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Called to Coach
How to Coach Using the CliftonStrengths for Sales Report
Called to Coach

How to Coach Using the CliftonStrengths for Sales Report

Webcast Details

  • What is the thinking behind the CliftonStrengths for Sales report?
  • How can coaches leverage the tactical nature of the Sales report?
  • How does the Sales Report relate to the Full 34 report and other CliftonStrengths products?

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 10, Episode 26.

Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.

Salespeople face a mountain of daily challenges: generating leads, making appointments with potential buyers, closing a sale. Add to this the fact that "the sales landscape has changed dramatically" over the past few years. But what if salespeople could aim their unique CliftonStrengths at the challenges of their role? The CliftonStrengths for Sales report can help them and their coaches do just that. Discover the tactical nature of the Sales report and how you can use it as you coach salespeople -- including how it fits with other CliftonStrengths products such as the Full 34 report. Join Austin Suellentrop, CliftonStrengths Portfolio Manager at Gallup, as he shares some practical insights that will empower your coaching.

Every piece of content in this report is written through the lens of a salesperson.

Austin Suellentrop, 7:55

It's designed to help [salespeople] get tactical and practical in their daily life, in their role at work, and really get tangible with that.

Austin Suellentrop,11:27

This Sales report is not designed to replace the 34. The 34 is going to be the best way to introduce and teach them about strengths.

Austin Suellentrop, 17:57

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on June 15, 2022.

Meet Our Guest on This Episode

Jim Collison 0:19
Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, we'd love to have your questions in the YouTube chat. Or if you're listening to the podcast or the video after the fact, you can send us an email: coaching@gallup.com. Don't forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast app or right there on YouTube so you never miss an episode. Austin Suellentrop is our host today. Austin is the CliftonStrengths Portfolio Manager here at Gallup. And Austin, always a privilege to be back with you. Welcome back to Called to Coach!

Austin Suellentrop 0:57
Thank you, Jim. It's one of the, one of the highlights of my day, highlights of my week and month every time I'm able to be here with you. So thanks for having me.

The CliftonStrengths for Sales Report

Jim Collison 1:04
That's always good to hear. That's very engaging. Speaking of engaging, we've got a new report that we have dropped out there. And today we're here to talk a little bit about it. Why don't you give us a quick overview before we dive in for some, with some coaching materials?

Austin Suellentrop 1:16
Yeah, absolutely. So 2 weeks ago today, right, June 1 of this year, we launched our latest role-based report for CliftonStrengths, which was our CliftonStrengths for Sales report, which is designed to be a tactical tool to help sort of bring CliftonStrengths into the practical sort of everyday life of a salesperson and help give them some insights around how it helps them in their role, how a certain theme may hinder them or get in their way in a role, and some recommended action items around things that can go do to improve their effectiveness as a salesperson. And then it wraps together at the end with a really great tool to help them apply and Aim their, their Top 10 themes at a specific goal they're working towards. So it's the second in our series of role-based reports; we launched the CliftonStrengths for Managers report last year, in 2021. This is the second one. And we're excited that it's out there. We're starting to get some great feedback around both the content and the applicability of the tool. So today, I'm excited to share with you a little bit of our thinking around how it fits into coaching conversations and what we, what we intended when we built it, in terms of how you can leverage it in coaching conversations. But then also engaging in questions that you may have and ways you may, you may be curious about things. So looking forward to it.

Jim Collison 2:32
Austin, do you want to quick get just that overview -- if folks want to acquire it, how do they get -- if they have Top 5 or 34, how do they acquire it?

Austin Suellentrop 2:39
Absolutely. So right now, the CliftonStrengths for Sales report is available for purchase online on our, on our Gallup store. It is a code just like any other code we sell. So any other report, you would buy -- a Top 5, a 34, an upgrade, whatever it may be -- you purchase the code, you redeem the code and you gain access to that. It is regardless of whether you have completed the assessment before or not. So it is available to anybody who has their 34 already. Maybe, maybe you have your Top 5 already. If you have not completed the assessment, right, you get this, you buy this report, and you're, you're invited to take the assessment, right. So you are not expected to retake the assessment if you get this. I think it's a big point of clarification I always like to drive. We have one assessment, right. The CliftonStrengths assessment is the assessment. All of these tools we're talking about are different outputs. They're different reports that come out of that assessment, right. So we don't have a different CliftonStrengths for Sales assessment. No, it's the same assessment. What we're providing is different ways to apply your strengths to this role.

Jim Collison 3:46
Oftentimes, our coaches ask, our Certified Coaches ask, Can they apply their discount to that? And is that applicable?

Austin Suellentrop 3:51
Absolutely. Certified Coach discount does apply to this. So the promo code you have available for use on the online store can get you your discounted $10 off retail price when purchasing this -- $10 U.S. off retail price.

How the CliftonStrengths for Sales Report Fits

Jim Collison 4:05
Awesome. Well, that kind of covers -- we've done some, a bunch of launch sessions on this. And there's lots more details around that today. We wanted to specifically chat to our coaches and give them some resources, kind of think through that. Austin, where do we want to go with that?

Austin Suellentrop 4:19
Yeah, so I want to start with, you know, the conversation today really, when we were building these, this report, when we're building a role-based report, how do we see it fitting? Understanding that this is going to be sort of, I guess, the general best practice but not by any means the only way. Right? You all as coaches and as practitioners out there are going to have your own unique ways you leverage these tools in this report. And we're excited to learn from you how you're doing that, so we can broaden our, our sort of toolkit of best practices as well. But we did publish a resource, right, on our, and it's available out there right now for all of our Certified Coaches on the Certified Coach Resource page, which is, again, like a fantastic one-stop shop for all the best, the best things we've put out there. And it's a PDF around how to coach using the CliftonStrengths for Sales report. And Jim's walking, as you know, very sly in the background, pulling up the page to sort of show you where it is. So if you go in there, and you go into the Ultimate Guide for Certified Strengths Coaches, Jim, walk us through where you find it and how they can see it.

