“We Sales People Can become Stir Crazy and Have Cabin Fever!” It Depends on Our Attitude!

Stir Crazy is a phrase that dates to 1908 according to the Oxford English Dictionary and the online Etymology Dictionary. Used among inmates in prison, it referred to a prisoner who became mentally unbalanced because of prolonged incarceration. It is based upon the slang stir to mean prison. Sales people trapped at home feel like they are in prison!

Cabin fever is a claustrophobic reaction, manifested as extreme irritability and restlessness, that takes place when a person or group ends up in an isolated or solitary location, or stuck indoors in confined quarters for an extended period of time. This term came about as many a farmer, trapper, or hunter could become trapped in their cabin over a long and brutal winter. The Covid 19 crisis is our brutal winter!

During the Covid 19 crisis, many of us sales people have been told to stay at home or not to meet clients. Beware of becoming Stir Crazy and catching Cabin Fever.

Jeffrey Gitomer had the best advice I have seen for us to follow in this crisis:

 “Don’t Outsource Your Attitude!”

With all the instant social media bombarding us, you may be tricked into a negative, defeatist attitude by what you read from media as you sit at home bored and irritable. Don’t outsource your attitude to media! Be careful of what you read, be aware of your attitude while you are reading!

Dr. John Maxwell has said to me over and over:

 “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. Circumstances changed and now it seems like your business (or life) is falling apart. You can’t change what happened, but you can change how you react to it.”

It all starts with your attitude. Your attitude will determine how you come out of this crisis. Will you be a stronger, better, more wise sales person? Or a dithering depressed dolt?

“Focus on What You Can Control and Don’t
Waste Energy on Things You Cannot Control”

 Let’s review Dr. Maxwell’s Axioms on Your Attitude. You can control your attitude!

Attitude Axiom #1: Our attitude determines our approach to life.
When you wake up in the morning during this “isolation” what is your attitude? What new daily habits do you need to inoculate when working at home or alone to have a positive productive day?

Attitude Axiom #2: Our attitude determines our relationships with people.
When we are out of our normal routine, we may find ourselves more touchy and grumpy. How might you improve your relationships with your family and friends during this down time? Time to help others in need?

Attitude Axiom #3: Often our attitude is the only difference between success and failure.
As a Successful Salesperson you have talent, How will you employ the gift of this “time out” to be even more successful in your job and relationships by the end of the Covid crisis?

Attitude Axiom #4: Our attitude can turn problems into blessings.
The problem of not being active, networking and selling may be a blessing. Take time and determine what blessings and opportunities arise out of this Covid Cabin Fever? Develop new habits, activities, and processes to grow as a better sales person.

Attitude Axiom #5: Our attitude can give us an uncommonly positive perspective.
All crises end. Remember this. Rather than be a Stir Crazy Sales person who is negative and down, develop habits and activities that grow you through this Covid Crisis. And remember, be a strong, positive example to others around you. Don’t infect others with fear but influence them with hope and help to come out of this Covid crisis as better stronger persons.

Keep safe, keep healthy during the Covid 19 crisis. Develop a healthy attitude first, cultivate new healthy habits, and be a positive blessing to others. Give hope not fear!

Michael J Griffin
John Maxwell Team Founder
Jeffrey Gitomer Fan
ELAvate Founder

About Michael Griffin

Michael is the CEO of ELAvate Global and Equipping Leaders for Asia Pte. Ltd. Over 40+ years, his career has revolved around developing leaders, especially sales leaders, in emerging nations. Mr. Griffin has spent the majority of his 40+ year career in Asia. His areas of expertise include Sales Productivity, Senior Executive Development, Cross Cultural Leadership, Strategy Mapping and Balanced Scorecard.


Why More Sales Leaders Are Investing in Sales Coaching

By Julie Thomas, CEO of ValueSelling Associates

“Everyone needs a coach.”

Bill Gates selected these words to open his TED Talk with impact. Interestingly, the point he emphasizes — and the single common attribute of all high-performing individuals, from billionaire chief executive officers to professional athletes — is the fact that they all have a coach. Sales managers and reps need great coaches, too.

Sales coaching, the process of developing people to reach their next level of excellence and performance by helping them master skills and overcome obstacles, is growing in importance. In an increasingly technology-enabled sales environment, companies have rediscovered the value of communication skills. Millennials, in particular, rely on digital and social media communication rather than talking on the phone. The lack of phone skills is especially painful in business-to-business (B2B) sales, since voice conversations are vital to closing large deals.

Communication skills, as well as other necessary sales skills, are best learned through training. For organizations to realize a return on those training investments, however, they need to support them with coaching. A sales coach’s role is to optimize performance by observing; providing constructive, truthful and specific feedback; and role-modelling best practice skills.

How can sales leaders build high-performing sales teams and achieve their revenue goals? By focusing on supporting salespeople with consistent, quality coaching to reinforce what they have learned through training.

