, for, well, maybe I'll, I'll come back to that, but remind me to come back to that. For both of these categories, there's something I think they should do. But for top performers and people that you wanna just keep, they wanna keep on going cuz they wanna keep on going. I can tell you that they want more and more success. And all I would say is support, support, support. Like, where are you taking backend stuff off of them? Yes. If, if you are making them do non-selling tasks, make sure that you're figuring out a way to take some of that stuff off their plate. Um, sometimes folks like this can be pretty, you know, wanna have all their things like this, make them chip away at some of those non-selling tasks. Um, and, and give some of them up, maybe not all at once, but make them do that.

Emily Estey: (12:27)
And then whatever resources you have that you can throw at them, maybe there's a, a, you know, some sort of executive salesperson training or maybe you can give them coaching or maybe you can do something special for them. And then I also would say, I encourage my managers to get involved in the sales process. Be an influencer for your sales people. Maybe they write a, you write a thank you note, or you get engaged at some point. You go to the discovery meeting or you help with the advise portion. Like get, get engaged in that process with them. You don't have to close the business. That's not what I'm talking about. They don't need your help there, but how can you help be an influencer? You know, when we have clients, I want as many people in our organization to have a relationship with them because I think that makes them feel special. And you want your clients and prospects to feel special in that same way. So, um, you know, get engaged in the process, ask where you can help, even in the client facing conversations.

Matt Sunshine: (13:25)
Yeah. It's interesting. As you're talking, I'm thinking about, um, top performing sales people that I, that I'll regularly hear say, I don't need a manager to check on me. I need them to bring value. Yes. Right. So, and that's what you're saying, like, it's not just a matter of checking on them to make sure that they're doing it, they're doing it. Right. Right. You don't have to worry about that. Right. But bring value to them is, is hugely important. You'll keep them engaged.

Emily Estey: (13:55)
Yes. And asking, how can I bring value here? How can I, how can I help you close this business? I mean, again, they, they're doing their job. You, you don't need to make sure they're doing their job. Generally people that are, well, they're clearly doing their job, they're performing. Right. So

Matt Sunshine: (14:11)
What, let's jump now and talk to the other ones. What would you say to the managers that are trying to inspire and engage those underperforming?

Emily Estey: (14:22)
Yeah. So if, if you have somebody that is highly talented and they're underperforming, um, which sometimes we don't, sometimes we have really not talented people who are underperforming, which makes sense. But if we have people that have talent, I would remind them that they have the talent to do the job. I do that all the time when I'm coaching individuals and they're feeling kind of down in the downs. I'm like, let me just remind you, you have all the talent you need to do this job to be successful here. Um, I do do it all the time. And then, um, I'd be honest with their, about their performance, I would say, here's where I see some, you know, here's where I see some opportunities to improve. Um, and we have to get this figured out. Like have those honest conversations. And then also I think people that are underperforming, especially if they have talent drives and values, talents, they, they know they're underperforming and it's overwhelming to underperform for those folks.

Emily Estey: (15:20)
So I would probably say we're going to eat this elephant one bite at a time. We're gonna start with, um, helping you identify qualified, um, prospects. That's where we're gonna start this process. And then I'm gonna help you. We're gonna make a connect plan for each one of these people. Like break it down for them. There's a difference between say, oh, you're not performing, you need to perform. And people, I mean, a lot of times that that is overwhelming. So, um, if you really wanna invest in them, then I would break it down and help them eat the elephant one bite at a time.

Matt Sunshine: (15:55)
Now you asked me to remind you of something.

Emily Estey: (15:57)
Yeah, I was just gonna say, you know, when we're talking about talented performers or people that are underperforming, just engage with your people. Like look at them face to face. Look at them eye to eye. Get off your phone, get away from your computer and have a conversation that's not distracted. It's amazing in this world how often, uh, or how, you know, how often when we have a conversation with someone, we're distracted by something else. So when we're not, it feels really, really special. Um, that's how you, that's how you, you know, let people know that you care about them is by disengaging with everything else and engaging one-on-one with someone. And I would say for top performers or under performers, or really anybody that you're talking to, um, engage, like get engaged.

Matt Sunshine: (16:46)
You and I both saw a speaker years ago, I don't remember his name, uh, but he's the person that taught us how to juggle. And one of the things Yeah. He said was, don't multitask people. Yeah. That was, that was his Don't people, I love that. People when when you're with me, be with me. Yeah. Right? I mean, yeah.

Emily Estey: (17:10)
And that goes for all of it, right? Like, like that goes for your sales people. That goes for your kids. That goes, I mean, across the board that's applicable.

Matt Sunshine: (17:18)
Yeah. I saw on, uh, someone sent me something the other day and it was, uh, they said they, it was a challenge to have an eight minute phone conversation with someone, um, where you didn't do anything else but pay attention to the phone conversation. And they said, believe it or not, that is way more difficult than you think that it's

Emily Estey: (17:44)
Oh yeah.

Matt Sunshine: (17:46)
Do you ever, cuz you know, one of the things, like after you get off the, the phone with someone and you look at how long you talk to them and you realize you only talked to 'em like for five minutes. Right. And, and during that time, you, you checked your text messages. Oh yeah. Right. You checked your email, you did something else. Yes. Right. And so I think, I think that you're right about being engaged, being intentional, being focused, and I, I'll just add this to the learning and development segment of this podcast, is I think that sales leaders that make learning and development part of their, their ritual, like their, their their flag, right? Their flag that they fly is that, Hey, you come work here, you are gonna grow, you come work here. I promise you, you are going to professionally grow. Yeah. You're gonna learn more. You're gonna do more. You're gonna, I, I just think people that at as, as difficult as recruitment is these days mm-hmm. , 85% of salespeople want to go somewhere, want, want a place where learning and development is, is, is, is made available to them.

Emily Estey: (18:54)

Matt Sunshine: (18:56)
I just think this is a huge opportunity for business.

Emily Estey: (18:59)
I do too. I think it's great. And, and you know, I think if, um, I think making a plan, I mean, if you're a client of ours, we have the resources for you  for sales for sure. Obviously sales, you know, sales training kits, all of the things. Um, but I think also, you know, there's also, you can source so much information too. I mean, you can source so much information online. It's just about you do need to make a little bit of a plan. When I do training for my clients, I, I have to prepare. Right? I have to prepare a week or so before. So, um, you gotta to, I know with all the things you need to add in your calendar, but when it's this important to people, it's worth the

Matt Sunshine: (19:39)
Effort. That's exactly right. All right. And with that, we're gonna, we're gonna end this segment on learning and development, but it's so important. And Emily, I can't thank you enough for taking your time to jump on the podcast. Got it. Share your wisdom, share your insights, and, uh, we really appreciate it. Have a great day.

Emily Estey: (19:54)
Yeah, you too. We'll talk to you soon.

Matt Sunshine: (20:01)
This has been improving Sales performance. Thanks for listening. If you like what you heard, join us every week by clicking the subscribe button. For more on the topics covered in the show, visit our website, the center for sales There you can find helpful resources and content aimed at improving your sales performance. And if you'd like to connect with any of us, including today's guest, please do. You can find our contact information in the show notes. Until next time, get out there and

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