Sales support can be overrated. In fact, I commonly see salespeople being over supported. They are provided with everything from an encouraging manager, helpful resources to draw from, regular marketing initiatives and a generous salary, but still they underperform.
There is a lot to be said for hiring the wrong salespeople for the role in the first place. Yet even more evidence highlights sales professionals underperform because they are not inspired by their leader or being coached for success. By that, I mean drilling deeper into the ‘right’ unique skills, traits and latent capabilities and then aligned with a malleable method.
High performance sales professionals want to scale the tallest mountain. They also need to believe it’s possible. For others they demand to see what’s possible, that is to say, someone must go there first. If it’s not their fearless leader, a successful internal role model is critical in helping establish a new belief system and the confidence for what is ultimately attainable.
Genuine high performers don’t want to be managed. Who enjoys being managed, really? They come armed with an entrepreneurial mindset that sets them apart and gets things done. If you want to develop a high performance sales culture, the term ‘manager’ needs to be deleted from the vocabulary. In its place, carefully insert the more relevant, leader.
Top salespeople are often promoted to manager, yet rarely equipped with the necessary sales leadership skills to successfully lead and coach their team for success. A period of time away from the coalface actively selling can mean the methods they espouse are no longer relevant. If the manager is too removed from the process and activity or solely relying on feedback from team members, this can often be counterintuitive. The feedback is nearly always biased.
To counter this, the sales leader must be as actively involved in the sales process as possible. Like all successful leaders, harnessing on-the-ground perspectives and communicating from a place of confidence and clarity is critical. Strategy will only get you so far, high performance is driven more from action and experience; these two elements inspire respect and trust.
What salespeople are demanding in today’s ever changing and cautious markets is, ‘lead me by example and show me what’s possible. Then coach me for success! I want to download it, see it clearly and believe in it. Now that I’m clear, get out of the way and let me play with it!’
Leading and coaching your sales team as opposed to managing them, will help you cut-out genuine underperformers swiftly. It also inspires your team members to grow from a healthy culture that cultivates authentic leaders and teachers, instead of passengers.
Trent Leyshan is the founder and CEO of BOOM Sales! a leading sales training and sales development specialist. He is also the creator of The NAKED Salesman, BOOMOLOGY! RetroService, and the Empathy Selling Process.