Sales management is tough. On top of the economic uncertainties and dynamic changes in the market they need to deal with, sales leaders must also grapple with people issues like employee turnover, waning engagement, and time pressures that get in the way of onboarding, training, and coaching.
When sales leaders are especially time-starved and overwhelmed, I often share something I once heard Naval Ravikant (investor and entrepreneur) say that stayed with me. He said, “Don’t let the complexity of the world distract you from the simplicity of your goals.”
When managers focus on their goals and the strategies designed to achieve them, it can clear away the clutter in a powerful way!
There is no goal more deserving of a sales leader’s attention than the growth of their people because it has a direct impact on sales performance and revenue generation. It starts with the growth of each individual and compounds into the performance improvement of the whole organization.
Want a road map to make it happen?
Use the Growth Formula: (Talent + Fit) X Investment = Growth.
We’ll break down the key elements of this formula and discuss how you can unlock the full potential of your team and achieve remarkable results.
The Growth Formula begins with talent because it is the foundation of high-performing sales teams. To improve their performance, sales leaders should consider the following strategies:
Build a talent bank: Instead of only recruiting when there's an open position, proactively search for top talent even when you’re not actively hiring. This approach ensures a ready pool of qualified candidates when you need them and reduces the time a seat remains vacant, allowing for a seamless transition when a position becomes available.
Seek excellence, not just competence: During the hiring process, focus on identifying candidates with the potential for excellence rather than settling for those who merely meet the basic job requirements. Search for candidates who think, feel, and behave like sales superstars and hold out for those who have the innate strengths that are proven to lead to performance excellence in the job.
While talent is foundational, it is not valuable unless the fit is right. Your talents for hook shots and dunking a basketball do not make you right for the open lineman position on my football team. For sustained success, hiring managers must also get the fit right. Here are some ways to do that:
Consider how a job candidate fits with your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as your management style. For example, if you enjoy problem-solving, brainstorming, and the more creative side of sales, you may not mind bringing a seller on board who struggles in these areas. If that isn’t what you enjoy doing, or you simply don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to that kind of work, you need to ensure every hire you make has the innate ability to excel at that.
Think about the accounts you would assign and how the salesperson might align with their unique needs. Does this account require a lot of nurturing and relationship development? If so, that will call on a different set of talents than if the account requires a strong negotiator and persuasion. You always want to put the right work in the right hands to achieve top-level performance.
Make sure there’s a cultural fit. A strong cultural fit is essential for long-term employee engagement and success. Assess how your candidates align with the dynamics of the team and your organization's mission, values, and working environment. If you have ever joined a group that was all wrong for you, you know that only when the fit is right can you feel a strong sense of belonging, commitment, and engagement.
When you get both the talent and the fit right, the Investment you make in your people will go a long way. A talented, well-placed employee can grow up to ten times with training, coaching, and practice!
Establish comprehensive pre-boarding and onboarding programs to ensure your new hires have a clear understanding of their role, the organization's expectations, and the resources available to them. Well-designed onboarding programs create instant engagement, launch powerful relationships, and set the stage for long-term success.
Commit to ongoing training and coaching initiatives to nurture the skills and capabilities of your sellers. Regular skill-building sessions, role-playing exercises, and effective feedback are essential for refining techniques, boosting confidence, and improving overall performance.
Create a thriving culture to drive sales performance. A healthy culture fuels strong employee engagement and individual growth, which drives performance. Boost your culture by encouraging knowledge sharing, recognizing good work, celebrating collaboration, and empowering your people. Never underestimate the return on your investment in employee engagement!
When you maximize each variable in the Growth Formula, your employees will flourish, and your sales organization will grow.
As a sales leader, you are forced to contend with a lot of factors that are out of your control. The good news is that growing your people and, ultimately, your team’s sales performance is completely within your sphere of influence.
You play a critical role in driving the success of your teams, and by focusing on the Growth Formula, you can unlock the full potential of your people and improve your performance.