Sales coaching is the secret ingredient that can elevate your entire sales team to new heights of success. It’s about more than just imparting knowledge or doling out advice; it’s about creating a transformative shift in behavior that drives results.
In our latest episode of Predictable B2B Success, we had the pleasure of hosting Alan Versteeg, a renowned sales coach and expert, who shared his invaluable insights and proven techniques for sales coaching that can propel your organization to unparalleled growth.
With years of experience developing sales managers and driving revenue, Alan Versteeg understands the power of a framework to guide coaching efforts. In this episode, he unveils a revolutionary approach to sales coaching, focusing on aligning thinking, collaboration, and accelerating performance for your entire sales team. He unravels the secrets behind creating deep neural pathways in the brain, enabling lasting behavior change that delivers remarkable results.
Join us as we dive into the transformative world of sales coaching with Alan Versteeg and discover how you can unlock the full potential of your sales team. Get ready to revolutionize your sales approach and achieve predictable, sustainable success like never before.
Watch the episode
About Alan Versteeg
Alan Versteeg’s story is quite interesting. He initially pursued a career in electronic engineering but realized he wasn’t enjoying it. After some soul-searching, he decided to try his hand at sales, as he enjoyed connecting and engaging with people. However, his first four sales jobs ended in failure, despite him diligently following all the instructions and knowing his product well. It was a conversation with one sales manager that changed his perspective.
The sales manager asked Alan how long he had studied to be an electronic engineer, and when Alan replied three years, the manager pointed out that he had not put in the same effort to become a sales professional. This conversation sparked a newfound passion for sales in Alan.
He became determined to succeed and began focusing on driving meaningful change in his sales processes. Inspired by Neil Rackham’s book on sales management, Alan realized that without proper investment in sales management, training, and consulting efforts would not have a sustainable impact.
This realization led Alan to his passion, driving growth by developing effective sales managers. He believes that companies can achieve sustainable growth and success by investing in sales management. Thus, his journey led to the birth of Growth Matters, where he helps businesses improve their sales processes and drive growth.
Maximizing Sales Success through Coaching and Frameworks
In business-to-business (B2B) sales, coaching and frameworks are crucial in driving success and achieving predictable outcomes. In this episode of Predictable B2B Success, host Vinay Koshy engages in a captivating conversation with Alan Versteeg, an expert in sales management and development. Alan shares his insights on the importance of coaching, the need for frameworks, and how they can elevate sales performance to new heights. This blog post summarizes their conversation comprehensively and explores key takeaways for sales professionals and leaders.
Unlocking the Power of Coaching:
Alan Versteeg begins by highlighting the significance of coaching in sales management development programs. While coaching is a critical component, Alan emphasizes the need for a structure or framework against which coaching can be conducted effectively. Without a framework, there is no standard of what “good” looks like, making it challenging to identify gaps or take appropriate actions. Drawing upon the example of sales managers operating without a framework for sales strategy, Alan stresses the importance of alignment, collaboration, and accelerated performance resulting from a clear framework.
Alan’s Journey in Sales:
Alan Versteeg shares his journey, which led him from electronic engineering to an impactful career in sales. Initially, Alan struggled in his sales jobs and was fired from four of them. However, a conversation with a sales manager changed his perspective, and he discovered that approaching sales as a professional could be a well-paying and fulfilling profession. This encounter ignited his passion for sales, ultimately leading him to focus on driving growth through the development of sales managers.
Understanding the Brain’s Role:
Alan explains the role of the brain’s reticular activating system, which filters information to prioritize what our minds focus on. After buying one himself, he shares a personal anecdote about becoming aware of neon turquoise suitcases. This insight emphasizes the power of coaching in shaping thinking and behavior change through specific and targeted questions.
Coaching for Behavior Change:
The goal of coaching, Alan Versteeg argues, is not merely to impart knowledge or advice but to create a shift in behavior. Coaching can lead to sustainable change and improved sales performance by rewiring the brain through deep neural pathways. Asking thought-provoking questions, such as what specific changes will occur in the client’s business due to working with the salesperson, can shape thinking and drive behavior change.
