How can sales managers help their teams be better negotiators? How can you develop internal coaches who can help their team members improve their sales and negotiation skills? Steve Benson—the Founder and CEO of Badger Maps—shares how you can empower your team to sharpen each other’s skills in this episode of Negotiations Ninja.
Outline of This Episode
- [1:52] Learn more about Steve
- [3:00] How can sales managers help their teams be better negotiators?
- [7:13] How can you determine who’s a great teacher?
- [9:14] Mastering the onboarding and training process
- [12:30] The characteristics of a good coach
- [14:42] Navigating the price conversation
- [18:41] Learn more about Badger Maps
- [20:29] Why Steve created Badger Maps
- [21:21] Badger Sales University
How can sales managers help their teams be better negotiators?
Because many sales teams are incentivized to get the topline number, they feel like they can offer significant discounts. But this narrows the margins the business makes. How do we train sales teams to get better at negotiations?
Firstly, Steve emphasizes that they need to be compensated to focus on good negotiation skills and keeping the margins high. Aligning reps’ comp plans with revenue is valuable and can be one way to combat giving too many discounts. This will get reps refocused on negotiation.
Secondly, sales managers have a deep level of insight into their sales team’s performance. They know the strengths and weaknesses of the individual members of that team. They can leverage those who are strong to improve the weaknesses in others.
How can you determine who’s a great teacher?
Your first step is to ask: Which skills determine whether or not someone is a success or a failure? Identify who is great and why they’re great. You can enable them to become the coach of the rest of the team. Allow them to become a leader and teach others.
Most salespeople aren’t trained to be coaches or teachers (like a sales manager should be). If they don’t know how to teach others, it’s your job to teach them how. Most everyone in sales has the capability within them that just needs to be unlocked.
Mastering the onboarding and training process
Is there something wrong with your hiring process if people aren’t learning the ropes quickly enough? If the answer is no, then you need to look at your onboarding process. It’s more often onboarding where organizations stumble. They’ll bring in a successful salesperson, but throw them in the deep end because they’re expected to “know” what to do. You need to build a sales playbook that they can learn from and give them access to resources.
If you’re a small sales organization, onboarding and training become the job of the sales leadership. You could also find someone on your team who excels with training and allocate a certain percentage of their work hours to training to get new people up and running.
Turning salespeople into coaches
Most salespeople have the necessary communication and people skills to train others. You’re also looking for someone with leadership skills. Steve notes that you have to keep in mind that a lot of great sales reps don’t want to be sales managers. It’s a different career path that’s compensated quite differently.
Likewise, you don’t want to take your highest performer and make them a trainer. But why not leverage their specific skills? You can have them teach a single workshop on whatever they’re proficient in that they excel at. You can do this across your team.
Resources & People Mentioned
Connect with Steve Benson
Connect With Mark
- Follow Negotiations Ninja on Twitter: @NegotiationPod
- Connect with Mark on LinkedIn
- Follow Negotiations Ninja on LinkedIn
- Connect on Instagram: @NegotiationPod