What Sales Coaches Can Learn from Baseball Coaches Part Seven


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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 seventh of a series of excerpts Ben discusses why sales training alone doesn’t transform the sales process.

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

“The truth is,” Ben continued, “changing people’s behavior and getting them better at what they do won’t happen from attending one baseball camp or a few training sessions.

“You’re not gonna get anywhere near the return you could by just a handful of people changing, Phil. Just like one player on either of these teams getting better isn’t going to win either one of them a championship. It’ll happen when the majority not only commit to doing what it takes, but when they’re held accountable for doing the things it takes to win. Doing the fundamentals the right way.”

Phillip turned, looked Ben squarely in the eye, and said, “Working with kids is easy. Adults believe they already know how to play the game. Coaching them is way more difficult. I think that’s the real challenge.”

Ben patted Phillip on the knee again. “Sales transformation isn’t for the weak of heart, my friend. It takes strong management, strong coaches that are committed to change. Accountability at every level has to be your focus. If your managers don’t hold your people accountable, you’ll never transform anything.”

“I know it’s not enough, Ben, but we’ve at least tried to hold them accountable. I mean every manager and rep commits to their number every month, and the compensation program penalizes them if they don’t hit it.”

“Phillip, Phillip, Phillip,” Ben said in the most fatherly way possible, “the definition of accountability is ‘responsibility to someone for some action.’ The definition does not say ‘responsibility for some result or some number.’ Results don’t happen or goals aren’t reached unless people do the things they need to do to make them happen. You wouldn’t believe how many sales organizations can’t transform because managers either don’t know how or just don’t want to drive the behaviors or actions that cause results to happen. Managers who can’t coach are the weak link that can cause everything we’ve been talking about to fall apart.”

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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