What Sales Coaches Can Learn from Baseball Coaches Part Eight


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In The Journey to Sales Transformation, crafty old messenger Benjamin Delaney directs Chief Sales Officer Phillip Evan Hawthorne’s sales transformation journey. Ben reveals truths of becoming a trusted advisor and partner to his customers through observations and stories. In this eighth of a series of excerpts Ben discusses why sales managers who cannot coach cannot transform sales.

a continuation What Sales Coaches Can Learn from Baseball Coaches Part One, Part Two , Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, and Part Seven

Ben leaned towards Phillip. “Managers who can’t coach are the weak link that can cause sales transformation to fall apart.”

“So that takes care of my field level managers, Ben, but what about me?” Phillip asked pointedly. “What about the rest of our senior management team?”

“So far, Phil, everything we’ve talked about has been what you’re going to get others in your organization to do. Now it’s your turn. You didn’t think you and the rest of your senior leadership team would come out of this unscathed, did you?”

“I was hoping,” Phillip said sheepishly.

“Well, hope didn’t do you much good this time around, Phil,” Ben said with one of big smiles. “You know I’m going to start the next part of our conversation with a question. Are you ready?”

“As ready as I as can be,” Phillip said with his head down, his eyes closed and a deep sigh.

Ben turned his body toward Phillip. “All of the company’s senior management agreed sales transformation was necessary and approved the budget to get it done. I’m curious. What have they done since?”

“They’ve done what senior managers should do. They’ve talked it up, but they’ve also asked about and looked for results. Is there more they should do?” Phillip wanted to make certain he truly understood what Ben was about to say, so he put his pen down and looked directly at him.

“Just like other managers in your organization, senior leaders have big responsibilities when it comes to sales transformation. As a matter of fact, senior leaders’ lack of support can kill the effort. The company will show a real commitment to sales transformation when you and all the other senior folks don’t just acknowledge the requirement to change, but actually experience the change with the rest of the organization,” Ben said.

“Senior leaders who don’t change their own tune have kept a bunch of organizations from fully realizing transformation. True sales transformation doesn’t happen when an individual on a team assumes the role of a trusted partner. That likely has already happened many times with a lot of your salespeople and customers. It happens when your entire company assumes that role. A company can’t be a real partner unless people at the most senior levels understand the formal sales process, set the example, and hold everyone in the organization accountable for transformation.”

“So now it’s about you and all the other senior folks in your organization. Just like Coach Cullen and your field level managers, you have to attend the training that defines the selling process and coaching behaviors. You should witness the buy-in of all your people and leverage it later when you’re working with sellers and managers. If you don’t, how could you understand the key methodologies and be able to inspect them when you talk with your folks? You’d be a Coach Dillon, for heaven’s sake.”

“Looks like it’s back to the sales classroom for my entire senior team.” Phillip continued writing his notes.

Excerpt from ‘The Journey to Sales Transformation: 25 AXIOMS for becoming a trusted partner to your customers.’ Available at AMAZON.com.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bob Nicols
Bob Nicols serves as Founder and CEO of AXIOM. He has 34 years of experience in sales, sales management, executive management and sales force development. He has managed and mentored thousands of sales people, sales managers and senior managers and been responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. For more than 21 years he has developed and delivered sales programs that have become the standard for many Fortune 100 companies including AT&T, BellSouth, Disney Enterprises, Alltel, Verizon and ESPN.


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