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Message to Management: Are You Hiring and Forgetting?

MessagetoManagementYou’ll never have a high-performing sales team if you don’t set them up for success.

“I don’t have time to coach, and I don’t have the skills.” That’s what one sales leader told me.

I was dumbfounded.

One of the key skill sets for a sales leader is the ability to coach teams—to increase sales effectiveness by giving reps the training and tools they need to develop client relationships and get deals done.

You Call That Training?

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when salespeople were given a desk, a phone, and a list of names and numbers. Then they were put to work cold calling. And we all know cold calling doesn’t work.

What a waste of time and resources! Think of all the potentially great salespeople who had their spirits broken by following this doomed sales strategy.

There’s been a slight change over the years. New sales reps are now given a smartphone, a laptop, and a password. OK, they’re also given a data dump on product knowledge, how to use the company CRM, and some policies and procedures. Then they’re off to waste time cold calling.

And sales leaders wonder why there’s so much turnover in their sales forces.

Why Are You Ignoring Your Rainmakers?

A similar scenario is true for seasoned salespeople. As sales leaders, we often assume that because these folks have lots of experience and a ton of contacts, they don’t need our help. Plus, we’re paying them a lot, so they’ll figure it out (whatever “it” is).

Problem is, even the most experienced sales reps face challenges in today’s ever-evolving, fast-paced business world.

S. Anthony Iannarino nails the problem—and solution—in his article, “Better Than You Believe (A Note to the Sales Leader.” Here’s a snippet:

The job your salespeople do is more difficult than you think it is. Selling is more difficult now than when you did it. It’s much more challenging, and in some ways, it isn’t the same at all.

Developing relationships isn’t what it used to be. It’s tougher and the need to create more value makes opening new relationships a serious challenge. They are trying harder than you might believe, and they need your help.

Read the rest of the article.

Bottom line: The bar has gone way up for sales leaders to be effective coaches. Your reps need your help. And the better they perform, the better you do.

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2 Responses to Message to Management: Are You Hiring and Forgetting?

  1. Nils Davis says:

    Joanne – a thought-provoking article, especially since I’m starting a product that addresses a similar problem, but among a different segment. Product managers are, if anything, an even more neglected species in the enterprise. We don’t even have a CRM-equivalent. Of course, we don’t have the pressure of going out and making new friends every day, but we are pretty important to the top line of the company. It’s our products that the sales people sell, and when they can’t sell them, it’s usually our fault, not theirs. And yet there is very little training available, almost no mentoring, everyone is just thrown into the job and told to figure it out.

  2. Joanne Black says:

    Hi Nils:

    It’s not only sad, but reprehensible, that management gets away with hiring people and then forgetting them. There’s something very wrong in the way organizations run today.

    Perhaps the only immediate answer is to ask detailed questions during the interview process and learn about the responsibilities of the manager and what’s important to her. (or him) Once hired, it’s ok to ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness. Management needs to understand what you need to be a top performer. After all, your performance is a reflection on management’s performance.

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