Last year, ValueSelling Associates, Inc. and Training Industry, Inc. surveyed 330 U.S. learning professionals responsible for sales training within a wide range of industries to explore the role of sales coaching within B2B companies. According to the research findings, 67% of companies that have had a formal coaching program in place for three years or more experienced high revenue growth. Here are some of the highlights from the research and three tips to keep you on track in developing successful sales coaching programs.

1. Making a Long-term Investment in Coaching Pays off

For a coaching program to work, businesses need to have patience and invest in a formal coaching program for a minimum of two to three years. If you’re looking for quick wins and stop coaching after a year, you’ll be disappointed in the results.

Building proficiency in any new skill set takes time, and the adoption and effectiveness of sales coaching is no different. More than two-thirds of companies that participated in our study had a formal coaching program in place for three years or more and experienced high revenue growth. The most successful sales leaders reported using coaching more now than in the past.

When you experience success from your sales coaching program, maximize the momentum and keep it going.

A sales coach’s role is to optimize performance by observing, providing constructive feedback and role-modeling best practices.

2. Support a Wide Range of Skills

Just as championship football teams are coached on how to pass the ball, block their opponent and rush downfield, winning sales teams receive coaching on a variety of skills. After all, each sales engagement is different, and salespeople require an assortment of skills to converse with buyers and close deals. The best sales coaching programs support the development of these five skills:

  • Listening/communication skills
  • Product/service knowledge
  • Presentation skills
  • Sales process
  • Engaging prospects

3. Measure the Impact of Your Sales Coaching Program

Measuring the effect of your sales coaching program is of critical importance. Companies with the best programs gauge the impact of coaching in multiple ways (rather than by looking at a single outcome) to develop a complete picture of their performance. To assess the health of your sales coaching program, use metrics as a reflection of what’s working and an indicator of where to go next.

High-growth companies measure the impact of coaching in many ways and see significant outcomes from their investment in sales coaching, including:

  • Individual productivity
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Individual quota achievement
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Bottom-line growth

The Value of Investing in a Coaching Program

Bill Gates was right — everyone does need a coach. Sales leaders who are passionate about growing their team members’ skills, improving their performance and achieving bottom-line growth have the patience to invest in an ongoing, formal coaching program for at least two to three years.

Coaching is a critical component of continuous improvement. Our research shows that while some companies have defined periods of coaching engagement, 29% of companies make coaching an ongoing priority. Winning sales leaders understand the importance of doing so, and they invest in training their managers on how to coach while investing in their reps. They ensure that their salespeople learn a wide range of skills to be able to navigate each unique sales engagement they encounter. Most importantly, they learn to measure success and determine how value-based selling is making an impact.

Your company can benefit from increased revenue too by investing in a valuable sales coaching program.

Julie outlines the keys to a long term revenue producing saes coaching plan. We at ELAvate have been supporting sales coaching skills and processes since 1992 across Asia. If you want to explore in greater depth how ELAvate can develop your sales coaches, email me direct at michael.griffin@elavateglobal.com

Have a Great Week !

About Michael Griffin

Michael is the CEO of ELAvate Global and Equipping Leaders for Asia Pte. Ltd. Over 40+ years, his career has revolved around developing leaders, especially sales leaders, in emerging nations. Mr. Griffin has spent the majority of his 40+ year career in Asia. His areas of expertise include Sales Productivity, Senior Executive Development, Cross Cultural Leadership, Strategy Mapping and Balanced Scorecard.


Running in Sand: 2020 Trends in Sales Management and Coaching

Research Paper by CSO Research/Miller Heiman Group
ELAvate Partner in Sales Enablement

Few practitioners feel the impact of the rapidly shifting dynamics of the sales industry like sales managers. Sitting at the intersection of the sales organization, frontline sellers and buyers, sales managers must now lead sellers through an era where sales organizations continually reinvent themselves to meet the needs of buyers’ ever-changing expectations.

Yet in Running in Sand: 2020 Trends in Sales Management, our research finds that though sales managers must lead sellers through these changes, the approaches to sales management haven’t evolved as quickly, with constant change overwhelming managers and leading them away from behaviors that result in success.

In this report, Miller Heiman Group finds that:

  • Sales managers spend twice as much time on administrative work and forecasting as sales coaching
  • Sales organizations hire more than half of sales managers from within
  • Less than 1/3 of sales organizations claim “developing sales managers into success” as a strength

To help sales organization better hire, onboard and support sales managers, the report offers insights such as:

  • The top three capabilities that today’s sales manager brings to an organization
  • The top gaps that sales managers show—and actionable advice to improve them
  • Steps that sales leaders can take to set sales leaders up for success, from enablement to incentives

Download the study now to learn how you can shape your sales management function to motivate stronger performance from your sellers and take on today’s challenging sales environment. Click here to download the report.

We at ELAvate have 35 years of experience of moving sales strategy to revenue results through our Sales Coaching Skills, Assessments, Process and Measurement.

Contact me at michael.griffin@elavateglobal.com for a no obligation discussion on improving your sales coaching n 2020.