The Power of Coaching in Sales Organizations:
Alan Versteeg stresses that coaching, like quiet leadership, guides individuals through asking questions while enabling them to make their own decisions. He shares the results of inquiries and interviews, highlighting the significance of measuring and identifying blind spots in coaching to bring about continuous improvement. Organizations can streamline their efforts and maximize outcomes by adopting an 80/20 approach to sales activities and prioritizing benefits, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Setting clear expectations is vital in sales organizations. Alan draws a distinction between setting goals and setting expectations, emphasizing the importance of accountability agreements that link lead metrics with sales numbers. By focusing on performance improvement and behavior change, coaching salespeople directly correlates with increased control over deals, winning more deals, and maintaining a healthier pipeline.
Shifting Toward Proactive Coaching:
Alan advocates a shift from reactive cannonball management to proactive coaching in sales organizations. Coaching helps correct the trajectory of sales efforts, increases the likelihood of hitting targets, and empowers sales professionals to excel. Managers who can help their sales teams perform at their best are essential to the success of any organization.
Developing Effective Coaching Skills:
Real coaching involves asking powerful questions that trigger self-awareness and illuminate the necessary behavioral adjustments. Alan refers to data from David Rock, stating that question-based coaching is the number one driver of performance improvement. He emphasizes that coaching should be performance and development-oriented rather than auditing-oriented.
Overcoming Blind Spots and Establishing Disciplines:
Alan Versteeg represents the need for overcoming blind spots in organizations, primarily related to inadequate appreciation and valuation of sales coaching and excessive focus on performance alone. A notable blind spot is often seen in managing sales pipelines, specifically the Power Plan, essential for long-term sales sustainability. Establishing clear disciplines takes time but ultimately leads to agility, progress, and exceptional results that cannot be easily replicated.
Sales Success and Mindset:
Alan underscores the significance of mindset, toolset, skillset, and support in achieving sales success. Top-performing sales professionals possess negotiation skills, comprehensive product knowledge, and value-oriented approaches. Authenticity and creative thinking also play pivotal roles in building trust and meeting customer needs. Organizations should strive to foster the right values and culture to attract and retain talented sales professionals.
Challenging Stereotypes and Building Trust:
Contrary to Hollywood portrayals, Alan emphasizes the imperative of sales professionals disproving negative stereotypes to gain and maintain trust. Customers seek evidence that supports the authenticity of sales professionals. By addressing these stereotypes and cultivating trust, salespeople can forge strong relationships and achieve exceptional success.
Coaching for Sales Success: Key Takeaways
In a world where B2B sales success is becoming increasingly challenging, organizations must focus on coaching their sales teams to excel. Let’s now delve into the main themes explored in the episode and look at actionable takeaways that sales professionals and organizations can implement.
1. The Necessity of Having a Framework:
One of the core insights shared by Alan Versteeg is the importance of having a framework when coaching sales managers. With a framework, there is a standard of what good looks like making it easier to identify gaps and take appropriate actions. Versteeg introduces a framework for sales strategy that answers three big questions: where to focus, why to maintain, and who will make it happen. This framework aligns thinking, fosters collaboration, and accelerates performance.
Sales organizations should develop a clear framework for their sales strategy to provide guidance and align the efforts of their sales teams. This framework should prioritize focus areas, maintain a clear rationale for each strategy, and identify the key individuals responsible for its execution.
2. Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Sales as a Profession:
Alan Versteeg shares his journey in sales, emphasizing the importance of finding passion and purpose in one’s profession. He initially struggled in sales, being fired from four different jobs. However, a pivotal encounter with a sales manager shifted his perspective and instilled a passion for sales in a well-paying, profession-driven role.
As sales professionals, finding genuine fulfillment and purpose in our chosen career is crucial. Embrace sales as a profession and invest in continuous learning and development to unlock your true potential.
