What Happened at the End of the Sales Leadership Training Workshop?
It was an interesting out come at the end of the two day Sales Management Training Workshop last week… We discussed the Role of Sales Management, what Strategies face sales managers and focused on the Execution of sales management tactics. At end of the second day I always ask the participants what was the most interesting or important learning take-a-way from the workshop.
We had 10 people going through our program, all from one client but from 5 different offices, while it was personalized to their specific requirements we did cover the following topics:
- Building a high performance sales culture
- Recruiting and hiring sales teams
- Leading and managing your sales team
- 7 styles of leadership
- 5 styles of management
- Building predictable revenue using management systems
- How run a sales meeting
- Developing sales training meetings
- Developing appropriate sales dashboards to analyze activity and pipeline levels
- Coaching and building salesperson Development Plans
While most of the session was focused on creating standardized sales management systems between their five offices and getting by-in, when I went around the table asking what was the most important thing each participant learned during both days, everyone seemed to have been focused around the need for “creating a culture of belief”.
The interesting aspect of their choice to me it that area or responsibility is often the most overlooked by sales leadership.
Sales teams run on emotion; personal emotion of belief in themselves, the products/services they deliver (and their results for their clients) and the ability of the company to execute effectively. Therefore successful sales management must build into their plan ideas and methods to reinforce and build belief.
I like to recommend a few ideas on building culture from my book on Leading High Performance Sales Teams
Storytelling: People from different cultures and generations pass along stories about their ancestries, traditions and lore. Companies need to take a similar approach to capturing and preserving their histories. To do so, write down customer success stories when they occur. Put together detailed descriptions of your company’s role in helping customers implement new technologies, launch or salvage important projects or earn recognition from your vendors. Then share these stories at sales meetings and other employee events. You can also use the best stories to recruit top performers and help orient new employees.
Monthly Meetings: When a company launches, its first employees typically feel that they share a mission. Everyone knows everything that’s happening and what’s needed to succeed. But when the staff grows beyond about 15 people, that sense of mission-along with clearly defined expectations and common beliefs-can be difficult to maintain.
We believe that monthly employee meetings are crucial for keeping everyone engaged and informed. (Larger organizations and those with remote offices may want to opt for quarterly day-long events instead.) Such gatherings give you a chance to remind your staff about your business philosophies, plans and expectations. You can also use them to recognize outstanding employees, perhaps honoring a Most Valuable Player chosen by the team at each session. Remember to make the meetings fun as well. Consider sponsoring games offering door prizes. One company meeting I attended featured a surprise visit from an Elvis impersonator, who sang several songs.
Customer Visits: Each quarter, have your entire sales team visit a customer company that’s successfully implemented your solutions. Ask the customer’s executives to describe the impact your company has had on their competitive position or to review the savings they’ve gained from your products and services. You might also invite customers to share their experiences at some of your monthly meetings.
Reference Letters: Ask your best customers for testimonials. While such letters are, of course, highly useful as tools for future sales presentations, they’re also valuable for building belief in-house. Frame the letters and display them in your lobby or sales presentation area. Have new employees read them as part of the orientation process. Or try to record a testimonial using a quality camera and replay them at your company meetings and post on your web site.
You might enjoy this You Tube video on “What Great Sales Organizations Do! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqKO3o4MXns&feature=youtu.be
In our business, it’s all too easy to get bogged down with lost sales, missed project dates, data reports and other problems. Regularly reinforcing the positives goes a long way toward keeping everyone’s belief and passion strong and moving in the right direction.
Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.
He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.
Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.