Michael J Griffin
Founder ELAvate!
Miller Heiman Master Sales Trainer
John Maxwell Leadership Coach

About Michael Griffin

Michael is the CEO of ELAvate Global and Equipping Leaders for Asia Pte. Ltd. Over 40+ years, his career has revolved around developing leaders, especially sales leaders, in emerging nations. Mr. Griffin has spent the majority of his 40+ year career in Asia. His areas of expertise include Sales Productivity, Senior Executive Development, Cross Cultural Leadership, Strategy Mapping and Balanced Scorecard.


Five Imperatives for Sales Enablement in 2020

By Seleste Lunford, CRO of CSO Insights – part of Korn Ferry

ELAvate is now part of the Korn Ferry partner team. Here is the latest review of sales enablement progress and potential enablers by Seleste Lunford. ELAvate respects her as a global leader in sales productivity research. Read on…….

As sales enablement leaders reflect on 2019 and dive into 2020, most will find themselves in an interesting spot. While only a small minority (2.6%, according to CSO Insights’ 5th Annual Sales Enablement Study) were wildly successful at exceeding their objectives over the past year, the majority (72.5%) acknowledge that there’s significant room to improve. In our report, we call this “reaching an enablement plateau.” Combined with possible softening in the global economy, it should drive enablement leaders to be aggressively introspective.

Has sales enablement, rounding its fifth-plus year in many organizations, lived up to the hype?

The promise of enablement is that it can fill gaps to connect content, training, coaching, and tools. It should orchestrate the activities of marketing, learning, operations, and product but not duplicate them. It is uniquely positioned to advocate for sellers just as it advocates for customers and the organization. Enablement can be the unifying point of the sales organization, the embodiment of the adage “1 plus 1 makes 3.” But unfortunately, that is still aspirational for many organizations. Since enablement did not exist just a few short years ago, it’s not uncommon for it to have morphed from something else… a content marketing team or a sales training team. For many, enablement has not strayed much from those roots. Enablement leaders should look to occupy a unique space in the organization:

  • Is your content a library of product sheets, or is it a curated body of assets tailored to sales process phases and built from a value messaging framework?
  •  Is coaching formalized in your sales organization, and does it integrate with training? Do you have a full coaching practice, including process, tech tools, and data as well as skills?
  •  Has training evolved beyond product knowledge and on boarding to an individual focus, encompassing project initiatives (new product launches) and capability-building (improving perspective selling)?

Consider the services you provide, and ask yourself if they are integrated enough, if they are expansive enough and if they accomplish something that could not have been done as just sales training or content marketing. As sales enablement leaders charge into 2020, they should consider where they can move beyond the enablement plateau:

1. Expand beyond sales

Years ago, when CSO Insights took its first stab at formally defining sales enablement, we were careful to clarify the audience for enablement as “customer-facing personnel” vs. just salespeople. That’s because the ultimate goal of enablement is to drive success through improved customer interactions. Sales is responsible for a large chunk of those interactions, but certainly not all of them. As such, enablement is increasingly being asked to support customer service, customer success, product engineers, marketing and other customer-oriented functions.

Naturally, this is a challenge with limited resources. Most sales enablement leaders would agree that they are understaffed and underbudgeted to properly service their selling audiences, much less taking on new (and often larger) audiences. While it may not be practical to fully enable these connected audiences, there are ways that enablement functions can start the process of integration, such as working together on a value messaging framework, combining data sources or creating cross-functional teams to manage large accounts.

2. Detangle your tech stack

Do a quick web search on the sales technology landscape, and the visuals you find will be intimidating. There are hundreds of options available to sales organizations. Such tools promise better effectiveness (e.g., using predictive data to make recommendations on next steps or prioritization). And they drive efficiencies (e.g., reducing the time spent searching for or creating sales content). And while most sales organizations are attempting to reap the benefits of such tools, few (28.4%, according to our 2nd Annual Sales Operations and Technology Study) have knitted them together, and even fewer (27.3%) have embedded them into the seller’s workflow.

Enablement can play a critical role here by representing and advocating for the seller. Which tools align with enablement goals? Where should the source data come from to prevent duplicate data entry requirements? When should the seller interact with the tool in the course of their work? And how will they interact with it (through CRM or directly into the tool itself)? Answering these questions (preferably prior to implementation) can support greater adoption and more impact.

3. Get more involved with the talent strategy

Sales organizations, on average, are increasing in size 9% (CSO Insights’ Sales Talent Study). In addition, attrition is at a recent high of 18%. That means there is a ton of hiring going on in sales organizations. The problem is that 84% of leaders still do not believe they have the talent they need to succeed in the future. Despite the increased volume, hiring has not helped close the gap between selling capability and buyers’ expectations.

Rather than wait until on boarding to influence your influx of talent (as is the case in many sales organizations), enablement can get more actively involved in the hiring process. For example, you can partner with HR to select an assessment tool that maps candidates to successful seller profiles. You can participate in the interviewing process, help calibrate the assessment tool and write more accurate and compelling job descriptions. And you can tailor your enablement services specifically to the inbound profile and assessment results of individual new hires.

