sales leadership

The most transformative sales coaching element is coaching to the individual-The #1 Hack to improving sales performance

_To get above average performance, you need an above average coaching process. To do that, you need to coach the individual._.jpg

Every sales team has a mix of different personality types. As leaders and sale’s managers we have to work at managing and coaching to each individual to optimize performance.

The easiest approach to managing sales people is a broad-brush performance and or activity perspective. This will reap average performance because its an average performance management system.

This lack of specificity in coaching fails to address the different work styles, attributes, experience, objectives, and motivations. This results in a lack of new ideas, a lack of effective collaboration, deeper and more meaningful learning is missing, and performance becomes a challenge.

To get above average performance, you need to manage and coach using an above average process. To do that you need to coach to the individual.

What motivates one person does not motivate another. I believe that for sure reps need to be self motivated, that’s an obvious given. But to get the extra mile from your people, to receive exceptional effort, it helps to ensure they are being supported and coached in a way that increases their intrinsic motivation, not hamper it.

I have read from some sales experts that say reps need to be self motivated and we can’t as managers influence them. Hire motivated reps, and fire unmotivated reps, while that is partially true, I don’t entirely agree. I have seen highly motivated sales professionals become disenchanted from lack luster sales management.

In a tight labor market I would not want to make that assumption.

I know from my own experience, I was a highly motivated and driven sales person. That was inside me and no one could take it away. But I would go the extra mile, put in the extra effort, and stay longer when I was working for someone that I looked up to  and felt supported by.

One of the steps a leader needs to take is to determine what makes each of his or her people tick, what’s important to them, what style are they, how do they learn, and what motivates them. Assessments are also a great asset to help in this process.

HBR published an article on the topic of managing to different personality types by Suzanne M. Johnson Vickberg and Kim Christfort (April 2017). 190,000 people completed their assessment and they described the results and how you can capitalize on cognitive diversity. It clearly works.

Specific coaching is an underused tool that offers superior results.

It’s one of the most important transformative elements of effective coaching—coaching to the individual.

Are you coaching to your individual team members? Feel free to comment.

For more information and insights in regards to coaching and other sales organization thoughts refer to my website,, feel free to order my book, The Street Savvy Sales Leader, A Guide To Building Teams That Consistently Win New Business.


Mark Welch


Street Savvy Sales Leadership


For individual sales or sales leadership coaching, workshops, contract work, speaking or consulting feel free to contact me.

Why are so many of us in sales still spewing out product garbage, too soon and too often?


It’s crazy to me that we still need to coach sales people not to sell on product. I was just reviewing some old books on my shelf and came across the gem, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This book sold millions and has been talked about for decades. It was published in 1989 by Simon and Schuster, 30 years ago.

Here you go, page 244, “An effective sales person first seeks to understand the needs, the concerns, the situation of the customer. The amateur salesman sells products; the professional sells solutions to needs and problems. It’s a totally different approach. The professional learns how to diagnose, how to understand.”

“It’s a totally different approach” – Yah  30 years ago it was!!

I realize that today we are also striving to advance the conversation to insights and value creation, and helping customers with ideas and scenario’s that they perhaps havn’t even thought of.

We still need to help customers solve their business problems by developing outcomes for them that resonate and are meaningful for their business and for them personally.

It’s curious to me that many sales consultants and thought leaders talk about this as if its new thinking.

I remember a family friend who sold for a paint manufacturer, yes paint. He traveled all over Canada selling paint. He was a good friend of my dad, and I was just a kid at the time. So this was 40 plus years ago.

I’ll never forget him talking about selling in our living room, smoking his pipe (yes he was smoking a pipe-not very popular these days). He talked about helping his customers, he never talked about the product.

Why are we still even having this conversation?

Because reps astonishingly, are still doing it.

Lets make 2019 the year we pause, think, ask questions, sincerely care about the outcome, and listen, I mean, really, actively, listen.

I help coach professionals on this topic among others on a continual basis, yes its still an issue.

It’s very rewarding to see them make the shift into outcomes and how they see very quickly that it changes the whole dynamic of the conversation they have with their clients in a positive way.

Please feel free to comment on this topic and join the conversation.

