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Ned Miller and his team at MZ Bierly Consulting have worked with several of our clients and we are always impressed by their business banking acumen.


Guest post by Ned Miller, MZ Bierly Consulting

  1. They don’t spend enough time with average performers. Sales Managers like to hang around with their best people; high performers remind them of themselves! (They also have massive recognition needs—”Hey, boss, let me tell you what I just did…”) Chronic low performers also command attention—often an exercise in futility. Who gets left out? The 70% of the sales team whose performance could probably benefit most from coaching.


  2. They don’t orient new employees well. Sales Managers often leave this up to HR or to a departmental secretary. No matter how much time they’ve invested in recruiting somebody, Sales Managers need to make orienting a new team member a priority for the first 4 to 6 weeks. That involves blocking out time to review such things as the bank’s target market, sales process, and sales tools. It also involves making sure that new colleagues get the training and coaching they need from day 1.


  3. They don’t talk to people before sending them to training sessions. Many Sales Managers “trust” trainers to explain why somebody is going to a session and what she should get out of it. Take it from a trainer who has stood in front of thousands of bankers over the last 20 years: Don’t abdicate your responsibility. Tell your people what they need to focus on. Be sure to follow-up within 48 hours of the session to find out what they learned.


  4. They don’t coach the top of the funnel. Sales Managers focus (appropriately) on helping people close business. But they also need to help people identify and qualify leads. That means devoting time each week to what bankers are doing to replenish their pipelines: Which customers and prospects are they calling on? What efforts are they making to get referrals?


  5. They don’t do enough pre-call, post-call coaching on sales. In commercial and business banking teams, we see a lot of coaching on credit—essentially how to shepherd a loan request through the bank’s approval process. What team leaders often ignore is how the deal will be sold externally. Sales Managers owe their teams coaching before a term sheet is generated; they also need to debrief sales calls, client presentations and other major events.


  6. They don’t develop sales management routines. Rituals to implement could include such things as weekly sales meetings; biweekly 1 on 1 coaching sessions; joint calling with every banker two or three times a year; and quarterly relationship reviews on key customers and prospects. If these meetings don’t get on the calendar they often don’t get done. (And don’t cancel too many of the ones that you do schedule—that sends the wrong message too.)


  7. They manage everybody the same way. Many Sales Managers worry about being “fair” or “consistent” in their dealings with their teams. What they need to acknowledge is that everybody is different.


  8. They send inconsistent messages. Your people are constantly evaluating what you say and what you do. If you’re not careful about how you communicate you could confuse your team about the organization’s real priorities. Related to this is a failure to filter messages. Before forwarding on that email from your boss, think about how it will play with the troops.


  9. They don’t make people use sales tools. One example: If your organization has invested in industry research from RMA, IBISWorld, VerticalIQ or First Research, make sure people take advantage of it.


  10. They don’t have development plans for all team members. Make sure that you know what your people need to get better. Don’t strategize about this alone; involve your boss for starters. And then figure out how to make it happen.

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