Jim Collison 5:24
Yeah, a lot, a lot of, I've gotten a lot of comments on this. So head down to Section 4: Popular Coaching Products. And you got to scroll down a few products here; you'll see -- by the way, here's a reminder, your Coaching Guide for the Manager report, if you didn't get a hold of that. This green button right there, some folks missed that. And then you can click the Download -- here we are -- for the Sales report. Download the Coaching Guide; it's going to ask me to save it because it's a PDF. And then as soon as I have that available, we can open that, and I'll show that to you, and there we go.

Austin Suellentrop 5:54
Yep. Great. So it's a 2-page PDF, right. And what we've done is I've tried to help outline sort of, you know, if you've gone through the training with Gallup, or with us, to become a Certified Strengths Coach, we outline 4 Conversations. And the 4 Conversations, obviously, they don't have to take place as separate discussions; they're more chapters, if you will, in conversations. And how does this report, and how does a conversation with a salesperson sort of connect to these 4 Conversations? So that's what I want to, want to spend some time with today is walking through how this report fits into this around the, establishing relationship, helping them understand their strengths profile, and then how can they appreciate how their strengths are helping them in this role? But then ultimately, what's their plan forward to invest in their talents, right?

Austin Suellentrop 6:44
So a lot of what I'm gonna talk about today is captured here in this guide, and you'll, hopefully, we'll be able to sort of see this as the outline, if you will. But I'm not going to share the screen the whole time and walk you through line by line; I mean, I'm gonna more just speak to it and be able to sort of share some, some experiences around this. So I think the first thing, when you're, when we think about any role-based report we create, is making sure we understand what it's designed to do and what it's not designed to do. Right. So what is, what is this CliftonStrengths for Sales report designed to do? It's designed to be tactical. So it's most sort of going to be most effective in use in a couple of, I think, specific applications. One, if the, if you're working and you're coaching somebody who is at the point in their strengths awareness where they're trying to figure out, all right, I understand my strengths. I understand this concept of strengths. But I need, I need ideas on what to do day-in, day-out. How do I embed strengths into my routine, into my daily life? This is going to be a really tremendous tool for people at that stage in their strengths awareness.

Austin Suellentrop 7:53
Why do I say that? Because every piece of content in this report is written through the lens of a salesperson. And so if they have the understanding, even a sort of a cursory beginning introduction to strengths, and they say, OK, I know what Activator is, and I see Activator, you know, yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm sort of go, go, go. I like to do rather than talk. You know, I get impatient sometimes, like, if they have that kind of baseline understanding, what this is going to do is to help them take that baseline understanding and be able to maybe turn the lens to see, well, how is that already helping you as a salesperson, with or without you intentionally doing anything? Where are some of your successes coming from with that? What how is that talent helping drive it?

Austin Suellentrop 8:46
So if you've got somebody that you're coaching, you have a relationship with them, this tool is really effective at picking up sort of and taking the next step in embedding their thinking about strengths from just being a idiosyncrasy sort of personality trait piece to a practical, tactical piece of their day-to-day life. That's one way.

Austin Suellentrop 9:11
The second way is if you are introducing somebody to strengths, and especially when we're working with salespeople in a team setting, OK, one of the things we have observed and experienced for decades really working with strengths is oftentimes when strengths is introduced in a team setting -- so you're working with a sales team, which is a common group to bring in outside facilitators or coaches or whatever it may be to help them with, you know, sales, with sales development or with, you know, team workshops and off-sites and conferences, whatever the setting may be. Oftentimes, things like strengths get bucketed into -- I'm gonna use, if you're listening, you can't see the, I'll explain the air quotes of this is going to be a "fun team-building thing," right? And what that, what that does is that positions strengths oftentimes in this sort of soft, feel-good, emotional place, which, as somebody with high Empathy and high Belief, I think there's value there. And I think it's great. And I think it can, it can lay fantastic groundwork. But oftentimes salespeople are looking to pivot from just that stuff. If they want to just go have fun, they can just go have fun,

Austin Suellentrop 10:27
They're looking to get better, and to get better, more sales, more efficient with their, with their calling, to get, to close more deals, to drive more revenue so that they can get more money in their pocket. So this report helps pivot and position strengths, not just as that feel-good, team-building thing, but really as a, as a performance tool. That you're able to introduce strengths through the lens of, Here's how it helps you do better at sales. And so in the, if you sort of step back and think about everything we offer, we have a Top, the Top 5 introduction, we have the Full 34 report, and then we have the different role-based reports, this one being the Sales report. This report is not designed, what it's not designed to do is replace the Top 5 or the 34. It's not designed to be the premier personal development tool that the 34 report is. It's designed to help get tactical and practical in their daily life, in their role at work, and really get tangible with that. Right. So I wanted to start off with that differentiation, to make sure we're clear about the, sort of what we were thinking when we designed it, when we created it when we vetted and tested all the content, that we were really thinking about this as being that, for a lot of salespeople and sales teams, being that thing that can help them sort of transform from the "Oh, this is fun. I get this. I know each other better" to, "Let's drive better, let's drive more sales results." Let's drive, like, the goal orientation is very focused on outcomes.

Is the Sales Report Standardized or Individualized?

Jim Collison 12:11
Austin, let me bring a question. I think we get this just about every time we talk about these reports. Those statements, standardized or individualized? Can you address that? Because some folks may have missed the launch.

Austin Suellentrop 12:22
Yeah, absolutely. So all the content in the CliftonStrengths for Sales report is what we call standard content, meaning if you have Achiever, your 2 pages for Achiever will match everybody else's 2 pages for Achiever, OK. Why? Why did we do that? That's, that's the obvious follow-up question. Well, there's a couple of reasons. One is that because it is written through the lens of a specific role, the feedback we get on this content is oftentimes it feels personalized, because you're talking about a theme through the lens of a common application. So people read it, and they go, Wow, that really is relevant! That really is me. It's pretty spot-on, because we've narrowed the universe of that theme from any application, any setting, any kind of usage, to a sales application, so people can feel more connected to the content. So the extra lift of writing personalized statements doesn't provide as much upside benefit initially, because there's enough sort of value in just having that sort of common role application.

