As a sales manager, you may feel that you must have all the answers. Both managers and employees will benefit from developing resources. Resources help us answer questions and find solutions. Traditional information sources are one type of helpful resource. But we also find helpful sources of insight and feedback among co-workers and team members.
This Lesson in Leadership demonstrates how having a variety of resources at your fingertips can help you work more efficiently, find answers quickly, and develop promotable employees. It also demonstrates how to encourage this same habit in your team.
At work, where change continues to be our greatest asset and most unyielding foe, this statement means more today than ever:
A smart man isn’t one who knows all of the answers. A smart man is one who knows where to look for answers.
We all have a responsibility to become experts in our work and/or field. And yet, with everything changing so dramatically and quickly it is sometimes impossible to know everything about everything on the job. In some work groups the manager has become the primary employee resource for answering questions and solving problems. Unfortunately, when this occurs, a manager who provides all of the answers may unintentionally limit the versatility, growth, and satisfaction of his or her employees.
You can actually become happier, more productive, and less stressed when you develop a wide variety of resources that offer answers to questions, support when needed, and assistance during challenge.
Coaching is the ability to consistently demonstrate leadership competencies that accelerate individual and team development. Mutual commitments are a powerful developmental tool. As a sales coach or manager, you can use mutual commitments to develop employee focus and commitment.
This Lesson in Leadership demonstrates how to use mutual commitments to help your team members focus their attention and efforts on continuous self-improvement.
It has been said, “As much as some things change, other things stay the same.” Here is a concept that has remained true over time:
The most important stride toward success is a commitment to personal excellence.
Any person who wishes to achieve more than they already have must consider devoting a certain amount of time to introspection and self-improvement. Introspection is the most powerful, positive and personal development tool we possess as human beings and yet, we sometimes don’t use it when we could or should. Why? It could be we’re concerned about what we might see if we look too closely at the man or woman in the mirror. It could also be we’re so very busy running to and from the next activity or task in our attempt to tread water in the waves of ever-increasing expectations.
The fact remains: if we are ever going to achieve the potential of our talent and capability then we must also yearn for improvement.
This Lesson in Leadership addresses leveraging people for career success.
Sales managers experience success when members of their sales team experience both team and career success. Managers and sales professionals can collaborate to leverage each others’ strengths and create success together.
This Lesson in Leadership discusses how teamwork can lead to departmental and/or individual career success.
In a world where expectations for performance continue to increase, this statement contains genuine value:
The easiest way to be successful in the future is together.
Almost everything of value any person may accomplish in life involves, at some level, other people. Depending on the area of life you’ve chosen to improve, achieving success may indeed include family, friends, co-workers or even us … your managers. Whenever two or more people work together to achieve a common goal, we call that leveraging.
The joy of success can actually be diminished when we don’t allow others to participate and help us. Why? Because we have no one with whom to truly share the joy. As human beings, our sense of accomplishment actually grows stronger when we know other people who care about us have witnessed the hard earned improvement or success. Plus, they in turn experience pleasure because in some small way they helped us to achieve our goals. Because they care about us they actually derive a certain amount of satisfaction from our successes.
A load is more easily moved when everyone pulls in the same direction.
As managers we ask all employees to accept personal responsibility for the work that they produce. We believe without the personal commitment from each employee to his or her job, higher levels of productivity may never be reached. What you may be unaware of is, we don’t expect you to travel this road to greater productivity and achievement alone. We’d like to help.
We win or lose … together.
The Typical Sales Manager’s Career Path Usually Lacks Sales Management Training.
One of the most common contributors to poor sales management leadership is the way that many sales managers end up in positions of leadership. Most sales managers have been called up out of the ranks of selling or promoted from some other business discipline because they were competent and respected as a highly successful individual contributor. Most are promoted without receiving any sales management training.
In a look at the typical sales manager career path, the Wall Street Journal explained that most sales managers start their careers as salespeople. After consistently meeting sales targets, “it’s possible you would be promoted to management, with a title like sales manager or territory development manager. The stakes get higher; you’ll now be responsible for a team and their numbers, not just your own.”
Unfortunately for the new sales manager who wants to do a good job as well as for the veteran manager who expects to leverage their experience to solve problems and increase revenue, there are a significant number of skills, tools, and processes specific to the sales management leadership role necessary for success. Continue reading…
As a sales management leader, you know that effective communication accelerates job satisfaction, career growth, employee loyalty, and commitment to excellence by creating a culture that fosters greatness. One way to develop an elite high-performing sales team is to encourage self-improvement.
This next Lesson in Leadership focuses on encouraging self-improvement by providing four self-improvement steps.
This is one of the basic truths of life: The only real improvement is self-improvement.
No matter how badly someone else may want you to improve, if you don’t choose improvement for yourself, it won’t happen. Wouldn’t you agree it would be nice if we could make other people change? As an example, when a co-worker neglects to do something you feel he should have done and it causes more work for you. You might wish you could make him change. You might even bring the situation to your manager hoping he can make the co-worker change. Alas, your manager can’t make your co-worker change either. Even when he attempts to hold your co-worker or you accountable, changing is a personal choice.
Don’t misunderstand. Managers always hope every new employee will become successful in the company. They often use the latest technologies to hire new employees who have the highest probability of success. More times than not, though, an employee’s success on the job comes down to the attitude, desire, and tenacity the employee is willing to commit to work, as well as the team and his personal commitment to change and improve.