For more information and insights in regards to coaching and other sales organization thoughts refer to my website,, you can also order my book, The Street Savvy Sales Leader, A Guide To Building Teams That Consistently Win New Business.


Mark Welch


Street Savvy Sales Leadership

For individual sales or sales leadership coaching, workshops, part time sales leadership or contract work, advising, or speaking engagements contact me directly;

Are you a Super Bowl Sales Coach? There are 4 fundamentals which will help you become a "Super Bowl" Sales Coach.


Are you a Super Bowl Coach?

There are 4 tried and true coaching fundamentals which will help you become a “Super Bowl” Sales Leader.

As human beings we are searching for meaning in our lives, some seek money and power and status of course. I think that is fleeting, while temporarily satisfying, in and of itself, it doesn’t add much meaning to our lives.

To truly have meaning in our lives we need to add meaning to other people’s lives. To make a difference, to contribute in a positive way.

As sales leaders it’s about helping team members be the best that they can be and helping them meet their objectives and goals, both at work and in their lives.

One sure fire way to do that, is through effective, meaningful coaching. The benefit of great coaching is that results happen.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a big sports fan and an even bigger football fan. I believe that there are so many parallels between sports and sales leadership and especially sales coaching.

I love watching the intensity on the sidelines of some of the great coaches, how they are so in the moment, watching every play, adjusting, being right there with their players on the field of battle.

Watch the two, very different coaches at this Sundays Super Bowl, Sean McVay and Bill Belichick.

One will be out there fist pumping on occasion, the other will be more stoic and even tempered, but no less intense.

I’ve read a ton from many of the coaches that I admire, like Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, John Wooden, Bill Walsh and Pat Quinn.

There are so many lessons to be learned by studying these greats, not only on how they coached but on how they lived their lives.

They are not remembered for their status, or how much money they made.

They are remembered for their results, but even more importantly they are remembered for the meaningful difference they made in the lives of those that they coached.

I have been a leader for over 20 years, I have studied and read about the craft of leadership and coaching, I became a certified coach in two different coaching programs, and then I wrote a book about it; The Street Savvy Sales Leader.

In addition to that experience, I also interviewed over 100 sales professionals.

There is no doubt that effective and consistent coaching is a Sales Team Game Changer.

This is my 2-minute summary of what it takes to create an effective coaching relationship.

The 4 Fundamentals of Great Sales Coaching

Number 1: Trust.

You need to be authentic, genuine and sincere and have the best interests of your people at heart.

You need to care.

This means listening to your reps, asking thoughtful questions and being collaborative and willing to have a constructive back and forth conversation vs being solely directive.

The greater the trust, the more open your team will be and the more you will learn about them as people and what their issues and challenges are.

That’s when the magic happens, when you can really help them be their best selves, through effective coaching.

Number 2: Specific.

It is important that the coaching is specific to each individual’s needs and goals.

You need to coach to the unique level of experience, skill set, challenges, strengths and weaknesses, talents, and character of each individual.

Reps need and want the coaching to be unique to them personally.

Real-world, relatable examples work far better than textbook scenarios or theory.

Number 3: Credibility.

Salespeople need coaching not only to come from a credible source but also to be credible.

In other words, the Sales leader is leading by example because of their experience and expertise.

Sales people in this case will truly value a coach’s viewpoint and recognize the benefit of collaborative creative new ideas and strategic account and sales call assistance.

Number 4: Timely.

Coaching needs to be timely, in real time if possible.

The immediate application of coaching lessons leads to sticky learning.

Coaching around a sales call for example should be right after the call, or same day, but no longer than 24 hours or it will not be nearly as effective.

John Wooden talked about the fact that if he couldn’t coach in the moment or within a few minutes of the event, it was a waste of time and you might as well not even bother.

In Conclusion; Great leaders are also great coaches

There is so much more to coaching, the above are 4 meaningful fundamentals to think about in your coaching moments.

They will help lead to greater performance.

Think about it—How do you want to be remembered?

Do you want to be remembered as one among many managers, or do you want to be remembered as someone who made a meaningful difference in people’s lives?

I pick the latter!   

Effective coaching means you need to take the time, it means you need to shift from it being about you, to its being about the people that report to you.