Austin Suellentrop 13:30
And the second is, is literally the content lift it would take. So we have prioritized globalization of these reports over individualization of these reports. So by writing standard content, we are able to translate it and get it into 10 languages quicker. If we were to do full-blown personalized insight statements, like we do from the 34 report for these, that would require us to stay with English only for a longer period of time before we're able to translate it. So right now, I was actually in a conversation yesterday with some partners. We get the translations back from our translations partner in the next couple of weeks, and then we'll begin the review process of those translations on the Sales report. So by the end of the summer, we'll have it available in all of the languages that our 34 report is available in, as well as Polish is a new language we're adding for this Sales report. So that's, that's a little bit of the thinking and the reasoning behind that.

Jim Collison 14:25
So Lisa writes a clarification question. She just says, To clarify, so Achiever in the C, the CliftonStrengths for -- 4S --

Austin Suellentrop 14:34
Lisa has now created a new, a new abbreviation for us: it's CS4S. So I'm gonna steal that.

Jim Collison 14:39
for Sales. There we go; for Sales -- although that could be confused with "Students," so that's probably not a great way to write it -- will be written differently than in the Manager report, for example? Or is it standard for the theme overall?

Austin Suellentrop 14:51
The theme definition is the same; the definition does not change. But the bullet points around Helps and Hinders and things along those lines, all the shaded blocks of content, that is what's unique. So Achiever is Achiever. People with Achiever have stamina. They like to get things done, you know, the standard definition will not change. But what changes are those bullet points pieces of content,

Jim Collison 15:14
OK, sounds, sounds good. What else, what else do we want to dig in on this, Austin?

Practical Uses of the Sales Report in Your Coaching

Austin Suellentrop 15:19
So when we, you know, I want to get into some, some sort of practical ways I see this report fitting in to those coaching conversations and into the coaching sort of relationship. When I think about the coaching discussion with the salesperson, and understanding, What are they trying to get done? Right. So we, I mentioned, we outline the sort of the 4 Conversations. The first one is really about establishing a relationship. And so establishing a relationship with a salesperson, I think this is where we have the opportunity to ground their success as a salesperson in understanding why they do, like, why are they in sales? What about sales do they love? What about sales drives them crazy? We have the Love-Crazy-Envy thing we've, that we've used over the past, different frameworks of being able to understand that right now, the sales landscape has changed dramatically. It is a different way to sell now than ever before.

Austin Suellentrop 16:28
Wrote an article when we launched this, the report a couple weeks ago talking about the different environments in which salespeople now have to sell and the different relationship ways that salespeople now have to build initial relationships with people. And so for you as a coach, coaching a person in sales, getting early on into understanding what got them into sales, why they love it, what's happening now that is either getting them excited or getting them concerned or frustrated, and being able to ground the conversation in a context of that -- the context of like, what's their calling in sales? Are they driven by the win? Are they in sales because it's a tangible way to measure their performance every day?

Austin Suellentrop 17:12
I'll tell you, I used to be a salesperson. I was in sales, I was very much a relational salesperson, right? I very much love the long-term relationship, getting to know people. And I loved it because I got the chance to talk to people and help them every day. Best salesperson on my team, my teammate, totally different approach to sales. The ability to, she was driven very much by the stack ranking and understand, and being at the top of the leaderboard. I never once cared if I was at the top of the leaderboard; wasn't something that, that drove me. So early on, being able to ground your relationship with a salesperson into why are they in sales, what drives them? Right. And that I would initially begin that conversation when you're first introducing strengths to them.

Austin Suellentrop 17:57
Again, this Sales report is not designed to replace the 34. The 34 is going to be the best way to introduce and teach them about strengths. Right? But that when we get to the understanding of their strengths profile, when we get to that second part of the conversation, which is really helping them sort of unpack, like what's going on here? What are the, what are these strengths? How do they show up? This is where you can help position strengths through the lens of their role as, Well, when you say you love this about sales; you say you love the thrill of the win. What do you see here that helps, helps sort of connect that to you? Right, and being able to draw them in to talk through, to talk through the different themes, the connections they may see as to what they've already told you. Right? Strengths should be brought in after that initial conversation, not as sort of the entry point always into the understanding why they love their role, right? And that this is again going to help hopefully be able to be a tool to, to bring out some of those connections that they can see that they can appreciate, you know, how this certain theme may help them. It's a tremendous way to overcome theme bias in that sense, right?

Austin Suellentrop 19:13
So if you have somebody who you've been introduced, who has been introduced to a workshop or a coaching conversation already, and they haven't embraced one of their strengths, right, maybe they've, they've got some, some bias around things like Harmony the classic one, right? Well, I, you know, How does that help me as a salesperson? Well, it's tremendous to be able to overcome conflict in the conversation; it's tremendous to be able to build consensus when making big decisions. And helping show them how that can be a benefit to them in their in their sales role. Jim, you want to hop in and say something?

Jim Collison 19:47
Yeah, Austin, as you're, as we, there's some suggestions on tools in here and Talents in Action form and then First Impression Discussion Guide. Could, could this also be part of an onboarding program, as we think about onboarding sales folks? Could, could it be introduced at that time? Do you see it being useful in that, in that case?

Austin Suellentrop 20:06
Absolutely. We've got a couple of clients who are already, who had already built some similar kinds of programs, to be able to, to be able to sort of, I guess, "onboard" is a good way of putting it -- to be able to introduce their new sales teams, their new salespeople to strengths, into how they do business. And I love, I love it in that sense. I think that, again, what this, what this report would offer differently than our existing reports, like the 34 or the, or a standard sort of Top 5, what it's going to offer is it's going to offer more direct advice and more direct guidance on, Go do this, go try this. So it's going to kickstart some of the action orientation a little bit quicker. Whereas if you're thinking about sort of that kind of application, and you're using the 34 report, you have action items in the 34 report, without a doubt. But they're general generic action items, applicable in any situation. These are going to be much more sales focused. So it's going to be a, a, I think, a quicker start, but also potential sort of longer list to work through.