4. Take on the coaching problem

No, really. It’s time. In our enablement study, we noted some progress here vs. past years, yet 62.9% of sales organizations either still use an informal coaching process or leave it up to managers. In addition to the intuitive rationale (we all know we need to do this, right?), the numbers are telling. Organizations that do this well have higher win rates (+19%) and quota attainment (+21.3%) than their peers. In fact, of all the things we measure, this has one of the strongest correlations to results. So why are we still having this conversation in 2020?

Sadly, lack of a formal coaching process is a problem that sales organizations have gotten used to and have learned to live with. Almost half of sales leaders (45.2%) were hired from within the organization (CSO Insights’ 2019 Sales Management Study), and if they haven’t experienced coaching in their seller role, they aren’t likely to model it well as a leader—and the problem self-perpetuates. Enablement can turn the tide by putting the elements of a coaching practice in place: process (definition of types of coaching, metrics, and cadence), skills, data, and tools.

5. Push hard on metrics

Most sales enablement organizations track metrics. That’s good because those metrics can fuel coaching practices, inform enablement priorities and connect the enablement function to what matters to the organization. The challenge is that few sales organizations (25.7%) declare functional goals within these metrics and hold themselves accountable for results. This is particularly worrisome in 2020 because, while economic pundits have varying takes on the future, most agree that recent global economic growth is not sustainable. Those who were in sales leadership positions in 2008 will recall that sales training and other sales support budgets were decimated with the slowdown.

Now is the time to build tighter business cases. While you will get pressure to hold yourselves accountable for revenue (or premiums or bookings, etc.), look to leading indicators that can be monetized, such as win rates (loss rates), funnel velocity and selling time.

Sales enablement leaders should take stock of their own situations to determine if they, too, are stuck on a plateau and what they might need to add to their disciplines to climb to the next peak. Effectively pursuing all the imperatives on this list in just one calendar year may be a stretch (even in a leap year!), but 2020 may well be a critical time to make serious progress on them.

ELAvate has a wide range of assessment, training, coaching, process and measurement tools to keep your sales team ahead of the competition. Contact me for a no obligation talk on how to leverage Seleste’s ideas and advice at michael.griffin@elavateglobal.com 

Have a great week!

About Michael Griffin

Michael is the CEO of ELAvate Global and Equipping Leaders for Asia Pte. Ltd. Over 40+ years, his career has revolved around developing leaders, especially sales leaders, in emerging nations. Mr. Griffin has spent the majority of his 40+ year career in Asia. His areas of expertise include Sales Productivity, Senior Executive Development, Cross Cultural Leadership, Strategy Mapping and Balanced Scorecard.


Selling in the Age of Ceaseless Change: The 2019 Sales Performance Report

by Miller Heiman

As a partner of Miller Heiman Group across Asia, I am happy to send you the latest MHG Sales Performance Report as of 2019. Use this report to review, reflect and make changes in your sales productivity strategies for 2020 to remain competitive in the ever changing world of global B2B sales. Here are some of report highlights. Download for the full report is found at the end of this brief blog.

Sales organisations are better at hitting their revenue goals; 94 percent of commitments were met in 2018, making it the third straight year of growth. But while revenues seem solid, it’s not because of sales performance.

Organisations are making hires and providing sales departments with resources, but those salespeople are neither winning a greater percentage of deals nor turning a higher percentage of leads into opportunities. Sales leaders must reflect on and consider the following indicators of seller stagnation and decline seen in 2018:

  • Win rates remained steady from 2017 at 47 percent — a number that should be growing.
  • Sellers closed less than half of what they forecasted to close.
  • Less than a third of revenue (30%) came from new accounts.
  • More than two-thirds of sales organisations have no clear lead definition or nurture process.

Our latest study, “The 2018-2019 Sales Performance Report” from CSO Insights, the research division of MHG, found that sellers are no more successful than they were three years ago, and performance and productivity aren’t driving revenue growth.

With the goal of reversing these trends, the report explores what made the top performing sales organisations so successful in 2018, and provides actionable steps for achieving the top four sales goals in 2019.

Based on insights from nearly 900 global sales leaders, the report uncovers:

  • The immediate steps to increasing win rates this year
  • How to actually improve lead generation
  • The keys to securing new accounts
  • How to expand penetration among existing customers

In addition to the full study, you’ll also gain access to a report summary, as well as our new sales growth infographic.

Download the 2019 Sales Performance Report by clicking here.

Have a Great Year Exceeding Your Sales Targets!

Michael J Griffin
Founder ELAvate Sales!
Miller Heiman Master Sales Trainer

About Michael Griffin

Michael is the CEO of ELAvate Global and Equipping Leaders for Asia Pte. Ltd. Over 40+ years, his career has revolved around developing leaders, especially sales leaders, in emerging nations. Mr. Griffin has spent the majority of his 40+ year career in Asia. His areas of expertise include Sales Productivity, Senior Executive Development, Cross Cultural Leadership, Strategy Mapping and Balanced Scorecard.