If you’re ready to be a Super Bowl Coach, ready for transformation, and ready to make a difference contact me today.

Email me at

It will lead to greater results—Effective coaching is transformative!


To read about other sales leadership topics or to learn more about sales coaching, check out my website .

Mark Welch


Street Savvy Sales Leadership

For individual sales or sales leadership coaching, workshops, contract work, or advising feel free to contact me for a free consultation by email

Some of My Favorite Quotes For Sales Are About Preparation, Why Is that?


Preparation for me is part of my coaching that I give on a regular basis and it is a part of the culture that I always instill in sales teams.

I know from personal experience that the more I prepared, the better the results I achieved.

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary” Vince Lombardi

Certainly, there is a balance, you don’t want to be stymied and end up not doing anything, but if I was to choose between under preparing and over preparing, I’d pick over preparing in most cases.

“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail” John Wooden

Due to the buyer challenges we face today, sales must step up to the increased expectation around the sales conversation. To meet those expectations, it requires thorough preparation. I think the more seasoned you are, the more knowledge you have, the easier you can adapt and meet each selling situation, but even seasoned sales professionals need to spend time preparing for each customer interaction to ensure they are maximizing that extremely valuable customer face time. Typically, you don’t get a second chance.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success” Alexander Graham Bell

Getting to the value outcome or solution outcome that matches the client’s needs is the main objective. Getting there requires a deeper understanding of the buyer’s decision process. 

If the value lies not in what you sell, but in the insights and innovative thinking that you bring to the table, then preparation is key.

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my ax” Abraham Lincoln

Even existing clients are often too busy to return your calls or take the time for a face to face meeting. This is the number one challenge facing sales forces today.

This makes it even more compelling to ensure sales is supported with the tools they need, and the time they need to be ready for their sales engagements. As organizations we must ensure we are not inundating sales with non-sales stuff. We can’t expect sales to be on top of their game and win new opportunities if you have them mired with administrative trivia and other tasks that other departments or support should be taking care of.

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet” Bobby Unser

That about sums up the challenge. I have said this repeatedly for many years now, the sales rep is the differentiation. I think it has always been that way, but you could get away with more in the past. You could have a good relationship, or you could be the best at follow-up and paying attention to detail. You could have the best solution and price. Now you must have that little bit extra that requires an enormous amount of extra preparation for the rep.

“What you know and how you leverage it is the biggest factor in your success…. How we sell is more important than what we sell” Jill Konrath

One of the most important, limited resources a sales rep has is their time. I am constantly reminding reps with how important their time is, and thus how important it is to spend it wisely. Company’s don’t have a lot patience with numbers not being met. As a result, you need to be productive quickly and consistently to be successful.

“Measure twice before you cut” My Dad

The list of preparation quotes could go on, they are simply an example, to ensure we do not underestimate how important it truly is.

For more information, suggestions, and insights into sales organization imperatives see my website,, and/or order my book The Street Savvy Sales Leader, A Guide To Building Teams That Consistently Win New Business.

Mark Welch


Street Savvy Sales Leadership

For individual sales or sales leadership coaching, workshops, contract work, advising, or speaking engagements

Are You Having Productive One on Ones With Your Sales Team Members?

Photo by Daniil Silantey on Unsplash

Photo by Daniil Silantey on Unsplash

Are You Having Productive One on Ones With Your Sales Team Members?

A Brief Guide to Conducting Meaningful Sales Rep One on Ones


I have always had the practice of meeting salespeople one-on-one every week, even if it was over the phone. My experience is that even the most experienced and seasoned salespeople need and want one-on-one interaction, whether it be for encouragement, help with problem-solving, support with strategic thinking, assistance with call planning or reviews, or internal help, like guidance on collaborating to receive support from other departments.

Even if they know what they need to do, having someone to bounce ideas off is extremely helpful. The essential thing is that the manager needs to be able to add value to the sales representative—they need to be able to help in some way. If the manager doesn’t add or offer any value, the one-on-ones won’t be of any value and won’t be welcomed. In fact, the reps will do whatever they can to avoid the manager, as they will be viewed as a waste of reps’ time.