Jim Collison 21:17
One of the things I noticed, we, we got access to it a couple of weekends ago, I started reading. And, you know, most of the reports I've gone through, you kind of read through 'em -- Oh, yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, even the Manager report, a lot of it made sense. This one, the Sales report was pretty, like, I read through, and I'm like, Oh, I got some work to do. Like, I set it aside, because I'm like, OK, I'm gonna, I'm gonna need to spend some, some time really working through this personally. And I guess I encourage the coaches, don't approach this report like yeah, yeah, yeah -- it's another report. I can just kick it out; it's going to be fine. As an influencer, as a salesperson (I think we all sell something), it's got some really good content in there that I need to work through.

Austin Suellentrop 21:56
Well, and Jim, I think you hit the nail on the head with something here, which is, we have so much content out there on strengths and management. And that the real value of the CliftonStrengths for Managers report was the pers -- like was having it in the convenience of one place. Right? It was the greatest hits album, like I said. We don't have near as much content out there for strengths and sales. And so there is going to be, I think, a lot more Aha! moments from this report for a lot of people than there were with the Manager report. Because the Manager report was more of a consolidation and a refresh on our greatest thinking. This is much more around new insights, new perspectives that we've never really published before, which we get really excited. I do see some questions.

Austin Suellentrop 22:43
I want to address one thing real quickly, some questions in the chat room. Anytime we publish a sample report, I want to be really clear, we put Don Clifton's name on it because those are Don's results. OK? So we use Don's profile as our sample profile. The date 12/30/1999 was cause that was the first date that we started publishing results out of the online assessment tool, OK, for taking strengths online, like, that's sort of the end of the, of the millennium, if you will. Like we went to StrengthsFinder 2 online in that era. So that's just the end of 2, end of 1999, pivoting to the new, to the new millennium with Don's results there. So just want to make sure we're, we're clear as to why we use that. So I, I hope that as we think about using this tool in coaching that, you know, we're, as we sort of keep the discussion going, I'm going to reiterate a couple key points. We're not replacing the 34; we're using this when we have the opportunity to get tactical with people, right. That's really the intent here.

(Top) 10 Talent Themes, 4 Tangible Action Items Per Theme

Austin Suellentrop 23:44
So as we pivot from the introductory piece and more of the potential teaching piece that can come with some of this coaching conversation of helping them understand what they're looking at, where this tool is going to live and succeed the most is in the second half of these conversations, sort of the second half of the coaching relationship, which is much more about OK, so what do I do with this? What, like, what do I do with my strengths? How do I make this helpful? And that's where the, the buckets of content and how they're designed, how the report is designed to flow, right -- that you have 4 action items for each theme. Our goal is not that every person who gets this report goes out and does 40 things.

Austin Suellentrop 24:29
There's 10, there's 10 themes in the report; there's 4 action items per theme. We do not expect you to use all 40 action items. But there's going to be a handful in those 40 that are applicable to a current situation, the current opportunity that that salesperson has. So using them to kickstart the ideation theory and the ideation around what they could do, our hope is that we can get to practical application quicker with them by having these. But that the, the Aim It piece, the investment in their talents piece and how am I going to create better outcomes, the final page of this report is designed to be that tool that you as a coach can either leave behind with them as a, you go, go fill this out, use this as your support, or guide them through in a conversation, which is the strengths wheel, right. So it has the Top 10 themes populated in color, personalized for them. And then it asks them to think about a current sales, a current goal they have. Put that goal in the middle. Ideate around how you can use your themes or a combination of your themes to accomplish that goal. And then identify how they know they'll have been, they've been successful.

Austin Suellentrop 25:36
So I think that it is really important to know that in coaching salespeople, every conversation, I think, is really critical that it ends in something tangible that they can go do to achieve better results. Now, that's a, that's a general coaching statement, I think, for most people. But salespeople ultimately have less of a, in our experience, in our research, they have less patience for long-term Aiming, and they need more short-term results. I need to see more leads from this. I need to see more appointments from this. I need to see, you know, a better close rate from this. I need to be able to see something tangible, from the 30 minutes, the 1 hour I just spent talking to you, right? Because that's 30 minutes or an hour they aren't spending talking to clients and prospects and customers, right. So that's why it's really critical that we're tactical with this.

Austin Suellentrop 26:33
So again, in this guide we've published out there, it talks about other tools you can use. It talks about other sort of supporting things and questions you can ask. That's, I'm going to say, sort of the most general guide all around that I think makes sense for the broadest audience. I want to share two, two things I've already used this for in coaching people myself, and in working with sales teams that hopefully, hopefully, they're helpful to you; hopefully, they can sort of get you thinking a little bit around how it may help for you. So the first, the first approach I've used is taking this report and bumping it up against a client's specific sales process. OK?

Austin Suellentrop 27:22
And so that last page, that strengths wheel, thinking about, whatever is the sales process for an organization, most organizations are going to have some sort of unique terminology phrasing for how they describe the sales process. But it makes sense, you know, you have prospecting, you have appointment-setting, you have discovery, you have, you know, providing solutions, closing the deal, you know, servicing the client, renewing, whatever the process looks like for them. And thinking about having the sales team identify, or salesperson identify, Of these steps in the sales process, where are you most successful? Which step do you feel like you have the most success? And having a conversation about how they see their strengths providing and creating that success, right? Doing a little digging and helping them with the strengths appreciation phase, in identifying and connecting strengths to why they're successful at that phase of the sales cycle.