Do It. Speaking


 by Jeffrey Gitomer

“Whenever I watch someone give a speech, or make a presentation, I always listen for their first few words. It tells me what type of presentation they are about to give.

Most presentations are exceptionally ineffective, and even fewer have great beginnings.

The strategy I have always used at the beginning of a talk is one that I refer to as: start in the middle. Rather than greet the audience, I begin by telling a story, almost mid-sentence. The audience is not forced to listen; they’re compelled to listen.

If I don’t tell a story, I begin with a question. One that I believe most people in the audience can relate to. I’ll ask, “How many of you, when driving around in your car, listen to the music you grew up with?” And most audience members will rise their hand. I have immediately gained engagement. Not only are people listening, but they’re also participating. It’s also likely that most people have never heard that questions before.

I’ve not only engaged them, I’ve made them think – and consider new information. After I have asked the question, I make a point. Now they can’t wait hear what I have to say next. After I make a point, I say something funny. I don’t tell a joke, I use humor.

Within the first two minutes, I engage the audience, I make them consider new information, I get them to participate, I get them to laugh and I make a point.”


~ Excerpt from The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way


About Michael Griffin

Michael is the CEO of ELAvate Global and Equipping Leaders for Asia Pte. Ltd. Over 40+ years, his career has revolved around developing leaders, especially sales leaders, in emerging nations. Mr. Griffin has spent the majority of his 40+ year career in Asia. His areas of expertise include Sales Productivity, Senior Executive Development, Cross Cultural Leadership, Strategy Mapping and Balanced Scorecard.


Pressuring Your Sales Team Can Be Counterproductive and Three Ways to Motivate them to Success

by Scott Edinger

I just read this short blog on how not to pressure your sales team from Harvard Business Review Daily Management Tips of the Day and then found the Scott’s blog on “Three Ways to Motivate your SalesTeam.” Read the ‘Pressure’ paragraph starting below then the ‘Three Ways to Motivate.’ – Michael Griffin

Pressuring Your Sales Team
While it’s the sales team’s job to bring in business, simply cranking up the heat to get the numbers you want can backfire. Instead of dialing up the pressure, engage with sellers to help them succeed. Start by focusing on the sales process rather than the outcome. Then work with the sales team to understand where they need leadership help. This may include planning sales call strategies or discussing creative approaches to gain access to key decision-makers. Also, offer coaching. Selling often requires expertise that isn’t provided in training, so salespeople need ongoing support. Provide good models of what works. Give them a chance to practice those skills. Then give clear feedback and allow them to incorporate your feedback into their performance. If you do this not just once, but over and over again, they will hone and then master the essential skills. Remember, pressure may create diamonds out of coal, but you are working with people.

The Three Ways to Motivate Your Sales Team by Scott Edinger
It’s widely accepted that if you are in sales, you will have a quota. Achieve your quota, good job. Miss your quota, bad job. Miss your quota by a lot or miss it multiple times: no job. This creates stress for individual sellers and the sales organization as a whole.

Plenty of jobs are stressful and have objective measures of achievement. But there is a special kind of stress reserved for the sales function. When the numbers are down, the reaction from management is to turn up the heat on the sales organization. At a global technology conference last year, I asked an audience of CEOs what they do when they are behind on their numbers. “We beat on the sales team to bring in more,” one CEO immediately said. Everyone laughed. The follow-up comments and questions revealed that this approach was common across the group of 70 CEOs.

While it is the sales team’s job to bring in business, simply cranking up the heat to get the numbers you want can produce an environment where stress backfires. Too much stress in any professional situation will mask talent and lead to poor decision-making. Our ability to focus, solve problems, and accurately remember details declines dramatically in the face of excess stress. We’ve all seen it happen when someone “chokes” under pressure.

When sellers are under inordinately high pressure to close deals, they may become overly aggressive and damage (or end) promising sales cycles. Pushiness and other desperate behaviors reduce sales effectiveness and cause margins to shrink. If your team is selling any kind of complex solution, most customers will become non-responsive when pressured.

Stress can cause entire sales teams to behave as if any business is good business. Need a discount to make the deal easier? Sure! Wrong kind of prospect or problematic deal? Who cares, we have a number to make this month. The attitude is “any revenue, at any cost.” Sellers become myopically short-term focused, just as they’ve been directed. This approach has long-term consequences for the business: mounting losses and failure to create a compelling sales experience.

In an effort to produce maximum effort and create urgency in a sales organization, leadership will apply mounting pressure, drilling down on the importance of making the monthly or quarterly number. In most cases, leaders believe they are pushing hard in the spirit of driving for results. While it’s important to a point, leaders risk pushing to a point of diminishing returns.