3. Harness the Power of the Brain:
Alan Versteeg provides insights into how our brains process information and suggests ways to change behavior through coaching. He highlights the reticular activating system, which acts as a “bodyguard” for our minds, allowing us to filter information. Versteeg suggests asking specific questions to help shape thinking and promote behavior change in salespeople. Coaching is not just about imparting knowledge or advice but creating a shift in behavior.
Sales coaches should focus on asking specific, thought-provoking questions to help salespeople develop a deeper understanding of their customers and identify how their solutions can create tangible changes in their clients’ businesses.
4. Continuous Practice and Improvement:
Alan Versteeg underscores the importance of continuous practice and improvement in the sales profession. He suggests conducting regular assessments of one’s performance and utilizing reflection exercises to create deep neural pathways in the brain. Sales professionals should prioritize deliberate practice to ensure their skills remain sharp and effective.
Develop continuous practice and improvement habits by implementing regular reflection exercises and rewiring your brain through deliberate study and repetition of key sales concepts.
5. Transformative Sales Coaching:
Alan Versteeg highlights the importance of coaching for performance improvement. He emphasizes that real coaching involves asking questions to help individuals understand what they need to do differently. Data from David Rock suggests that question-based coaching is the number one driver of performance improvement. Organizations often focus too much on auditing performance rather than behavior change and development.
Sales leaders and managers should adopt a transformative approach, prioritizing question-based coaching that fosters self-awareness and drives behavioral change. This approach will enable sales teams to reach new levels of success.
6. The Importance of Discipline and Execution:
Alan Versteeg stresses the need for an execution culture and practical frameworks to ensure the effective execution of sales strategies. He argues that establishing disciplines takes time but ultimately leads to agility and progress. While innovation and technology can be copied and repeated, the output gained from establishing a culture of discipline is unique and cannot be replicated.
Sales organizations should emphasize the importance of discipline and establish practical frameworks to execute their sales strategies effectively. Focus on developing a culture of discipline that fosters agility and progress.
The Predictable B2B Success podcast episode with Alan Versteeg provides valuable insights into the critical role of coaching in achieving predictable B2B success. By implementing the actionable takeaways discussed in this blog post, sales professionals and organizations can drive meaningful behavior change, establish a culture of discipline, and ultimately unlock their full sales potential. Embrace coaching as a powerful tool to align thinking, foster collaboration, and accelerate performance for your sales team. Remember, success in B2B sales is not just a matter of skill but requires a holistic approach that encompasses mindset, toolset, skillset, and support.
Some areas we explore in this episode include:
- The importance of having a framework for coaching managers
- The speaker’s journey from engineering to sales
- The role of the reticular activating system in shaping thinking and behavior
- The goal of coaching to create a shift in behavior, not just impart knowledge
- The distinction between setting goals and setting expectations in sales organizations
- The correlation between coaching and increased control, winning more deals, and maintaining a healthy sales pipeline
- The blind spots in organizations’ approach to coaching and managing pipelines
- The framework for assessing value, volume, velocity, and shape in sales pipelines
- The importance of discipline and establishing a culture of execution in achieving success
- The traits, mindset, and skills of top-performing sales professionals
- And much, much more.
Listen to the episode
Related links and resources
- Check out Growth Matters International
- Learn from Todd Caponi – How To Build Trust With Customers: 9 Rules To Abide By
- Learn from Tom Williams – What is B2B Sales and How to Create a Successful Sales Process
- Learn from Robert Elliott – Sales Process Mapping: What is it And How to Use it to Drive Growth
- Learn more from Michael Haynes – How to Drive Growth with a Buyer Driven B2B Sales Approach
- Learn from Christopher Cumby – How to Use Powerful Sales Gamification Techniques to Drive Growth
- Learn even more with Lyn Christian – Leveraging Strengths And Personal Growth: How to Create Predictable B2B Success
Connect with Alan
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