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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Tirzah Thornburg

Recent Posts by Tirzah Thornburg:

Pre-Boarding Ideas for New Hires

Pre-Boarding Ideas for New Hires

Years ago, companies gave little to no thought to pre-boarding— engaging with a new hire between the time they accept your offer and their first day. Once a candidate was hired, they were given a firm handshake and a start date. 

As a relatively new concept that often gets confused with the traditional onboarding process, pre-boarding is completed before an employee’s first day and includes informal interactions between the company and the new hire. It’s a crucial step in the onboarding journey that has a lasting impact on employee engagement and retention.

Topics: onboarding pre-boarding

What New Hires Want During Onboarding

What New Hires Want During Onboarding

Fortune Magazine reports that 46% of new sales employees leave or get fired within 18 months. Additionally, the average ramp-up time for salespeople is between six and nine months. Both alarming statistics that cost your company a lot of revenue.

What are new hires looking for to make their first days and weeks successful in sales? When talking with several new hires, there are interesting commonalities that resonate across multiple companies. Take a look at how you can help minimize the risk of an early departure, accelerate ramp-up time, and maximize the investment you’re making in sales new hires by giving them what they want.

Topics: Talent sales process onboarding

Improve Performance Through Better Communication: Create a User Guide

Improve Performance Through Better Communication: Create a User GuideAt one time or another, we’ve all wished that people came with an instruction manual. A guide that answered questions no one thinks to ask and provides information we often forget to share. Every big-ticket, important, valuable item comes with instructions. Why are people any different?  

The beauty of humanity is that we’re all unique. However, our differences often lead to frustration, miscommunication, lack of productivity, and can even end up threatening our job performance. How can you bypass miscommunication and anxiety? Develop a personal user guide!

Topics: sales performance user manual team work

Redefining Work-Life Balance in Sales

Redefining Work-Life Balance in Sales

What does the term work-life balance mean to you? The standard definition for most of us is the time we allocate to work versus the time allocated to everything else, such as family, personal pursuits, social, and leisure activities. According to HubSpot Research, one-third of salespeople say their job negatively affects their personal life, and one-half admit they need to improve their work-life balance. Another one in three say there is no work-life balance.

Most people understand the concept of work-life balance but find it hard to define what an acceptable balance is. The “right amount of work” versus the “right amount of family time” varies greatly based on individual lifestyles. Salespeople hear the term work-life balance from colleagues and managers on a daily basis, but what does work-life balance mean? It’s common for leaders and their direct reports to have different definitions of the term, and therefore very different expectations.

Topics: company culture work-life balance sales managers

Creating a Company Culture that Your Employees Will Buy Into

getting employees to buy-in to company cultureOver the last few years, company culture has been a hot topic in corporate America. Companies geared towards Millennials tout game rooms and espresso machines, and most companies are having serious discussions about how to create the right atmosphere. Ask any manager trying to recruit talent, and they will tell you that culture matters. A few bad reviews on an employment website, and talent will look right past your company for one with a “great culture.” So how do you create the right culture to attract top talent? And more importantly, how do you get your current employees, and most importantly, your leaders, to buy into that culture?

Topics: company culture

One Key to Hiring Superstar Sales Talent? Know Your Management Style.

hiring superstar talentI spend a lot of time giving pre-hire feedback to managers about candidates. We discuss managing strengths and coaching weaknesses. We talk about how strengths and weaknesses can work together or can tug in opposite directions. 

At the end of each conversation, it's my sincere hope that the hiring manager has a well-rounded view of their candidate and how they will “fit” or “don't fit” in a position. But there is another question that needs to be asked. Does the candidate also fit the manager? 

Topics: hiring salespeople sales management coaching

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Talent?

can you have too much sales talentDuring a recent feedback session, I had a new hire ask what was potentially the most insightful question I have ever heard on one of these calls. She asked me if her intense talents, of which she had several, could get in her way. I was highly impressed with her insight because, yes, very strong talents can sometimes trip up a salesperson. When I mentioned a few possible obstacles, she agreed with each and said that she had in fact faced all of those. We then brainstormed how she could work with those talents but limit how they slowed her down. This conversation got me thinking...  Is there such a thing as too much talent?

Topics: sales management Talent

How to Help Your Perfectionist Thrive

helping a perfectionist thrive in salesMy daughter is learning how to drive, and it's been an interesting lesson on what the world looks like to a perfectionist. She has pretty much been a perfectionist since birth, missing recess in kindergarten to make sure her coloring was perfectly inside the lines, and drawing eyelashes and fingernails on her pictures when the other kids drew stick figures. Now, she is driving, and it takes 10 minutes to get the seat, mirrors, steering column, etc., in just the right spots. She has never driven over the speed limit, and most of the time is well-under because going over isn’t the right way to do it. She has to make sure the radio is turned off, everyone’s devices are turned off or silenced, and all distractions in the car are eliminated. And of course, as my driving is far from perfect, I hear lots of advice on how I should be doing things. It's been an interesting adventure, but has also given me a lot of insight into the mind of a perfectionist.

Most sales managers also have one or two people on their team that fall into this "perfectionist" category

Topics: sales management coaching

The Ghosts of Managers Past

ghosts of managers pastYour new hire has had great success in the past, but they don’t seem able to hit the ground running.  You look at their talent assessment, and they should have tons of confidence and enthusiasm, but the reality is, they are a little unsure, hesitant, and they keep to themselves. What happened?! You may be dealing with the ghosts of managers past.

Topics: sales management Talent coaching

Pay Attention to Your Superstars, but Don’t Forget Your Rock Stars

superstar and rock star sellersAs a department project, our group read the book Radical Candor by Kim Scott. Everyone had a different primary takeaway, but the one that stuck with me was the difference between Superstars and Rock Stars.

What's the Difference between a Superstar and a Rock Star?

Most managers know the definition of a Superstar. They are usually your one or two top performers, who are hardworking, ambitious, great at what they do, expect to be paid that way, and love the accolades.

But what about your Rock Stars? Rock Stars were defined as your steady performers. Not flashy, not necessarily your top performers, but the ones you can count on. Steady as a rock. Both groups are vital to a sales team. In fact, most companies would fall apart without Rock Stars, but usually, only the Superstars get the attention. Why? And why should you care?

Topics: sales management sales culture