Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Whether it is the World Cup or your Sales Organization - Coaches Matter Hugely!

The world's greatest sporting event (certainly in terms of numbers watching and participating before anyone starts emailing me about the Olympics or even the Super Bowl - perhaps I should say biggest because obviously greatest is in the eye of the beholder) begins this Friday in South Africa. 32 nations have made it through a two-year+ qualifying process in order to compete for the ultimate prize in international football (or soccer depending on where you are reading this post from!).

 Naturally the bulk of the attention is focused on the array of playing talent that will grace this global stage in the coming weeks and the predictions are flying in households across the world about which player will be the ultimate star. Will it be Argentina’s Messi or England's Rooney or Brazil's Kaka or Spain's...well pick any of their midfield or forward line and fill in the blank such is their depth of talent. There is another major factor, however, in who will ultimately lift the 18 carat solid gold trophy and that is the coach!

England has the thoughtful yet no-nonsense Fabio Capello, while Argentina has the legendary player Diego Maradona whose phenomenal exploits on the field are matched only by his erratic and sometimes bizarre actions as national coach, Brazil likewise has a former legendary player Dunga who like Maradona has lifted the trophy as a player but is far more restrained as a coach than his Argentine counterpart. Spain has Del Bosque who must try to live up to his predecessor who won the first major international trophy for Spain during his tenure while Germany's Joachim Loew, pensive and disciplined, knows he has former greats both players and managers who have won the trophy for Germany second guessing his every move. I could go on through each country but my point is a simple one, the coach matters and matters hugely. He has to manage highly paid players with egos to match their pay checks. He has to manage the expectations of his national federation bosses not to mention a small matter of his entire nation. He has to approach each game with a strategy designed to overcome the particular opposition and he has to be ready with plan B and plan C if plan A doesn't work. But ultimately when whistle blows for kick-off it is players that are on the field and all the coach can do is hope they execute according to plan.

 Sound familiar to all of you sales managers out there? Coaching sales people is not unlike coaching a world cup team. You need to equip them to be able to execute when they are out in field and you can't play the game for them. Great coaches know who to coach, when to coach and how to coach. At Huthwaite we have identified six characteristics of organizations that have world-class coaching cultures that deliver the trophy time and time again:

  1. They establish the right balance of effectiveness and efficiency.
  2. There is the right management involvement in face-to-face selling.
  3. Consultative and transactional business is separated.
  4. There is a focus on the early stages of the pipeline.
  5. There is an emphasis and a commitment to building, supporting and sustaining a coaching culture.
  6. They ruthlessly reward high performers. 
For more detail, read our whitepaper "The Six Characteristics of World-Class Sales Coaches".

And watch out during the world cup because the coaches will make a difference - some will be tactically brilliant or great people motivators some will be tactically naive and others will oversee the implosion of their team's morale - it happens every time - just like in business!

1 comment:

  1. I think you described one of my former sales "coaches" though I won't say which description! I couldn't agree more that coaching is critical to the long term success of a sales organization. Too many times organizations and sales managers just pay lip service to it. I know I always welcomed advice and coaching when I was in the field.