You can clearly see how stress affects performance in the below graph, originally created by psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dodson. Their research illuminates how performance on tasks improves with increased physiological or mental arousal. Stress does help us get the job done — but only to a point. Too little stress, and you’re in the weak performance zone; too much anxiety, and performance is impaired. In the middle, an optimal level of stress produces what we’d call peak performance. The technical term for that zone is eustress, which is exactly where leaders should set the pressure to create optimal results.

Instead of just dialing up the pressure on sales to hit the numbers, leaders can maximize performance by engaging with sellers in these three areas:

  1. Focus on creating an exceptional sales experience. The sales experience is a vital differentiator when customers evaluate their options. Research indicates that the sales experience influences approximately 25% of the decision criteria in B2B selling. The sales experience includes creating value for customers by helping them to see issues or problems they hadn’t considered, opportunities they weren’t aware of, and solutions they haven’t anticipated. This requires sales professionals to apply research, strategic thinking, and acumen to the customer’s circumstances so they can create value in the experience, beyond the product or service they are selling. These nuanced elements of the sales cycle suffer when the focus is on closing a deal within a specified period of time (month, quarter, or year-end).
  2. Focus on the sales process (not the outcome). The sales process is a road map to creating the kind of sales experience that customers value and that differentiates you from the competition. If you want to create a process that will help your sellers sell, match it to how buyers buy. In each phase of the sales process, there are a few key actions that influence whether or not an opportunity will progress to the next stage. Work with the sales team to understand where they need leadership help. This may include discussing creative approaches to gain access to key decision-makers, planning sales call strategies around critical issues and investing in SMEs to support the sales process and demonstrate capabilities.
  3. Focus on coaching to improve performance. Consultative selling of sophisticated solutions requires expertise that is never fully developed in training programs. It requires skill development from practice in real situations, which comes from coaching. When leaders focus on building sales talent, they are investing in a competitive advantage for the business. Leaders can provide good models of what to do, followed by practice, clear feedback on specific skill improvements, and follow-up to incorporate feedback into performance —not just once, but over and over again as a skill set is honed to proficiency and then mastered.

As a leader, you have the greatest influence on the stress levels of your team. Pressure may create diamonds out of coal, but you are working with people. Getting results is the primary objective, but incessantly pushing for sales to hit a number can have diminishing returns. The downstream effects may also be hazardous to the overall health of your business. Focus your efforts on actually making people better at their jobs, building capability for improved performance, and the numbers will follow.

Follow these three simple ways and see your sales team perform.

Michael J Griffin
Founder ELAvate
Global Sales Coach
MHG Sales Trainer

About Michael Griffin

Michael is the CEO of ELAvate Global and Equipping Leaders for Asia Pte. Ltd. Over 40+ years, his career has revolved around developing leaders, especially sales leaders, in emerging nations. Mr. Griffin has spent the majority of his 40+ year career in Asia. His areas of expertise include Sales Productivity, Senior Executive Development, Cross Cultural Leadership, Strategy Mapping and Balanced Scorecard.

2020 is Near – Are You Ready for a Great Year?


By Michael J Griffin, Founder ELAvate, John Maxwell Team Founder, Executive ELAvate Coach

With 2020 on a few weeks away, it is time to reflect on 2019 and prepare for a more significant 2020. Here are ten questions for you to think about the past year.

  1. What life changes did you go through in 2019? What did you learn about yourself, relationships and life?
  2. List your top three accomplishments for 2019 and the impact on you and others.
  3. How would you score yourself on each of these: teachability, humility, forgiveness and patience?
  4. How was your life “balance” in 2019? Where was it in or out of balance?
  5. What goals or projects did you achieve in 2019? How do you feel about the achievements?
  6. What goals did you not accomplish in 2019? What have you learned?
  7. How generous were you last year? What did you give, do for others? How did you feel?
  8. What mistakes, regrets or failures did you make in 2019? What was the outcome for you? Did you fail forward?
  9. Evaluate yourself on your physical and spiritual health.
  10. Were you able to flourish in your life purpose or calling? What were the accelerators or obstacles in your calling?

Your reflection and vision for 2020 sets the stage for you to determine your journey to significance. I have created for you a Lego House Goal Sheet that helps you plan and list out your life mission, values and goals for 2020. You ask “Lego House,” what do you mean?”

I do not believe in life balance. Most people will balance one key aspect of their life against all others. For example, you find sales people and CEO’s put their personal or company revenue targets at the expense of all other areas of their life: health, family come to mind. I call this the “Running the Rat Race.”

Instead why not lead a wholesome life that is integrated across the “Lego” building blocks that “houses” your goals to reach real success and significance?

Click on the link here to download our ELAvate Lego House 2020 Goal Sheet and explore, reflect, change and commit to integrated goals for a more wholesome life of significance in 2020.

If you need my insight, help or coaching on Your calling, vision, focus and goals for 2020, email me michael.griffin@elavateglobal.com

Begin your 2019 reflection and start planning for a more fruitful 2020!

Have a great week!

