"Feedback is having it's moment," Mark Newman explains in his article "Feedback Without Coaching is Like Peanut Butter Without Jelly." "Everyone wants more frequent feedback and they are willing to take the good with the bad." But this is missing the big picture, he explains. There is an important semantic distinction that needs to be made between feedback and coaching- and in practice, they need to be combined.

Feedback looks backward, it is a reflection on events that transpired in the past. Feedback "includes a manager reviewing a performance or behavior, judging it, and offering either praise or constructive criticism on what could have been different." Feedback is less about development, and more about prevention: analyzing what went wrong so the same mistakes are not made again. Feedback is informational rather than inspirational. The employee is the focus of feedback.

Coaching is the flip side of feedback. It looks toward the future and involves "prescriptive advice on how to specifically strengthen the performance of a skill or task." Coaching is tied to the skill, while feedback is tied to the individual. Since it is skill-based, coaching opportunities are created as a result of an employee's desire to grow- not as a repercussion for what they did wrong.

As feedback becomes more prevalent in the workplace, it is important that it is coupled with coaching so as to promote the most productive environment for growth.

Find Mark: Twitter

2. 6 Sales Performance Metrics That Matter Most for an Inside Sales Team

When it comes to managing a burgeoning sales team, it is easy to get overloaded with performance metrics. Liz Fulham provides six performance metrics you should definitely be tracking in 2017 if you want to bolster your team's productivity.

  1. Number of Calls Per Day vs Talk Time. "Sales reps should have a talk time target to track the amount of time they spent talking to decision makers, as opposed to gatekeepers," Fulham explains. A good target talk time is 2-3 hours per day.
  2. Percentage of Calls at Each Sales Cycle. A good sales pipeline progression is equally distributed across the pipeline. Reps who spend the majority of their time making first contact likely have poor progression and a low conversion rate.
  3. Conversion Rate. Know what is standard for your industry, and hold reps to that standard.
  4. Close Lost Rate. Even if a rep has a high conversion rate, they could be losing sales at the last minute- in which case your organization is missing out on valuable sales. If a sales rep is burning leads, put out the fire as soon as possible.
  5. Average Value of Merchant Won. While the number of sales is important, the number of big sales is more important.
  6. Performance Against Target.

Evaluating these six metrics through the year will provide valuable insight where it matters most, and a framework around which to set more attainable goals.

Find Liz: LinkedIn

3. 10 Social Media Predictions for 2017 (and where you should be spending your time)

In Nicolas Cole’s article "10 Social Media Predictions for 2017", he outlines 10 social media trends that look to come into their own in 2017. Since 78% of salespeople who use social media outsell their peers, it is more important than ever for reps to stay on top of their social media game.

  1. Big brands are going to start feeling the heat by using video better.
  2. Your FB feed is about to be ruined by banner-branded videos.
  3. Brands will spend more on social media advertising, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be any more effective.
  4. Instagram and Snapchat will begin to separate into different spaces.
  5. Twitter is going to find its pivot- it will either capitalize on its unique offerings or get bought out.
  6. LinkedIn will become a power player by end of 2017. This one is of particular importance to salespeople. LinkedIn is one of the best sources of B2B leads out there, yet their atrocious UI keeps many from coming on board. If LinkedIn grows, so will your pipeline.
  7. Collaborations will become a core part of every content strategy.
  8. The true value of amazing copyrighting will reveal itself.
  9. Influencer marketing spends are going to go up.
  10. Mobile everything. "If it's not optimized for mobile, you're doomed from the start," Cole says.

Find Nicolas: Twitter

4. Don't Set Too Many Goals For Yourself

In today’s world there is an overload of information that is present. Everything is presented to us, or readily available and we lack focus. In Dorie Clark’s article, “Don’t Set Too Many Goals For Yourself” Clark talks about how “in order to accomplish our most meaningful goals, we need to fight back against two dangerous impulses: hewing too closely to a fixed plan and attempting to do too much at once.”

Clark writes that even though it is thought that the best way to make goals is to make plans for the year and work towards them, in reality the best way is to work at them quarterly. She writes, “Rather than engaging in the typical annual ritual of strategic planning, the best companies instead did their planning on a quarterly basis.” Speed and flexibility are some of the greatest elements of the best businesses.

“You may discover that a goal that once seemed desirable — such as getting in shape by playing racquetball regularly with a friend — may be a terrible idea as I learned firsthand when I became sleep-deprived and unproductive thanks to our early morning games.”

We have many competing priorities, which makes sense more important tasks but time consuming ones are pushed to the backburner. What Clark does is set three month goals, and she only has two main goals per cycle.  Things can count towards your support of a goal, but they don’t all need to be their own separate goal.

“The point of goals, of course, isn’t to successfully complete tasks we blindly set ourselves to years ago. Nor is it to maximize our accomplishment of small bore trivialities. Instead, what counts is our ability to master the right kind of big goals — the ones that can change your life, like positioning yourself for a promotion to the C-suite or writing a book or launching an entrepreneurial venture.”

These lessons are particularly important for setting sales goals. Focus on improving one skill at a time, be it objection handling or time management, and do not compromise the big picture in pursuit of many small objectives.

Find Dorie: Twitter LinkedIn

5. How to Think About Building Your Legacy

In this article, author Kimberly Wade-Zamboni talks about how important it is for leaders to leave a legacy behind when they’re gone.

Zamboni said, “As a leader, leaving a great legacy is arguably the most powerful thing you can do in your career and life because it enables you to have influence well into the future – even after you are out of the picture yourself. It’s key to optimizing your impact on your organization and its people.”

To first build a legacy, one needs to focus on their legacies. What inspired you about those people you look up to? This is thinking about what the generation before thought. This also helps your realize what really matters to you.

Another way to think about leaving a legacy behind is to think of it as investing in people no matter what. Consider the possibility. Think of the responsibility that comes with trying to leave a legacy. Another reason to help you start on your legacy is, of course, to remind you that someday you will die.

One thing to remember in sales is that generally everyone can leave a legacy. Everyone will. No matter what your position in the company. Ask yourself, what kind of legacy am I leaving?

Find Kimberly: LinkedIn

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