“Back to School” is a highly anticipated event for both students and parents alike, albeit for different reasons… but highly anticipated nonetheless! As a kid I remember feeling a sense of nervous excitement the night before the first day of school. I couldn’t wait to see all my friends, share summer stories, wear my new clothes, find out if my best friends were in my classes, meet my new teachers, and since I grew up in the 80’s… show off my fabulous “big hair.”
Fast-forward 25 years, as a parent I now get excited about my kids going back to school and I still feel a sense of nervous excitement, but for very different reasons. I’m excited about my kids continuing their education both scholastically and socially, I’m excited about the sports seasons starting up again, and I’m excited to meet their teachers.
I’m also excited about the opportunity to help them achieve their goals, work through challenges, and guide them as they develop a stronger sense of who they are and who they want to become. This got me thinking about the commonalities between teachers, parents and sales managers.
Like great teachers and parents… great sales managers work to help their salespeople achieve their goals, they coach them through challenges, and they encourage them to use their natural talents to develop their skills and achieve success!
The best b2b sales managers have an ability to identify the natural talents innate to their salespeople. And rather than focus on weaknesses, they help them use their talents to reach their goals, overcome challenges, and achieve success. They work diligently to create individual management plans for each salesperson… they don’t create a one size fits all plan for their entire team. In fact, at The Center for Sales Strategy we teach our clients that the most unfair thing a sales manager can do is treat everyone the same. Instead, they should get to know each person on their team to understand what motivates and inspires them, and then use that information to purposefully guide them and help them increase performance.
For example: If you’re a sales manager and you have a talented salesperson on your team who loves to be challenged and is exceptionally good at developing strong relationships, you might consider asking her to take over an important account that needs nurturing and attention. This will make her feel empowered, as she’ll know she was selected because her talents make her the ideal person to mend the relationship and retain the account. She will also find great satisfaction as she works to reestablish a trusted and valued relationship. This satisfaction will feed her appetite for success and motivate her to continue to work hard for your client and your sales organization. In this scenario, everyone wins… your company, your client and your salesperson!
Circling back to the nervous excitement “back to school” creates for both parents and children, it’s important to remember that like salespeople, all kids are different. And making an effort to identify their talents and learn what inspires them and motivates will help them achieve great success.
As a parent, I’ll take my boys back to school hoping that their new teachers will make a strong effort to get to know them as individuals… to purposefully teach them and inspire them throughout the year. With this approach, I know they’ll help my boys experience success… just as great sales managers do with their salespeople.