Austin Suellentrop 28:23
But then, also identifying, Well, which of these areas is your biggest bottleneck? Which of these steps in the sales process is slowing you down or keeping you from being as successful as you could be? And that gives us the targeted goal right there. If that's where you're struggling, let's, let's think about how we can Aim our strengths and apply what we know is helping you be successful with these other steps to this specific step of the sales process. What can we do to approach it differently? How can we use a different set of strengths to think about this? And essentially, that becomes the model for monthly, quarterly, biweekly, whatever the one-on-one with a sales manager conversation is, let's think about right now, in this process, where are we being successful, and where are we struggling? And let's apply our strengths to ensure we are maximizing that success and minimizing that struggle. I've done that -- I started doing this approach, looking at the calendar, 8 years ago.

Austin Suellentrop 29:25
This was with a team in my old organization, when I was working in the banking industry in leadership development, and this was how I positioned strengths with different aspects of our, of our sales teams, looking at the sales process and applying strengths to each of the steps in that process. So that's one real tangible way that I think that it is applicable in sales. And it's super easy for salespeople to understand, for sales managers to understand, in terms of how it can get brought into the daily conversations.

Jim Collison 29:56
Austin, a couple questions out there. Holly asks, she says, So you've been really, really clear -- and I'm gonna say very, very clear -- that this is not a replacement for the 34. What are your feelings about using the Sales report for someone who only has their Top 5?

Austin Suellentrop 30:09
Yeah, no, absolutely. I think that that's, I think we have a lot of people who are going to be in that situation. And I think that it's, all the benefits of the practical, tactical things we're discussing apply there. What I want to make sure when I position it this way, is that because we are, because this is so sort of laser-focused in on the sales role, I don't want people to feel like, Oh, well, this is a 20-page report. It's got everything the 34 would have. And it, the content is just so distinctly different. So if you've got somebody who's in a sales role who can benefit from this kind of tactical support, absolutely. I don't care if they've got Top 5 or 34; this is a great tool for them. What I don't want us as coaches to think is that then there's no value, there's no point in talking to them about their, about the 34 down the road. Or, well, I'll just use this instead of the 34 because the 34 isn't going to help them in the sale. Like there are, they're talking to strengths from different angles. So absolutely, there's, there's a tremendous value in people with Top 5 looking at this, if the tactical, practical piece is what they're needing.

Jim Collison 31:20
Austin, from time to time, I talk with coaches who aren't masters of their own report. I want to kind of want to encourage individuals, if you haven't -- on any of these, if you haven't really dug into your own report on this, it's, it's tough to take other people to a place where you need to go for that. So let me encourage you to dig in on that. There had been a question, Yes, you can use your certified discount code if you're a Certified Coach with us to purchase the report, if you need to do that. Austin, I also get this question a lot around resources, additional resources available, a master list of action items or a master list of those, those insights. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Austin Suellentrop 31:58
Yeah, there's a short answer, the short answer is "No." And the primary reason is because it's standard content. If we published that, essentially, we'd be giving away all the IP that comes with these reports in one central place. I think that there is discussion and at least exploration around the potential for like a CliftonStrengths for Sales Resource Guide, kind of like we have with the managers, where you have the CliftonStrengths for Managers Resource Guide, which is more of an encyclopedia and a lot more depth behind a lot of this than we had in the Manager report. I think that I've already had a couple people reach out and ideate around what would that look like for us to offer to coaches in terms of supporting the use of Sales reports, right? So that's an avenue we're at least talking about. But there is not currently a central file that we publish anywhere with, with the report content.

Progression: Sales Report vs. Full 34 Report (Top 5)

Jim Collison 32:50
Lisa asks, and I think, I get, I hear this one a lot too: When starting with a new sales client, do you recommend starting with the Full 34 report then moving them to the Sales report or start with the Sales report? Or go Top 5? Or take the Top 5 and you stand up, dance, right? You know, what are the, what do you think, Austin?

Austin Suellentrop 33:06
Yep, so I'm gonna answer that two ways, because I'm going to answer what our theoretical response to that is, and I'm gonna answer with a practical response. The theoretical response is, we envision these being follow-ons to the 34. We envision these being, when we created and we first sort of launched the project around role-based reports, it was, they were designed to be the next step beyond 34. that after you've been exposed to your 34 and you understand strengths, these can be the tactical, practical tools for you in your day-to-day role. What we have found is, is more first-time users are seeing these reports than we anticipated. They're being used more as ways to introduce strengths to people than maybe we initially anticipated. So as a coach, what I would advise you around how you do this is you have to understand the culture of the organization and the salesperson with which you're working. Are, are, if you're, if strengths is already positioned in their or -- in their culture, and it already exists and maybe has that team-building personal development, sort of like an, I guess an awareness of something that's less business outcome-related, that you may want to introduce it through the Sales report and be able to really clearly show early on how strengths is a business driver.

Austin Suellentrop 34:39
If you have a culture that you're working with where that's already clearly known, like they understand that strengths drives outcomes, then you may have the ability to go further with a 34 report first and then bring this in as the tactical tool. I think that under, like, understanding the flexibility and freedom you have as a coach to use this the way that makes sense for how you like to, to work with clients; how long of a relationship will you have with this person? Are you being asked to get to results in one discussion? Or do you have a 6-month engagement with them set up? All of these are factors that can play into when I would recommend using this and introducing it to somebody. So I don't, I don't want to dance around that question. But I also don't want anybody, any coach to feel like you have to follow a certain order. Because our, we have, and we have visions for these things, and we have the, in a vacuum what we would recommend doing, but none of us live in that vacuum. So I want, we're trying to create as broad of a toolkit for all of you as coaches to be able to leverage in the right situation for the right client. That's the vision with this.

Jim Collison 35:47
Austin, as they work with the community, you know, based on people's talent themes, some want to -- are rule followers. And so they ask us that, What's the right way to get this done? And so I always appreciate -- there are methods and ways you can do this. And we do have some prescriptive ways that work best for you to roll that out or could work best in your situation. But I love what you say about it's flexible enough; you can add it in any way that works best for you. What works best for the client? Where are they at? What do you know about them? Maybe they can go right to the report. Maybe they need a walkthrough. I think Cat had said early on, she comes across maybe the first implementation of CliftonStrengths in the organization wasn't done very well. So there'll be some rework that needs to be done. You might need to go back and do some basics before you jump into some specifics in the report. Do you want to respond to any of that at all?

