Leaders often self-impose what used to be good habits at a bad time. What I mean is that they continue doing the things they did with 5 employees when their team becomes 50 employees, or what they did at 200 employees when they become 600 employees. It won’t work.
You need the right focus within the context of today’s reality. For example, as the leader of 5 employees, you’ll need to develop each person and help them grow their skills and contribution while you add people. And, when your team becomes 50 you need to stop growing individuals and begin growing your leaders – so they can grow individuals in your stead. This is what you have to do to become a world-class leader of a world-class organization.
I asked Jack Daly (sales guru and best-selling author) how my observed leadership patterns compared to a world-class sales organization. Here’s what Jack had to say:
As you look to build a world-class sales organization, make sure that you are focused on the right things. As sales managers and business leaders, it is not your job to grow sales. It is your job to grow your salespeople in quantity and quality every day. The following five initiatives are the main areas that must be focused on when building a world-class sales organization:
- Find good people
- Get them to join your team
- Get them trained and producing
- Grow them into top producers
- Keep them
Let me (Jack) further discuss each initiative:
1. Find good people—The process of recruiting good talent to your organization is not one that often happens by chance. Many companies get aggressive about recruiting only when they need somebody to add to their team or when they need to replace somebody who has just left their team. Recruiting is a process, not an event. It must be ongoing and continuous. Can you imagine only going after a new customer when you lose an existing one?
2. Get them to join your team—Now that we have spent countless hours, days, and months hunting our prey, we finally have them in our sights. Once they have agreed to sit down for a formal interview, I have the full expectation that the candidate has prepared and practiced a very thorough and professional presentation for our company regarding its products/services, features, advantages, and benefits. This is only natural when we think about it in our sales process.
3. Get them trained and producing—Now that we have brought new talent onto our team, it is imperative that we have a plan to get them "into the game" as soon as we possibly can. We often hear from sales managers and CEOs that the "ramp-up" time for salespeople can be six months, one year, or even more. The goal of this initiative is to make sure that we get those salespeople ramped up quicker and producing results.
4. Grow them into top producers—It is my belief that training must be ongoing and continuous. As company leaders, we send our salespeople out into battle every day where they face constantly changing forces in the marketplace. I tend to use the analogy of sending lumberjacks out into the forest each day to chop down trees. If the axes of our lumberjacks are not constantly sharpened, they eventually will have to work much harder to achieve results. Thus, we get turnover and/or salesperson burnout.
5. Keep them—The Harvard Business School conducted a survey of top-producing sales professionals that asked them to rank the top five reasons why they stayed in their current positions at their current companies. The top five reasons were:
- Positive work environment
- Opportunity for personal growth
As Jack stated, stop self-imposing good habits (gone bad), and instead verify that they are needed as you focus within the context of today’s reality. Jack’s approach works even if your title doesn’t contain the word sales. When you find good people, get them to join your team, and then get them trained, producing and on the way to becoming a top producer, and finally, you keep them -- you will succeed. This is the pattern I’ve observed in world-class companies and world-class leaders. Let me know how it works for you.
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