What we have seen is an adverse reaction to the traditional training of people in performance driven functions. Most of the sales training to date miss the mark. When you check in a few weeks after training, almost all of the knowledge is gone, and all that remains is a few tricks. At Winning By Design we have done extensive research to solve this.  Here are the nine key elements we have discovered needed to drive up performance by your teams.  Each individual piece is known, but what was missing was how to put these eight elements together. The end result it has improved recollection of knowledge and raised seller confidence, but most of all, it delivered real business impact!  


We discovered that the 70/20/10 learning and development model has stood the test of time. This model refers to a proportional breakdown of how people learn effectively:

  • Only 10% of the time should be spent in a classroom style training.
  • 20% of the time needs to be spent on 2-way coaching and mentoring.


  • 70% of the coaching must be done “on the job.” Today, this is amplified by learning in a team environment where your peers contribute.

As a recent sales leader shared with me, he went into management because he wanted to build, coach and motivate a team. However, every month some sales operational issue stole time away from him doing just that. And now all that was left was a few operational interactions with his team based on performance. There was little time to spend on coaching, training, or even a simple activity, like having dinner as a team.  


The role of a trainer/coach has radically changed. Previously, the trainer was the bearer of all the knowledge. Today, the trainer is a person who enables the learning process and less of a person who truly masters the topic. To master the topic, the entire team must come together and learn as a team. The video by Simon Sinek, Why Leaders Eat Last provides great insights needed for a modern leadership/coaching culture. It is based on the science of four chemicals.

Makes you feel good so you can perform work. “Runner’s high.” Masks physical pain. Gives us consistent endurance. Positive feeling, drive.  Makes you feel happy when you achieve something. Feeling of recognition, pride, and status, Gives confidence, and reinforces social structure and compassion for others.   Feeling of love and trust, the warm and fuzzy feeling that someone has your back. Act of generosity  based on time and effort.
Makes you work hard. Makes you goal driven. Awards. Sense of pride, allegiance, and cohesion. Sacrifice time and energy to help your peers.
Have people perform and work at their own pace.  Help them perform as a team. Let them practice with each other. Help them coach each other. Motivate people to achieve goals. Help them go after it. Check things off a “to-do list.” Demonstrate progress. Will elevate team performance: Combined with $, this is addictive. Talk to them and share your thoughts, instead of an email. Be accountable for mistakes made. Lead by example. Show up.  Contagious, spreads from one person to another. Let team members feel like they make a difference. Sit down next to them to help them. Make a call for them. Incentivize coaching with experiences. This is Infectious, it spreads.

Selfish, historic approach; Train

Do the work, Work hard, Achieve the goal, Get Paid.

Selfless, modern approach; Coach

Lead by Example, Give time, Sacrifice, Share.


The historic coaching model was based on a lack of information, where the teacher/coach had all the knowledge and information and disseminated that during class. Today, the information is on the internet, and the primary role of the coach is to guide the process. Below are eight  different coaching models:

Learn the content together. Explain the key concepts of the exercise and what we are trying to achieve.

Role-play as a team, coach participates. The key is to learn how to “figure it out together.”

Let the team members coach each other. but ensure they stay within the framework.

Practice by role-playing without a coach. Let your best performer coach a session until the skill is mastered by the team.


One of the team has to study the science behind the approach and report back with a summary of the findings. Simulate by listening to call recordings of others, use a google form to report findings and review with a peer/coach. Mentor in a 1-1 situation an area of weakness, make small adjustments. Aim to improve only one skill each time. Buddy up and coach on a call, while on the call do not overwhelm, instead use the WBD coaching cards.

The first four coaching approaches are focused on a group, whereas the remaining four coaching approaches are based on 1-on-1 work.


A certain rigor is needed that helps the team: Every month a topic, every week a task, that can be practiced every day in real-time.

STEP 1. MONTHLY: Pick a monthly topic you will focus on

  • Month 1: Diagnosing a client (ask questions, diagnose on value prop 1, 2, 3)
  • Month 2: Prescribing our solution (Pitch, Demo, Storytelling)

STEP 2. WEEKLY: Divide it into 4 tasks across 4 weeks

  • Week 1: How to ask open/closed and situation/pain questions
  • Week 2: How to diagnose against value proposition 1 – scalability
  • Week 3: How to diagnose against value proposition 2 – simpler
  • Week 4: How to diagnose against value proposition 2 – grow faster

STEP 3. DAILY: Integrate into a daily schedule, 70% of the coaching plan happens during regular performance.




We have come to invest heavily into quality printed material that explains visually what we are trying to accomplish and how. The ability to visualize a concept, touch it, and discuss it while pointing to it has been found to be critical in the learning process. Due to our affinity with the educational world, we have come to find that textbooks with exercises are a critical part of the learning process of complex matters.




A recent article in the NY Times titled Laptops are great.  But not during a meeting or lecture – describes the impact laptops have on a group of learners. In short – if someone checks their phone it makes others want to check their phone, and if someone checks email it makes others want to check email too. In other words electronics are highly disruptive. However it has also been proven that if you see someone else taking notes, you want to take notes. Thus it can not be a surprise that we strongly recommend to take notes using pen and paper (or ipad with digital notes as it lays flat on the table).


We often get asked to provide a digital copy of the learning material, in an effort to save money.  However, we see a significant discrepancy with those who learn via digital media vs. those who learn from physical print. Anecdotally electronic material gets quickly lost among the huge amount of electronic information a person communicates each day, whereas a book sits on a desk ready to be accessed during a call.  

Recently empirical research was published on the difference in reading paper and print. In short: Students overwhelming preferred to read digitally, and it is easy to see why online reading is significantly faster. Paradoxically, overall comprehension was better for print versus digital reading, the comprehension on general questions: like understanding the main idea of the text, the medium doesn’t matter. But when it came to specific questions, comprehension was significantly better when participants read printed texts. However, students themselves judge their comprehension as better online than in print.


I’ll be honest, we had high hopes for gamification; it just never turned into a reality – with one exception: team play. The key to gamification is to do it during a call review for example. As a team, we dissect a client call and how the salesperson performed. In this 30-min call review, you have to play Bingo. Each person in the room is now checking off to see if the best practices were installed. The team at WBD has been working with many of the call analysis companies to implement this electronically.




For your team to become productive, you actually have to be involved. It cannot be just an external firm that comes in and does it for you. This needs to become the DNA of your company. The good news is that you do not have to do it all by yourself, your team needs to roll up their sleeves, too. I encourage you to watch the TED video by Drew Dudley about Everyday Leadership.  

With every session performed, you will notice one or two people who truly get the idea of the session; those are your coaches for that session. Being a coach does not require you to be in a leadership position. Look around and you will be surprised how many coaches can be found all around you.

Author Press Team

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