Austin Suellentrop 36:42
Yeah, well, I could, I could do an entire Called to Coach episode on what I call "strengths malpractice." Right? And, and things that have been done over the years where strengths has been inappropriately positioned or, or innocently just not done the right way, right, I think with best of intentions. As a coach, especially as a Certified Coach, we all have a responsibility to stay true to the mission and the sort of guiding principles of strengths. And so if you're working with a client, and you identify that those are not being upheld and that this is being misappropriated and misapplied, then I think you have a responsibility to try and correct course. So I think that, that's a different avenue that, yeah, you may need to do a little more legwork to get them back on the right track. But I think that's just going to be client by client. And I think, Jim, we could probably do an entire episode on that. So yeah, I think I want all of our coaches to feel confident and comfortable using this at the, at the time and in the way that fits with your coaching style and your strategy with a specific client and where the client currently is.

Is the Manager Report or the Sales Report Best for Sales Managers?

Jim Collison 37:59
I'm hearing from all the non-rule-followers in the chat room right now who are priding themselves in doing that. It is, though, you know, you, you mentioned, you know, this idea of strengths malpractice, and then those, there's folks will say, "Well, then how do I do it right?" And then they're looking for a very prescriptive way to do discovery, which can also be done. However, it needs to be done for the client, right? So we have some prescriptive methods that we know, that we've tested, that we kind of know work, and then there's that freedom to kind of work within the client. We spend a lot of time in our own consulting with clients, we spend a lot of time asking a lot of questions before we even get to any solutions.

Austin Suellentrop 38:38
Oh, absolutely. That's the difference between, that's the difference, ultimately, between a coach and an adviser or a mentor or something like that is, Do you lead with questions and curiosity or do you lead with guidance and advice? So I think the, the last tactic I want to, I want to share around how I've used this already, and I've mentioned this briefly, I think, during our launch call. Somebody asked me how I use the Strengths Report for Sales with the Strengths Report for Managers -- the Manager and Sales report together -- because inevitably, in any sales organization, you're gonna have a real opportunity in coaching sales managers, right. So which one do I use? Do I use the Manager report with the sales manager or the Sales report with the sales manager?

Austin Suellentrop 39:24
So here's how I see the two working together with a sales manager. First and foremost, it's an initial conversation with that sales manager around how they view their role. Are they really a manager? Or are they just a salesperson with people who are selling that report to them? And there's no judgment in that question; different organizations approach the sales manager role differently. Some have dedicated sales managers that spend all their time coaching, developing and assisting their salespeople. OK. A lot of organizations have that. I know a lot of organizations as well that have sales managers that have their own lofty sales goals, who are really just sort of brought in for their salespeople to close deals, to help overcome objections. And that they aren't as much managers as they are high-level salespeople. So, I start there with sales managers, and what do they see their role as? And what do they see themselves as having the biggest opportunity to improve for themselves and to help their teams?

Austin Suellentrop 40:29
One way through that conversation, if they identify, "No, I'm a manager; I need to, you know, I'm looking to improve my management. I'm looking to be a better sort of, you know, leader for my team," and so forth. Then I absolutely am going to focus my time on sort of thinking about all the classic management coaching approaches I've taken with people in the past. So the sales manager would get that Manager report, and then all the salespeople on that team would be leveraging the Sales report. But a critical thing is I'm absolutely going to make sure that I spend time with that sales manager, talking through the content of the Sales report for their people with that manager. And having them identify where they see their success and how they see that person emulating or using certain strengths day in, day out. So the Manager report for the manager; Sales report for the sales team.

Austin Suellentrop 41:24
But what about those sales managers who identify themselves really as high-level salespeople, and they still identify as a salesperson, and they want to be able to continue to do that, and their culture and their role is expected to do that? Then I might pull both out. I might pull both reports out with them, and sit down and have them, maybe we'll spend the first part of the conversation talking about the sort of traditional appreciation and Claiming piece of their strengths. Then we'll identify a couple of themes that they really connect with. So let's say they pick two or three themes, Activator, you know, Relator and Strategic. And we're sitting down with those three themes. I'll actually pull out the content from both reports, sit it side by side, and have them identify for me, you know, which resonates more with them? Which, which of these actions and Helps and Hinder statements do they sort of see themselves using or displaying more, more commonly?

Austin Suellentrop 42:26
And I'll do that and we'll start to sort of take some notes and highlight and identify in different ways -- are they spending more time in that sales application or in that management application? Because what we can do is we can start to sort of then identify what a development path for them may look like. If they're spending all of their time, and they really identify with one aspect of the role over the other, then we can have a conversation about, Well, what would it look like to get from 80% within one and 20% in the other to more of a 60/40? What would it look like? What's a, what's a realistic goal in terms of how they should be splitting their time? And the reports can serve as ways to show them how their strengths are or are not being fully leveraged in their daily role. It's a really cool exercise for sales managers, because they honestly, in my experience, and a lot of experience we have with sales organizations, they're so focused on metrics. And they're so busy going from call to call, client to client, that to pause and step back and look at, look at their own development is not something they do very often, because they're so inherently focused on the broader impact of their team.

Austin Suellentrop 43:43
And so I've loved having that conversation with the sales managers I've coached here lately, because it's been able to help validate for them that they can do this; that they can be a really good sales manager. And that sometimes the things that they, that are, make them a really good manager in their mind were taking away from them being a good salesperson. That devoting time to relationships with their own people, versus relationships with clients, in their mind is a negative application as a salesperson, so they don't do it. They spend more time outside the organization networking, doing things that they've traditionally done as a salesperson that's helped them be successful. And not realizing that you know what, applying that same approach to the eight people on their sales team is what can make them a great manager. And so it's helping them see that their strength with a different application can really be what takes them to the next level. So that's where I see those, those two working, working together in solid partnership.