Top sales management leaders set clear goals, standards, and measurements for the members of their sales team. One goal of performance coaching is to build MVP, or most valuable player, employees. Using MVP behaviors along with position descriptions, sales managers are able to produce results and improve team cooperation.
This next Lesson in Leadership shows you how to introduce MVP behaviors to your sales team.
We live and work in a world where we are all, at least to some extent, co-dependent.
Everything of value we will ever accomplish will in some way involve other people.
In many ways, a company is very much like a community. Regardless of our department we are dependent on others to perform their functions and responsibilities so our work may have true substance and value. The relationships we have with our co-workers, managers, and other departments can either enhance our opportunity for achievement and happiness on the job or hinder it. Many of us may actually spend more time with the people with whom we work with than we do with our own families. And yet in some cases, these work relationships are strained. This commonly occurs because of someone’s inappropriate or un-adult like behavior.
Indifference kills relationships.
Whenever an employee disregards the feelings or needs of his or her co-workers, the almost inevitable outcome will be relationship tension. If that tension is allowed to exist too long without being addressed or repaired the result can be a strained or broken relationship. There are many reasons for this difference in the workplace. We believe the most common catalyst for this irritable tension between co-workers is caused when someone doesn’t possess a broad enough understanding or concern of how personal actions and behaviors impact other people. If this condition exists in any employee, that person may feel it’s less important to consider the possible impact on others before taking action.
Effective sales management leaders use behavior plus activities to get results. To use standards that produce results, the standards must be written, well-communicated, completely understood, and equally applied. Every sales manager has the perfect tool for these standards at their finger-tips. These tools are position descriptions.
This Lesson in Leadership communicates the importance of position descriptions for the individuals on your sales team.
Managers and employees have more in common than you might think. One of those commonalities is that we all depend on our work to provide an important source of income to support our families and ourselves in a lifestyle we feel is reasonable. Our current job also serves as the vehicle we expect to carry us into an even more rewarding business and financial future.
Good work today … fuels tomorrow.
Most of us work to earn the money needed to take care of our current financial obligations and hopefully pay for any future needs we may uncover. You may also hope that your current position will help to propel you towards some future opportunity within your company. Perhaps you plan to be a sales manager someday. The challenge is that unless you can perform your current role and responsibilities to everyone’s reasonable satisfaction, none of your income needs or future opportunities is likely to be realized. In other words, if you can’t successfully perform the duties of the job you have now, your future dreams and goals begin to run out of fuel.
Conflict is the mother of disaster.
Whenever there is conflict on the job, everyone’s work and life becomes more difficult. Even the simplest task can become arduous when things aren’t running smoothly and responsibilities are not being filled. Have you ever felt like no one at work was on the “same page?” Have you ever wondered why someone doesn’t create some guidelines to help you secure the outcomes you’d like to accomplish on the job? Do you ever ponder why someone doesn’t synchronize the team’s functions, align you more closely with the team vision and provide you the opportunity to clarify the expected results with your manager? Well, in most companies there are such written guidelines. It’s called a “Position description.” This document has also been referred to as a Job Description.
In a world where change, organizational transition, and sales force transformation seem to be the status quo, some things remain the same.
One constant is the resolute expectation that sales managers continually improve performance. No matter how successful a sales team or selling organization is at the moment, there remains a need for continuous improvements in productivity and profitability. For a number of sales managers today, this call to achieve even more has become a stain on an otherwise spotless management career. And, according to numerous sales managers, the question is simple: “How do we get even more sales than we are currently producing?”
As a training and education company that offers both advanced selling skills and management leadership education and coaching; and having educated and coached more than 40,000 professional sales leaders; we have come to what we believe are some very credible conclusions. Consistent improvement requires 5 key components for success.
The previous post on Planning for Success introduced you to the idea of a Tactical Map and presented one of the benefits of creating such a map. In this post, we will discuss two more benefits. Sales development will be much easier when you use this highly effective tool.
Let’s jump right in.
Motivation is “internal” not “external.”
In order to achieve the plans you create for yourself it is extremely important you begin to visualize not only the end result but also the path you must travel to those achievements. Developing, consistently reviewing, visualizing, and, if needed, changing your written plans, allows you to make better decisions, effectively organize time use, and reduce stress.
As a sales manager developing an elite sales team, you must convert vision to tangible goals, align objectives with longer term corporate strategy, and identify the processes and resources required to accelerate initiatives. One of the most effective tools for accomplishing these actions is the tactical map, which can be used by individuals or for the whole team. A tactical map is also a useful sales training tool.
This Lesson in Leadership discusses one of the benefits of creating a tactical map.
Many people want something. Fewer achieve their desired results. There is a formula for achieving results.
Vision + Planning + Competent Effort = Results
Most people have some idea of what they’d like their future to be. We’ve heard employees say things like, “Someday … I’d like to work on a team where everyone gets along.” Or, “Someday … I’d like to do work which excited me.” We’ve even heard, “Someday … I’d like to be a manager.”
Well, someday could be closer than you think. We’d like to help you bring the distant horizon in your mind into clear focus and closer to you.
We’ve gained some valuable knowledge on our journey from employees and sales professionals to sales managers and we’d like to pass on to you the catalyst that can bring your chosen future closer to you and maybe even into your current reality. Continue reading…