In my one-on-ones I would always have a specific agenda but also always left time open for free dialogue. The agenda typically included:


actions review from previous meeting

results (or the lack thereof)

funnel review and discussion

what needed to be done to move business forward

strategic account planning

help/resources needed

current or immediate known challenges or issues

potential challenges or risks

any coaching opportunities that may have arisen and not yet been covered

personal/career development discussion, if needed or requested

any actions requiring follow-up

open discussion that may surface items


You want to ensure that these meetings aren’t viewed as simply the manager’s way to get caught up and keep an eye on things so that they are seen as being on top of things for their boss. While it is certainly important to catch up, the focus should be on the actual coaching and value-add of the manager–sales representative discussion. It’s not about you the manager, its about the rep and how you can help him or her be the best they can possibly be.

During the writing of my book The Street Savvy Sales Leader, I went through the process of becoming a professionally certified business coach by the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (Conducted by Shift Coaching, It was an extensive process that included several interactive training clinics, a substantial reading list, role-playing, observing practice-coaching sessions and putting in actual real-time, practical coaching hours. In all, the certification entailed well in excess of 70 hours[LC1]  of effort.

I wish I had gone through a coaching process like this earlier in my sales management career, as I would have been a more effective leader and coach if I had. I would recommend becoming a certified coach (from a reputable organization) to any dedicated Sales manager. It will make you a more seasoned, thoughtful and respected Sales leader.

Again, actual coaching means that you need to develop consistent and regular conversations that serve to help the sales process and sales rep development. These conversations need to be planned and must link to what you are trying to achieve as an organization and the culture you are creating.

Any additional thoughts and ideas on one on ones?, Would love to hear them, it is so important and needs to be a priority in all Sales Managers schedule.

For more information and insights into sales organization imperatives see my website, , or to pre order my upcoming book, The Street Savvy Sales Leader, A Guide to Building Teams that Consistently Win New Business.

Street Savvy Sales Leadership offers individual sales or sales leadership coaching, workshops, contract work, advising, and speaking engagements.

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at


Mark Welch


Street Savvy Sales Leadership


My Garage Station Sales Preparation Aha Moment !!!

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

I just had an aha moment after needing my car to be repaired at a small family owned and operated service station in a small town of a population of 3,000.

I got to talking to the co-owner of the garage while I was waiting for my car to be finished. This couple  bought the business 3 years ago and they have tripled the business in that period.

Their customer service was impeccable, and you knew they treated their employees (perhaps 5  employee’s in total) like gold.

The co-owner explained to me that they paid their mechanic higher than any other mechanic in the region, gave him 4 weeks off a year, paid vacation, and supplied lunch every single day.

That mechanic treated the business like it was his own.

After my service was complete they went over in detail what they had done and explained to me that the parts were under warranty and that if anything goes wrong, let them know and they’ll make sure they fix it, they then gave me their card so I could call anytime.

The real point of my story is that the one partner used to be a sales person before buying this business. I mentioned that I was in sales to and had written a book about sales. She was intrigued and said she would buy one of my books for sure. There you go, I made a quick sale in the middle of nowhere.

She then went on to say that she knew how difficult it can be to be a sales person and her business receives calls all the time from sales people wanting her business. Whether it be for tools, insurance, cleaning supplies you name it.

Because of her experience as a sales person herself, she is particularly sensitive to sales people and makes sure that when they call she is kind and doesn’t just fluff them off.

The aha moment for me came when I learned very quickly that the sales challenges that I write about extensively are much more pervasive than I imagined.  Sure my book applies to all B2B business, but I really didn’t think in terms of this small an example.

She told me the story of receiving a call from a sales person asking to speak to the owner. She politely asked the sales person if they knew what the owner’s name was. The sales rep responded that no he didn’t know the name but wanted to speak with whoever it was.

She promptly hung up and told me, if a rep can’t even be prepared enough and do the research to know who the owners of the business are, they don’t get any time with me.

Here is a small b2b business owner, in a small town, far from any sized city environment, and she wants a better B2B sales experience. She wants more from sales people.

Just think of how important and how prepared you need to be in every sales interaction, and multiply that 10x for larger and more complex sales engagements.

Buyers expectations are higher than they have ever been, and I mean pretty much any buyer.

