Saturday, July 19, 2014

Success and Failure - Building a Sales Culture Where Sales People Want to Be

In sales and specifically in sales leadership what does success look like? Yes success is attaining the financial targets we have, but what else?Success must be more than an event for individuals to aspire to. Success must become part of who they are - part of their DNA. Part of how they act and carry themselves. The confidence that comes with success is essential of a sales person to build solid rapport with their client. Success must become an essential part of the Team. It must become a way of operating, an expectation that is held by every sales person and sales manager on our Teams.Success becomes an intrinsic component of every individual. However, so too does the response to failure. In order for a Team and an individual to grow, they must experience both success and failure.The important thing in this, however, is how the organization, leader, and individual respond to the failure. Do they see this as an opportunity to learn and better their craft? Can they put aside ego and feel comfortable sharing it?Sales is competitive. Success equals payment; failure equals missed opportunity. How then do we, as enlightened leaders build a sales culture where we can encourage sharing of the traps we have fallen into in order to grow the overall knowledge of the organization and provide others the benefit from our experience? Is this a function of the comfort level of the team with their Leader? Or is this cultural dynamic a larger organizational drive?On an individual level we must determine not only the strengths and weaknesses of our team members, but also their unique motivation. Like a maestro playing the orchestra, a Leader must use the right instrument at the right time. The instruments themselves need to be 'in tune'. Tuning the instruments (motivating the staff) is contingent upon knowing each person - their likes, dislikes, dreams and goals - extremely well.

At a micro level how the person feels determines their success. We all make decisions based on emotion and the. Proceed to justify the decision with logic.Fear is one such motivator. Some Leaders lean heavily upon this particular emotion. But fear is subtracting from the Team - leeching energy at every turn. Fear grows and build upon itself until it creates deep crevasses in the Team and becomes a trap that the Team can fall into and cause fragmentation in the Team structure. Yes, in this case the manager/leader may make their targets but it will be upon the broken backs (and spirits) of their Team.Recall Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Basic needs must be met before 'higher level' needs can be attained. Ignoring this with our Teams will result in a combative, divisive, nest of vipers as Team members position to be the favourites of the Leader.I also believe that one emotion we, as leaders, do not capitalize on enough is the need to belong. The need to be part of something special and to be able to point to an achievement with pride and say, 'I was part of that.'Of course compensation is also a critical piece of the puzzle. This, however, is merely a function of appropriate goaling. At the same time, most salespeople need to see and feel the link between hard work and results and recognition. Recognition and Celebration is a topic that is typically left behind as organizations look at motivating Sales Teams. By this, I don't mean the Presidents Club or other corporate award, but simple consistent recognition for the normal work as well as the extraordinary. For the individual that consistently hits 'base hits' or steps out of their comfort zone to share some pertinent learning. A clear strategy and tactical plan on this front will build morale and add significantly to the sense of Team.

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