In previous articles, we looked at the need for strong sales coaches and the keys for effective coaching and the areas where sales managers should focus their coaching. It’s time that we introduce a framework that ties all of that research together: the CRUSH method.
The CRUSH method is a research-backed blueprint for achieving goals and building a high-performance mindset in a sales team. Based on the science of peak performance, the CRUSH method draws on lessons from world-class athletes and elite performers to show you how to level up.
It’s well established that sales teams need strong leadership in order to learn, grow, perform and hit goals. Coaching is the critical key to this leadership. While proficient sales training certainly can fill gaps in knowledge or skill, it takes continuous and personalized coaching to bring sales reps over the finish line. The CRUSH method is a simple but effective framework for sales leaders to base their coaching on. Let’s dig into how it can work for your organization.
We know from goal-setting theory that setting challenging, specific goals leads to improved performance, because human beings are goal-directed organisms. The very act of setting difficult goals leads to focused attention, encourages effort and maintains persistence. As such, it’s critical that sales leaders work collaboratively with their team members to identify and set challenging and specific goals.
The sales manager should provide a catalyst — a spark, such as a big moment, idea, event or goal — that lights a fire in salesperson’s belly. Once team members feel the heat, they will display an intense motivation to go after that goal. The coach then must provide a clear path forward on how to achieve it.
Give them a catalyst. Give them a goal. Give them a plan. They will be hooked and ready to hit it!
Confidence and optimism are vital to salespeople’s success. They must have firm resolution in their ability to succeed. How can a sales leader cultivate this resolution in their sales team? There are several important strategies:
Start at the Start
Make confidence-building activities and coaching a priority from day 1. Before you go into training on job-specific tasks or knowledge, ensure that you pay attention to boosting the self-efficacy of each member of the sales team.
Make It Continuous
Never assume that a confident salesperson will remain that way. There should be a continual loop of resolution-building activities and coaching. Make a point to implement these activities on at least a monthly basis.
The next critical part of successful sales coaching is providing plentiful opportunities for salespeople to develop all the skills and expertise required to excel in their roles. At this point in the CRUSH method, the sales leader has provided a catalyst and a spark for a specific goal and focused on building confidence and deep resolution. Those aspects are behavioral and transformative; now, the leader’s focus must be on the actual learning and training.
One highly regarded approach is to train on both the art and the science of the sale. In short, this approach boils down to providing sales team members with training on the emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills necessary for selling, as well as the more technical aspects, such as product knowledge or critical job tasks.
To be effective, any training program must involve deliberate practice in addition to the initial learning. This type of practice involves activities specifically designed to improve a salesperson’s current level of performance. One effective tactic for deliberate practice is for the coach to engage in role-plays and case study exercises with each sales team member. This approach can allow for behavior modeling, as each salesperson can observe and discuss examples of effective and ineffective performance.
It is critical for the sales force to develop and display resilience. There will be many ups and downs as they pursue their goals, and having the stamina to succeed is vital. Sales leaders must continuously provide coaching on coping mechanisms and allow for a flow of feedback.
Likewise, individualized coaching is crucial; personal sessions can lead to paramount gains in trust and deep conversations on how to become more resilient. In team coaching sessions, powerful and inspiring messages can lead to increased group stamina, which is a key indicator of high-performing teams.
The cycle of success must become ingrained in each sales team member. Rather than becoming complacent, salespeople must constantly and fluidly set new, larger goals and crush them. There are several ways in which sales leaders can instill habits into their team:
Recognize Failure and Celebrate Success
Post-mortems and case studies are excellent avenues for exploring mistakes and failures. Rather than focusing too much on what went wrong, coaches should focus on lessons learned. This tactic can lead to a culture of constant improvement, which is vital for forming a habit of peak performance.
Likewise, celebrating successes is a simple but effective way of instilling a winning attitude. Recognizing wins can feed egos and create a competitive culture.
Provide More Deliberate Practice
One of the benefits of deliberate practice, aside from competence, is a mindset of continuous improvement. As the sales force becomes used to the deliberate practice model, its members will understand that continuously improved performance is expected and necessary. They then are personally compelled to constantly set new goals, and obtain increasingly higher levels of performance. Sales leaders, then, should constantly provide opportunities for deliberate practice.
You now have been armed with a simple and powerful framework for improving the performance of your sales team. Try adding a few — or all — aspects of the CRUSH method to your sales coaching and training program, and then share your experiences with the training community. Let’s all crush it, together!