Do not underestimate the importance of preparing--if you don't prepare, be prepared to fail.

For more information and insights into sales organization imperatives see my website, , or to pre order my upcoming book, The Street Savvy Sales Leader, A Guide to Building Teams that Consistently Win New Business.

Street Savvy Sales Leadership offers individual sales or sales leadership coaching, workshops, contract work, advising, and speaking engagements.

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at


Mark Welch


Street Savvy Sales Leadership

The Top Three Challenges Facing Sales Organizations Today And What To Do About It !

Photo by Shane Rounce

Photo by Shane Rounce

This is definitely my most important post so far.

While companies all face different challenges, there are three universal ones plaguing the sales industry today:

1. The buyer’s journey has changed dramatically. There are now more decision makers in every sales situation; the buyer is busier, more knowledgeable and more risk-averse; the buyer’s expectations of the sales profession are much higher; and the decision process is more complex. Thus, it is harder than ever to move a buyer to make a change.

2. It is tougher than ever before to differentiate your offering. Companies and salespeople are struggling to stand out and truly offer something of sincere value in every step of the sales process to their customers in a very crowded market. Even if you have a product or service that can be differentiated it’s still tough to get buyer mindshare.

3. Sales reps are facing increasingly complex and time-challenging demands. Companies want more data (typically through CRM platforms), reps need to be more knowledgeable about their product and more prepared for every sales interaction than they ever have and there is greater pressure on reps to provide consistently higher sales. The reps may not receive sufficient support, so they need to work harder to balance increased internal demands against winning more sales.


So, here we have the perfect storm: a more complex and challenging customer environment, where more time is essential to properly prepare for each customer interaction; a proliferation of products and competitors that makes differentiation more challenging; and increased expectations for both sales achievements and non-selling activities.


My strident message to senior sales leaders and B to B executives and owners;

You absolutely cannot have your cake and eat it, too. Sales needs the time to focus on selling and, at the same time, the sales organization needs to close the gap between buyers’ expectations and the sales community’s skills and expertise.

So if you want to be a world class sales organization, give your team the tools and support they need and let your sales people sell. Do not overburden them with non selling stuff !!!


Creating a Best-in-Class Sales Team

I have witnessed firsthand these increased challenges in the marketplace and in the customer mindset, yet I believe sales remains an exciting and rewarding career. Despite what others may suggest, sales is not dead, it is evolving. And we in the field must adapt.

In order to meet business growth objectives, you need to overcome today’s challenges. The only way to do that is to build a best-in-class sales team. By best-in-class, I mean a sales organization built on a solid foundation that’s composed of a winning, supportive and collaborative sales culture; caring leadership; an effective hiring process; a strong sales process with robust analytics; proven execution; a customer-driven philosophy; and a mindset of continuous improvement and learning.


Below are the 10 imperatives that I believe are critical for developing a sales organization that will help you win in the marketplace and meet your revenue goals.


1. A well-thought-out, customized hiring process to find the candidates with the most potential to succeed.

2. A defined onboarding program and talent management system that will get your new hires firing on all cylinders as quickly as possible and keep them that way.

3. A finely tuned sales process and funnel management.

4. Appropriate key performance indicators, metrics and analytics to measure success.

5. Sales planning to ensure you are calling on the right targets and that your salespeople are focused.

6. Sales methodology to ensure consistency and effectiveness in the sales process.

7. Effective real-time coaching to help your salespeople be their best.

8. Compensation and reward and recognition programs that are aligned with what you need to achieve.

9. Change management, because change is here to stay.

10. A caring, high-performance culture where sales employees feel they are a part of something of value and where they can express themselves and collaborate freely in a team environment.


These imperatives will enable your sales leadership to create a best-in-class sales team, which will provide your organization with the best possible opportunity to win in the marketplace.


It is these 10 imperatives that my book, The Street Savvy Sales Leader is all about.


For more information and insights into sales organization imperatives see my website, , or to pre order my upcoming book, The Street Savvy Sales Leader, A Guide to Building Teams that Consistently Win New Business.

Street Savvy Sales Leadership offers individual sales or sales leadership coaching, workshops, contract work, advising, and speaking engagements.

