Most sales managers are up to their eyeballs in busy work. Their days are full, for sure. But are they full of the right things? The things that move your company toward fulfilling your mission, delivering on your brand promise, adding value to your ideal customers, creating a world class sales organization with an unstoppable culture of winning. Often I find, not so much.
The role of sales leadership is to lead the sales team to their revenue goals and deliver high performance but most sales managers are buried in too many of the wrong details and can't see the forest for the trees.
There's much at stake and a lot can get away from a sales manager who spends so much of their time digging out of the holes that bury them. One of the pivotal aspects of sales leadership that often gets short shrift from sales leaders is sales recruitment.
When I speak with CEOs, they tell me how so much of their ability to reach their performance goals hinges on getting the right people on the bus in...
I have never met a CEO who didn't want to know the fastest and most effective way to grow revenue and create a culture of positivity through winning. The best company leaders know that culture eats strategy for breakfast, and that without the right strategy, people and processes, the culture will deteriorate and mediocrity will prevail.
Aligning your strategy to your people, processes, and systems creates the engine for a winning culture to prevail. People need to know exactly what to do and why they are doing it. Leaders need to execute from a roadmap that was created based on the goals of the strategy. Salespeople need to be able to bring the value of that strategy to market with a rallying cry that brings the team together to dominate your market and satisfy the needs of your ideal customers.
"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
Sounds easy enough,...
Most CEOs want to know how to hire top performing salespeople for their companies. What they often fail to realize is that what's getting in their way is their own sales managers and HR professionals who, although well intentioned, are guilty of egregious sales hiring mistakes that are costing them to forfeit the very best sales talent for each role and instead to settle for mediocre and ill-fitting sales mis-hires.
If you want a consistently high performing sales team, you must help your managers and HR professionals fix these problems. And to do that, you must be able to help them see that following along with the status quo and continuing to do what they were taught to do in the past is what's killing their effectiveness.
Here are the biggest mistakes you and your people are making that are keeping you from having a top performing sales team:
One of the saddest things I encounter in my work is meeting with CEOs, company presidents, and business owners who have lost their vision for what's possible. They've settled. They've settled for what they believe is "as good as it gets" when it comes to their sales organization. Some are growing, for sure, but it's not the breakthrough growth they dream of. They smile outwardly and some even feel grateful that they've made it through the storm and are even experiencing some growth.
Some haven't grown enough since the economic downturn. And while many have learned how to do more with less, that "lean thinking" now leads in their lackluster sales performance. And, behind closed doors, those CEOs tell me how disheartening it is that they aren't growing revenue like they once did.
Each and every day my team and I go to work to help perfect sales hiring and sales execution so that we can restore that lost vision and help our clients achieve the breakthrough results, sustained...
Despite what I see in my news feed, my experience has shown me that most humans are decent, well-meaning, and kind. And when you agree to bring someone into your company as an employee, those are important qualities to screen for throughout your recruitment process. But let's be clear: it takes more than nice people to get the job done.
I can't tell you how many times a CEO or business owner who has paid our firm to help them select stronger, more qualified sales and sales management candidates, abandon the process we put in place and start falling in love with candidates who are not recommended because they don't have the skills or competencies for the position but they appear to look good on their resume. The next thing you know, this CEO or business owner and their executive team is spending precious time and costly resources interviewing nice, well-meaning candidates who are not suited for the position.
Some get so enamored with unqualified candidates, they stop running their...
This year our company's theme is Game Changers. We started the year by asking ourselves how we can help our clients in the most game-changing and innovative ways?
One of my favorite questions to answer for a CEO client is: What are the three or four initiatives that, if executed in the next 90 days, would have the biggest impact on revenue performance over the next 12-18 months? Then we reveal the impact number -- the opportunity in dollars for executing on those initiatives -- and it's usually in the millions (often multi-millions) of dollars. That's a game changer.
"What are the three or four initiatives that, if executed in the next 90 days, would have the biggest impact on revenue performance over the next 12-18 months?"
Every company is different and every impact analysis we conduct provides a solutions roadmap to each company's specific issues. Yet, with all the differences in companies, their issues and needs, the impact analyses all have some common threads.
Did you know that 90% of hiring decisions are made from the interview? That seems reasonable until you factor in that traditional interviewing is only 14% accurate when hiring for sales.
It's important to realize that salespeople are different from every other role in your business so if you use the same interviewing methodologies you do to hire every other function in your company you are going to get it wrong.
And according to the data, you will get it wrong 84% of the time. With those kinds of odds, you'd be better off rolling dice or asking the magic eight ball who to hire.
Of course, you'd never really roll dice to choose a new hire; but let's face it, if you don't have a scientifically accurate and predictive way to select sales winners for your company, then you are doing just that.
Salespeople will out-talk and out interview you if you don't know how to run an effective sales interview. If you lack the skills to effectively screen a sales candidate, you will likely...
Whether you are hiring inbound, outbound, channel, or traditional salespeople and sales managers for your organization, you must be able to clearly articulate and measure candidates against the most important criteria in your role specification.
Failing to do this well will result in sales problems. Those problems manifest in lots of ways, including high turnover, low win rates, inaccurate forecasts, delayed closings, garbage in the pipeline, low margins due to price cutting to get the business, lack of motivation on the team, too much pressure on part of the sales process, mediocrity, and lack of passion in the sales culture -- just to name a few.
If you are having any of these problems, you have a data problem. You are either measuring the wrong stuff or you're trying to measure the right stuff the wrong way. You have to figure out which problem you have and then you have to fix it.
If you're measuring the wrong stuff, and this is much more common than you'd expect, you must...
Great CEOs have qualities that make them unparalleled assets to their organization's revenue growth and profitability. They realize that all of their actions as a leader impact results, and they strive to become intentional about making that impact positive.
These traits are found in the best of the best CEOs regardless of gender, color, age, or industry.
10. They ask questions and listen to their leaders and their individual contributors to get the answers they need.
9. They have very little patience for incompetence at any level of the organization.
8. They hold people accountable to behaviors, attitudes, skills, and expectations that matter most.
7. They overcommunicate the values and mission and let people know where they stand with regard to upholding them.
6. They demand the best from everyone, and they lead by example.
5. They lead the way and drive change by embodying a mission mindset and an execution-driven environment.
4. They set clear expectations and impose...
"It's lonely at the top." That's what a new client recently told me when we were discussing how he makes decisions and what his process looks like.
"Honestly," he said, looking through the glass window of the conference room, "We have a great executive team, but at the end of the day, gaining consensus is exhausting and not always possible. And sometimes I agree to initiatives that are less than ideal because the clock is ticking and we need to make something happen."
"Don't get me wrong," he interjected urgently. "We're doing really well. It's just that I know we could be doing so much more."
This is the frustration of a CEO of a $250M company. And he's not the only CEO of an established, growth-oriented company I've talked to recently who feels, despite their success, like they are running full speed ahead with weights on.
We talked for a bit. He knew some of the reasons they weren't growing as fast as he knew they could. But there were too many unanswered questions that...