Is There a Sales Report Bundle?

Jim Collison 44:51
I love that. You're getting some really good feedback, Austin, from the chat room on that. I think it's speaking to a lot of people. In every organization I've ever been in, the sales organization is always like, I don't, you know, it's just, it's interesting, to say the least. Right. And I think there's some great opportunities in that for their role that's oftentimes very high pressure. It's oftentimes very, very -- serious isn't the right word. But I mean, it's just a, it, they've got opportunities there. So appreciate that. Couple questions coming in from the chat room, and I think we've had this before too: Do we envision offering suite or bundles? You know, today, I think we've got a bundle on the Manager, do we have a Sales?

Austin Suellentrop 45:35
We do have a sales bundle. Yep. So we do offer a bundle of the code for the Sales report and the 34 report, right. So you get a pretty, pretty nice little discount, actually, when you buy them together. There's a couple, there's going to be both a financial benefit and a practical benefit to this. OK. As we build out our library of reports and tools, the aspect of managing all of these in your inventory and the code management piece can get messy and cluttered and busy. So being able to buy one code for a client that unlocks everything they need simplifies your code management, simplifies their user experience redeeming things. And so being able to buy it once, send them one thing, they take the assessment, redeem it, and they get everything unlocked -- that is, if you, if you have a roadmap vision with a client, where they're going to be using both of these at some point, but maybe not for 3 months, maybe not for -- trust me, you can manage how they leverage the content for that 3 months in enough, to enough benefit that it is going to be much easier than the, than, like, the administrative piece of having to send multiple codes, redeem multiple things and buy multiple things. OK.

Austin Suellentrop 46:57
So yes, we absolutely have bundles, We're always looking at the best bundles and the best packaging for all this. You know, with two role-based reports, we don't have a bundle for the 34, Manager and Sales right now. OK. And the reason being is to try to keep things from being cluttered -- to try to keep from having too many options. Will there, could I see a world -- oh, my gosh, I'm like, I think I almost used a verbatim definition of, of Strategic and Futuristic. So I'm, I'm not, I'm gonna rephrase this. I've got Futuristic, Strategic, Adaptability, Positivity all in my Top 10. So yes, I absolutely see a world where we have an option to buy like one code that unlocks everything -- like every report we offer. Right? I could very clearly see that happening down the road; we just don't have it yet. Right. But I think as we build the library of reports, that's something worth, worth thinking about more.

Future Role-Based Reports

Jim Collison 48:00
Let's go into the lightning round. I always, I just wanted to be a game show guy and always just say that. And, and let's do some quick questions. Ralph asks, Are there any other roles planned?

Austin Suellentrop 48:11
Yes, there are, there are, I will say we have launched these first two; we have three more on the roadmap for, to be launched by the end of 2023. So over, so for the next year and a half, you can expect a cadence of about every 6 months will be -- so plenty more to be shared about what those roles are, what the reports will be. But we are planning about every 6 months for the next year and a half.

The Sales Report vs. Strengths Based Selling

Jim Collison 48:38
Yeah, that process is working well. We've got that, we've got that figured out. So good. Ed asks, around the books, Does the, does this assessment go with any of the previous books? What about Strengths Based Leadership -- ?

Austin Suellentrop 48:51
Great and fair question, All, so again, one assessment; CliftonStrengths assessment is the one assessment. All of these reports are created independent of any book we've published, OK? So the Sales report is not dependent upon Strengths Based Selling, so you don't have to have read that book to make sense of this report. They complement one another. But they don't have to be, you don't have to have both, right. Any code you get in the back of books, in general, is a Top 5 code, right? So you get to redeem it and get a Top 5 report. Like Strengths Based Leadership, you get a unique strengths-based leadership report, right? But it's a Top 5 report. All these role-based reports are deeper than Top 5, right? So I think that's where we are working through the correlation and the connection to all of our books as we go through, you know, new, new batches of publishings and all that kind of stuff over time, which we always review and update those books periodically anyways for cultural references and terminologies every, you know, several years anyway, so, as part of the process, we do that.

Jim Collison 49:56
To be clear, but we're not going to go back and make this Manager, I mean, make the Sales report a part of our sales-based books.

Austin Suellentrop 50:04
Correct.

Jim Collison 50:05
They're not just going to show up that way.

Austin Suellentrop 50:06
Correct. If you buy Strengths Based Selling, the book, and you use that code, you'll get a standard Top 5 code.

Is the Sales Report More for B2B or B2C Salespeople?

Jim Collison 50:13
This is a really, really good question. Andrea says, Dean had a series in 2021 about developing salespeople. During the webinars, talked about the different salespeople -- B2B, B2C. Does this -- and I'm going to change the question because I think it's more specific. Does this report play to business to business or business to consumer (that's what those mean, if you don't, if you're not aware of that). Can you talk a little bit about that in the lightning round?

Austin Suellentrop 50:39
Yeah. Target audience is business to business with this. So B2B salespeople is the target audience. The reason being, that's who most of our clients are, right? Most of our clients are in the business-to-business world; that's where we live, primarily, is the business-to-business world. But it's not excluding B2C. So people who sell directly to customers -- think about some of the high-volume roles like that. You think about, like, car sales. Think about all retail sales. You think about, like, a lot of the call centers environments. Things -- there are large volumes of people in our communities and in our, in our companies who are, who are playing roles like this, that this content is absolutely applicable to them. OK? What you'll see in the phrasing is we use the term, "customer," "client" and "prospect," sort of like across and throughout, so we don't pick one term exclusively. So "potential customer" is used. "Prospect" is used. "Client" is used. "Customer" is used, right? So we didn't want it to feel exclusion -- exclusion -- we didn't want to exclude anybody. How about that for Communication No. 1 right there, right? Couldn't find the right word. So it's, it's, it's inclusive of all, of all roles, but it's, it was written with the B2B salespeople in mind.

