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Can a Sales Team Achieve Success Without a Manager Coach?

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02: The Chicago Cubs celebrate after winning 8-7 in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

I have been fortunate enough to live and work in a number of countries and have thoroughly enjoyed embracing the local culture. In 2016 I moved to Chicago to embark on my sales coaching career and little did I know what a historic year it would be …. not only for my career …. but for this great city.

After a 108-year drought, the Chicago Cubs (arguably one of America’s most well known baseball teams) had finally made it to the World Series final and, to the complete delight of my new neighbors, they won.

The organization’s owners had assembled a strong team of experienced, highly skilled professionals who were committed to achieving great success.

Sound familiar?

Am I describing the Chicago Cubs, or any sales organization across the country?

So the question I have asked many of my new Chicago friends since the Series win is:

“Could the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series without their Manager Coach Joe Maddon?”

And the overwhelming response is a resounding “No!”

Despite the talent of this formidable team, it is clear that the coaching and guidance of their Manager Coach Joe Maddon (who coincidentally is also one of the highest paid members of the team) was critical for their success as he:

Provided strategic direction / guidance and collaborated with his team to make corrections as needed.

Continually developed and refined his team’s skills to ensure they remain sharp and optimize their performance 

Consistently reviewed the agreed strategic activities to ensure they are being effectively implemented to a high standard and achieving the desired results.

The Sales Management Conundrum

So if it is clear that a highly skilled sports team still requires a coach to guide them to success, why do so many sales teams seemingly prefer to operate autonomously with little strategic guidance or coaching for their professionals?

The argument from many business leaders is that they hire experienced sales professionals who shouldn’t need coaching and that the Sales Manager is simply required to monitor performance and support the team’s efforts. In many instances the Sales Manager is also required to produce.

Year after year the business struggles to greatly exceed sales goals and the individual sales professionals simply engage in a variety of familiar activities – some reaching their sales targets whilst many do not.

It would appear in these instances that the sales team is comfortable achieving a mediocre result year over year rather than aspiring to win the World Series.

Of course the ramifications of that approach is that you may ultimately lose the experienced sales professionals and your more ambitious competitors will continue to gain more wins.

And this lack of strategic collaboration and coaching is certainly not unique to my new hometown. It is a sales management conundrum that is present across many businesses and banking institutions across the world.

What if Joe Maddon was the Manager Coach of your sales team?

For many businesses, it almost seems like a huge leap in logic (and investment) to encourage their Sales Manager to perform like a Manager Coach. There is a huge fear that they will lose production from their Sales Manager and/or inhibit their sales team. Yet when discussing sport it is abundantly obvious this is what the team requires to be successful.

Imagine what you could achieve with a dedicated Manager Coach who now has limited (to no) sales production responsibilities and invests their time to:

Provide strategic direction / guidance and collaborate with their team to make corrections as needed.

Continually develop and refine the team’s skills to ensure they remain sharp and optimize their performance

Consistently reviews the agreed strategic activities to ensure they are being effectively implemented to a high standard and achieving the desired results.

How would your experienced, autonomous sales team benefit from such a decision? Or better yet, how would your less experienced sales team benefit?

The answer is simple. They would benefit tremendously! And the greater growth potential would significantly offset any fears about upsetting the status quo.

Your sales team will now:

*Become more strategically collaborative and sales confident

*Be engaged in more focused strategic activity

*Consistently sharpen their sales skills and share best practices

*Become far more productive and effective

*Have more dynamic internal sales meetings (coaching sessions) with more engaging sales conversations

*Achieve far greater success …. and they may actually win their own World Series!

Now that’s something worth embracing and celebrating.

Article written by Joe Micallef – Sales Strategist & Coach – Grow UP Sales. For sales leadership coaching and guidance contact Joe at or visit the webpage