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at


Mark Welch


Street Savvy Sales Leadership

My Take On the Key Hallmarks of Top Sales Professionals-Heads up ! there's more than 5

Photo by Joshua Earle

Photo by Joshua Earle

Sorry, it’s more than 5 !

I have had the privilege of working alongside some of the best salespeople in the business. The most successful salespeople I have worked with have a mixture of some of these qualities:

1. They are the most focused. They know what they needed to accomplish. They are organized. There are always issues that can distract you. The best reps acknowledge the issues, work on solving them or bringing them to management’s attention, and then they move on and get back to their plan.

2. They always think about what the customer is thinking. This canny ability allows the rep to determine what the customer’s challenges are, understand the problems and thus see the opportunities.

3. They have a sincere desire to achieve. This means they are tenacious and confident, and possess willpower, courage and determination. They sell with passion. I often ask customers the question “Why did you choose us to do business with?” You might be surprised to learn that the answer is sometimes dead simple: the relationship, trust, service, price, references, et cetera. But one answer that stands out because I heard it more often was this: “The account team wanted it more than any other team. They worked for it; they were tenacious.”

4. They are persuasive and are aware of the behavioral buying patterns of customers. Eighty percent of decisions are made on emotions. The top salespeople are attuned to the emotions or emotional states of their buyers.

5. They are superb listeners. They sincerely care and are empathetic (high on the emotional intelligence scale

6. They are responsive. They deal with problems quickly, and they honor their commitments and promises to their support team and their customers.

7. They are positive and enthusiastic. Enthusiasm spreads, as you know. A person walks into a room with that special kind of energy that can change the dynamic in the room. The same goes for the reverse. Enthusiasm is contagious, but it’s a balancing act—don’t overdo it. It may not come across as sincere.

8. They are naturally curious. They read voraciously. I always suggest to reps that they stay up to date with what’s going on in the world around them, as this helps tremendously when meeting with and talking to clients. Natural curiosity then extends to a sincere desire to question and inquire and to learn more about their customers.

9. They have goals and they make plans for the day, week, month, quarter and year ahead.

10. They do their homework and prepare, and then prepare some more. I’m not sure I can emphasize enough how important preparation is. Preparation for a sales call, for a bid, an overall account strategic plan—the person who has a plan is in control. Remember the words from the great John Wooden, one of the greatest college basketball coaches in history: “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”

11. They know their company, its products and its services, and they have the ability to communicate a compelling story to their prospects.

12. They are great at building rapport and relationships, and so they are quick to gain credibility and win trust.

13. They are the hardest-working and the most committed. Sales success does not come without effort. Salespeople acquire knowledge through hard work and a burning desire to succeed.

14. They have the ability to call on the right people at the right time, with the right message. This sounds easy, but it takes a lot of the skills described above to make this happen.

15. They are highly adaptable to change and technologically literate. They know the power of the internet, social media (especially LinkedIn) and computer technology and apps that help them communicate with customers. New tools will continue to impact the way we relate.

16. They understand collaboration and are never afraid to get help when and where they need it. Selling today is about team selling more than ever. You typically can’t win opportunities by yourself. You need help.

17. They are trustworthy and guided by integrity. They do what they say they are going to do, and they stand up for what is right. I believe that if you are honest and do the right thing, you will win business and be rewarded.

In the highly demanding business world of today, sales professionals are expected to be financially literate (e.g., know how to read a balance sheet and income statement) and to be industry experts, relationship builders and company collaborators. Their customers expect the rep to be their voice and to have that voice be respected. There is no limit to the variety of challenges, people and opportunities the sales profession offers, with both financial and professional awards beckoning.

I believe that selling is an honorable vocation and is attracting different and new talent because of the challenges, varied experience and rewards it offers. It’s important to me to keep evangelizing the caring nature of the role, the code of ethics it needs to abide by and the fact that it’s a profession that exists, primarily, to help people and organizations make good business decisions that will help their business thrive.

I would love to hear your viewpoint on the top selling hallmarks, please feel free to comment.

To read about other sales leadership topics or to increase your sales productivity check out my website .

Mark Welch


Street Savvy Sales Leadership

For individual sales or sales leadership coaching, workshops, contract work, or advising feel free to contact me by email