Michael J Griffin
Founder ELAvate
John Maxwell Team Founder
Executive ELAvate Coach

About Michael Griffin

Michael is the CEO of ELAvate Global and Equipping Leaders for Asia Pte. Ltd. Over 40+ years, his career has revolved around developing leaders, especially sales leaders, in emerging nations. Mr. Griffin has spent the majority of his 40+ year career in Asia. His areas of expertise include Sales Productivity, Senior Executive Development, Cross Cultural Leadership, Strategy Mapping and Balanced Scorecard.


Top sales leadership skills needed to develop top performing salespeople

by GrowthPlay Library

If you want a top performing sales organization, you need the consistent ability to coach and enable salespeople to success. Providing motivation is a component, but results come when your managers have a cadence that helps them minimize administrative burdens, while providing continuous and effective coaching that does one thing – delivers revenue and enables sales results.

Your managers are a pivotal part to the success over your sales organization. Here are the top sales leadership skills they need to develop and execute.

Top Sales Leadership Skills Managers Need to Develop and Execute

Don’t Just Give the What, Provide the How

It doesn’t do any good to have a team of sales managers that force tasks without explaining how to do them or more importantly, the value of doing them. One of the best sales leadership skills your managers can develop is the ability to consistently provide the how. Knowing where a sales rep is coming up short is one thing.

Effectively conveying how the rep needs to improve is another, and can often be a challenge for sales managers. Don’t just tell your reps to have more meetings with the C-suite. Give them the tools, content and the skills to have high-level sales conversations that earn them those meetings.

Provide Effective Feedback

It’s easy to see where a sales rep may need improving. However, the ability to provide direction that helps him/her clearly understand how to improve is a top sales leadership skill. The key to giving great feedback is to do it in a way that motivates and builds confidence. Here are some easy techniques to use in any feedback session:

  • Have the rep first say what he/she did well and then where he/she needs to improve. Allowing them to go first helps you understand what think. Typically, the rep will also bring up those negative points which gives you the opportunity to coach instead of being critical.
  • When you do have to speak about negatives, do it in terms of “what you would do differently”. Focus on what the rep needs to do moving forward.
  • Ensure there are clear action items at the end of the conversation. Again, don’t just give the what. Provide the how.

Ensure Relevancy

Top sales leaders have the ability to demonstrate value and make any new initiative relative to the sales rep. Rolling out a new CRM system, a new sales process, even a new territory review cadence requires sales managers demonstrate why the change is relevant to what the reps are doing every day.  They need to see the value in the change and understand what’s in it for them.

Protect the Job

Bottom line, no matter the organization, sales reps are charged with one priority – sell more, faster. Arguably, the sales leadership skill with the most impact is the ability to protect the time salespeople need to sell. Assuming you have the right sales talent on board, the more time your salespeople can spend on building pipeline and move opportunities to closed-won deals, the more successful you’re sales organization will be.

Demonstrate Desired Behaviors

The best sales leaders lead from the front. You can’t tell people what to do and then leave for your 11am tee time. You need to demonstrate the behaviors you want in your sales organization. For example, if it’s critically important that salespeople adopt a new methodology, you need to demonstrate how you are leveraging the methodology. Promote the content and inspect its use. Your managers will do the same and so will the reps. Remember, leadership cannot be delegated.

In First, Break All the Rules, Marcus Buckingham writes,

“The talented employee may join a company because of its charismatic leaders, its generous benefits, and its world-class training programs, but how long that employee stays and how productive he/she is while they are there is determined by the relationship with their immediate supervisor.”

Top sales leadership skills can be taught and learned, but ultimately it’s owning the leadership and the critical role you have in the company that drives productivity and creates a culture of success.

About Michael Griffin

Michael is the CEO of ELAvate Global and Equipping Leaders for Asia Pte. Ltd. Over 40+ years, his career has revolved around developing leaders, especially sales leaders, in emerging nations. Mr. Griffin has spent the majority of his 40+ year career in Asia. His areas of expertise include Sales Productivity, Senior Executive Development, Cross Cultural Leadership, Strategy Mapping and Balanced Scorecard.

20170104104338-shutterstock-356792267 Sales Coaching

Sales Coaching – Who is Doing it?

By Tamara Schenk of CSO Insights, an ELAvate Sales Research Partner

ELAvate has been working with sales organizations across Asia to improve the attitude and ability of sales managers to get revenue results through effective sales coaching. One size does not fit all as outlined in this article by Tamara Schenck of CSO Insights, our ELAvate sales research partner. Her global research gives insight on what might be the best approach for your sales coaching approach.

When it comes to sales coaching, we usually discuss the approaches that have been taken, the impact different approaches create and what organizations that don’t implement sales coaching the right way miss out on in terms of performance.

We usually assume that sales managers should be coaching their salespeople and that all enablement activities to develop coaching skills should be targeted to sales managers. In our 5th CSO Annual Sales Enablement Study, we wanted to better understand who is coaching your sellers.

Sales coaching is delivered by various roles; sales managers only deliver 66.5% of the coaching.

Interestingly, 29.5% of organizations indicated that their sales enablement teams coach sellers directly, which means they have to get enabled first to be able to coach salespeople.