Jim Collison 52:03
I think it's good to clarify this. Ed comes back with some clarification. He says, I have someone who got the Top 5 Strengths Based Leadership Report, right. So if you took the code out of the Strengths Based Leadership book, you got the Top 5 and the Insight Guide; you'd also get two leadership reports associated with that. So that's why they asked about whether they should get, would you advise, if they've got the leadership reports, that they get the Manager report and the Sales report?

Austin Suellentrop 52:29
Completely different tools. The Strengths Based Leadership Report is absolutely dependent upon the book Strengths Based Leadership. It is really aimed at the 4 Needs of Followers: trust, compassion, stability and hope. So what that report does is it breaks down each theme and how it can be used around trust, compassion, stability and hope. So it's a very specific application and concept of leadership. The Manager report, much more depth, but also much more tactical about the day-to-day role of a manager and less aspirational in terms of the role of a leader envisioning and so forth, right. So that's why they are distinctly different. So I, look, I love, I adore Strengths Based Leadership. I love it. I think that the 4 Needs of Followers framework, especially during the pandemic, was a tremendously powerful sort of rubric to use when talking with leaders. And I, we've got content for days on that. So I wanna make sure I'm not like playing down the value of it; they're just different lenses. And one of the things we are going to do, organizationally, over the course of the next couple of years is continue to clarify the lenses we're looking at these things through, provide more tools, so that whatever angle you're using strengths with your clients, you have the right tool to help.

Jim Collison 53:58
And that Strengths Based Leadership Report, only available by purchasing the book. That's the way it is today. The code is in the book; you have to buy the physical copy of the book. We don't sell that code individually. And so that's, that's how you get upgraded to that. One of the things, Austin, in the community I work with, you know, sometimes I get some questions that, and I'll -- I said this in the beginning, but I'll say it again -- get some questions that it, like, they're based on, you have never seen the report. And so let me encourage you, especially our Certified Coaches, be a student of all our reports. It's, they're out there, and you're gonna have customers who are going to purchase this and have some questions for them. And you'll, you'll want to know the answers. And I think you'll want to know that from the experience of digging into your own report. I dig into them every day, because I get questions on every day. So it's, it's one of those things. But be a student, be a student of those reports. Yeah, the other, the other oxymoron, or juxtaposition, that I get from time to time is I always, we have, it's, the, we have so many things, sometimes hard to keep track of all of them. And then in the next breath, it's, "But when's the next thing?" So it's always balancing those two like, new material and, and, and providing great historical content as well. Austin, anything else that you want to say as we wrap this up?

Austin Suellentrop 55:15
No. Jim, thank you for having me on. I always love, love, love coming on with the coaching community and seeing the engagement and the curiosity and the questions that we get asked. I think that, you know, as we move forward, this has been out in the market for 2 weeks, right. And so we will, one of the things I love is gaining best practices and hearing the stories of how people are using it. So as you get clients to, who you're able to use this report with, please connect with me, connect with Jim. Tell us how it's working. Tell us how it's not working. Like we need the feedback because it helps inform how we, how we do better and how we do more in the future. So I'll be continuing to ask for that. I'll be continuing to share as we learn around this. And we look forward to hearing the stories of the creative and neat ways you're applying this in your coaching and in your work.

Austin Suellentrop 56:09
If you were able to join the summit, right, and, which 5,000 people were, so hopefully you were some of them, you know, Jim shared a message several times about sending us your ideas, sending us the things you're doing, the products you're using, the, the ways you've created things with strengths. You know, Phil Ruhlman, who has been a leader and a champion of the coaching community and of strengths for decades, he and I are working closely internally on some projects, to try to help ramp up the kinds of things we can create to support you in your coaching. And so I think this is another cool way. As you get creative with how you use this, let us know. Share with us, so we can see how we can help you amp it up or maybe potentially create something that can be scalable around that. So really appreciate it. Thanks for having me on, Jim. And if I can help any of you on the call, you know how to get in touch with us. Jim will give his spiel here at the end on all the ways you can, you can connect with us. But thank you for everything you do to help move the strengths movement forward, and look forward to talking with all of you soon.

Jim Collison 57:14
Austin, always appreciate, always great to be on with you, and always great to connect with the community. One of the things I think I learned from, from everyone today is you and I have done three of these sessions. We did a Called to Coach where we launched it; you and I were on LinkedIn, did a LinkedIn Live -- that's on our YouTube channel now, where we talked about it with the community; now we've done this one. All three of them have been fairly different. And so if you are listening to this one, and you missed the others, a good opportunity to go back to our YouTube channel and watch those as well. Just a reminder, take advantage of all the resources we have available now in Gallup Access. That's where your reports are, and that's where most things are. Head out to gallup.com/cliftonstrengths. That page that I showed in the very beginning, I try not to make it too hard for you to find, but gallup.com/certifiedcoach, right. So just gallup.com/certifiedcoach, Section 4, Popular Products. That's where it's at. And you can download that coaching guide that Austin went through. Very helpful and a great place to start. For coaching, master coaching or if you want to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, maybe you're listening to this and you're like, want to take advantage of all these things that are available, give us an email or send us an email, rather: coaching@gallup.com. Stay up to date with all the webcasts that are out there -- all of these, when we do them. Head out to gallup.eventbrite.com and follow us there. Join us in our Facebook group to continue the conversation: facebook.com/groups/calledtocoach -- all one word -- and that's the "to" -- calledtocoach. And find us on any other social platform just by searching "CliftonStrengths" And boy, I tell you what, our Instagram folks are crushing it out there. So if you're, if you're an Instagrammer -- and I'm not -- but if you are, Instagram is a great place to be; follow CliftonStrengths out there as well. Thanks for listening to us today. Appreciate you guys coming out and with some great questions. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Austin Suellentrop's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Communication, Activator, Futuristic, Belief and Positivity.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:


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