Team Building

5 Things We can Learn About Running Sales Teams From Nick Saban and The Alabama Crimson Tide.

I always like this time of the year. It allows you a glimpse into the minds and strategies of some of the most elite coaches in College and Professional Football . I listen to the way they handle events and their teams and I try to apply some of these ideas and strategies to Coaching Sales Teams. One of the most successful coaches in the college game today is Alabama’s Nick Saban. I have been a fan for years and I have drawn some conclusions from him that have helped me with coaching my sales team.

1.      Recruit Hard and Strategically– Recruit Hard for the player talent and recruit hard for your coaching talent. A team has a personality. Recruit for Team members not just for their skills but also for their ability to develop, work and thrive within this persona. The same is true for those coaching the sales team. Each sales team member and candidate has strengths. Recruit for what needs the team has in terms of strength needs . Recruit and hire with these needs in mind. Each sales coach has strengths and can help the team grow but the coach must be the right fit for the team personality. Each member of your Sales Team has strengths. If you are in need a particular strength to add to your sales team, recruit for it. The same is true for any sales coaches that you have and needs of your team in sales coaching . Alabama and most other teams contract with analysts to supplement their coaching talent . Sales Team Coaches can be supplemented by using consultants to fill needs for Sales Team improvement and development.

2.      Have a Play Book and Practice till Near Perfect– Continue to develop the Team play book-your Sales Team Handbook- Add new topics that come up and suggested ways to handle things or execute plays and product introductions. Practice Role Playing and Scenarios that might be encountered and practice ways to handle these scenarios. Perfection is the goal but you can always improve on performance. No matter how well the Tide does, Nick Saban is always dissecting the Tide’s performance so they can improve. This is how they consistently compete for Championships. The same needs to be done with your Sales Team and as the Coach, suggesting tweaks and changes to improve performance. The goal is perfection but it is the journey to achieve this that is most important.

3.      Know Your Competition – Keep up with what the opposing team and what competitors are saying and doing. Watch lots of game film. Our equivalent in sales is to listen to what the competition is saying to your customers and what your answers are to meet this competition. How can your team better satisfy the needs of the current market environment? Make sure you and your team really understands your SWOT Analysis. (Strengths , Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).

4.      Execute Your Plan But Be Ready to Make Changes On The Fly. They say a football game is two halves. Making changes on the fly is necessary during a game but major adjustments are done during half time. Making small changes during a sales visit can be made depending on what is experienced during the conversations based on answers to good questions. Major changes can be made after post call reviews of multiple customer and prospect conversations.

5.      Assess Performance Regularly and Change Strategy Depending on Your Current Team and Competition.. Alabama Coaches led by Nick Saban , watch lots of game film from last week’s game and other games the team played previously to determine where strengths are and how to maximize those strengths and how to minimize weak spots both offensively and defensively. Sales teams have many strengths and as coaches, we work to maximize these strengths of each of our team members. Our Goa is to communicate this message in the market place. All team members have some areas that they are not strong in. As a Sales coach, we need to minimize weak areas of our team members and match their strengths best with our message and mission to insure the success of the team and create opportunities for successful performances of all our team members.

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