Another 18.9% work with external sales coaches, and 12.6% work with field sales coaches which is our focus today.

What does this variety of coaching sources mean for you as a sales enablement leader?

Before we go into any recommendations, there is no right or wrong approach per se. And there definitely is not a “right one” based on opinion or belief. What counts at the end of the day, looking at your charter and the metrics you have to achieve, is that you implement sales coaching in a way that delivers the best possible results in the shortest amount of time in your organization.

Based on that pragmatic clarity, it’s much easier to think through your current situation without having tons of limiting beliefs in your head. It’s about assessing what makes sense in the context of your organization. If you have sales managers who are not developed as sales coaches and were never required to coach their sellers, then you may think about working with external sales coaches, followed by developing internal field sales coaches.

In case you have a highly engaged group of sales managers already developed and equipped to be great sales coaches, you may follow this path and implement a dynamic coaching process to get into a sales coaching routine and cadence.

Your organization most likely is somewhere in-between. That means you have a small group of sales managers who are already coaching their sellers effectively, and you have a bigger group of sales managers who never had anything to do with sales coaching and either claim that they are already doing it (but that it’s not working!) or are more than skeptical when it comes to sales coaching in the first place. Let’s narrow this down a bit and look at their results and what other criteria might play a role.

Big Idea! Specialization seems to matter. Field sales coaches and external sales coaches typically achieve better results than sales managers.

This is a very interesting finding. Segmenting the data by these different coaching roles, one could assume that it’s a no-brainer to focus on field sales coaches and/or external sales coaches to get quick results, as their results were, on average, higher than coaching sales managers. However, this is only half true because context matters all of the time, including here. The organization’s sales coaching approach makes all the difference.

Context matters: Putting field sales coaches or external sales coaches in a random coaching approach only creates average win rates.

Context matters: Putting sales managers in a random coaching approach is even worse, as win rates are 4.5 points below average.

These findings help a lot to develop a targeted and tailored approach in your organization. They simply say that there is no real shortcut to immediate sales coaching success. In such a random environment – with no sales coaching approach, process or culture – all coaching roles have a hard time succeeding.

Regarding quota attainment, sales managers and specialized sales coaches delivered the same average performance, plus/minus 60.0%. There was a noticeable difference, however, regarding win rates. As expected, sales managers with no sales coaching expertise (that’s what defines the random approach) ended up with win rates 4.5 points below the study’s average of 46.4%. Instead, the specialized and skilled sales coaches could achieve average win rates even in a random environment. It makes sense, as they have more expertise and often more time and can better focus their efforts on specific opportunities and accounts to help sellers win more deals.

Context matters: In a formal or dynamic sales coaching approach, sales managers and sales coaches both achieve significantly better results than average.

This comes as no surprise. As we see in our data year after year, a formal or dynamic sales coaching approach drives sales performance in an impressive way; overall win rate improvements were 19.0% this year, compared to the study’s average of 46.4%. Given such a foundation – where processes and guidelines are implemented and managers/coaches are required to coach sellers – sales performance is significantly better, as you can see here.

Segmenting the data by coaching role, sales coaches (external/field) achieved win rates of 54.3%, and sales managers (in the same environment) achieved win rates of 51.8%. Both are outstanding results. Both are double-digit improvements (17.0% and 11.6% increase, compared to the study’s average).

How to get started as a sales enablement leader

Assuming you are facing a random sales coaching approach in your organization, check internally to see if there are field sales coaches somewhere in the organization. If not, it might make sense to work with external sales coaches in a specific way. They can help you run successful coaching pilots and, as discussed here, they can create better results, even in a random environment. At the same time, they should help you create and implement a sales coaching process in your organization.

Doing these things in parallel, you can create evidence with a pilot, which is the ultimate key to success, as results will help you get your investment needs approved. Results will make it much easier to create the necessary momentum to drive the transformation toward a coaching culture. While doing that, you also can develop coaching skills with your sales managers and internal field sales coaches.

Effective sales enablement leaders know that there is no shortcut to sales coaching success. But they also know that working with all available options, such as leveraging the potential of external and field sales coaches, can speed up the journey and help propel them from bad performance to average performance. Then, with the implementation of the right coaching environment, all coaching roles will succeed and achieve significantly better results.

We at ELAvate are Asian experts at upskilling your sales managers, providing external sales coaching to your sales teams, and conducting assessments on the health of sales teams. Call us for a no obligation discussion. We can support your success in 2020.

Have a great week!
Michael J Griffin
ELAvate Sales Coach
MHG Master Sales Trainer

About Michael Griffin

Michael is the CEO of ELAvate Global and Equipping Leaders for Asia Pte. Ltd. Over 40+ years, his career has revolved around developing leaders, especially sales leaders, in emerging nations. Mr. Griffin has spent the majority of his 40+ year career in Asia. His areas of expertise include Sales Productivity, Senior Executive Development, Cross Cultural Leadership, Strategy Mapping and Balanced Scorecard.

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