In this episode of “True Confessions of a Sales Leader,” we look at how being vulnerable and building self-awareness can make better sales leaders and ultimately sales teams. Our guest is Mike Porter, chief sales officer at NAVEX Global. Mike joins me and Gary Brashear, managing partner of The Olsen Group.
As Covid starts to wind down (we hope) how will your sales teams work? Will there be travel involved? Back to offices? And, more importantly, as a sales leader, where is your team’s head space right now? What are the next steps to coaching them and helping them— and yourself—grow to meet today’s unique selling challenges?
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Key Highlights from the Podcast
Here are four key takeaways if you prefer reading:
1- Bring your experience as a salesperson
Many great sales leaders were also great salespeople but all not great salespeople make great sales leaders. When they move from an individual contributing role to a leading role, many leaders tend to go back to what made them successful, like being a solid dealmaker. Bring your skills, of course, but also tune into what your team brings and how to enhance specific capabilities needed for each sales person to achieve their goals ( e.g., coach them on questioning, handling objections, prospecting, etc.).
2- Use self-awareness to grow
You may think (and rightfully so!) you’ve built a solid team, have motivated them, helped them understand cross-group coordination. However, one day, feedback, whether it’s negative or positive, from a team member might prove otherwise. It’s important to keep having those ah-ha moments. For example, maybe you’re intense, focused on the numbers. Add some levity and make sure you come across as approachable. Self-awareness forces us to look at our own challenges but also teaches how to improve ourselves.
3- You can’t avoid the (in)famous flight risk
You’re one of the few sales leaders who provide consistent high quality coaching. You’ve built a great team but now some of them have defected to a better role elsewhere. Coaching people to build their skills, and then having them leave can happen. It’s hard to lose a top performer to that next step in their career. The benefit? Most of your team wants to stay because you’ve built credibility and you’re helping them grow, plus you’ll attract sales people who want to learn and excel as well.
4- Develop an 80/20 document
This is a great tool and can be as simple as a one-pager. Communicate 80% of the document on how you work with a sales team, what excites you, things you’re passionate about, your strengths, or even what triggers you. The other 20%? There will be time to work that out, time spent working together will reveal that. Don’t make your team members guess how to work with you. Have new sales managers write their own 80/20 document, too. It helps provide self awareness and a way to teach team members how to treat you—and vice versa.
Interested in creating your own 80/20 document, click here for a template.
Here's a snippet where Mike Porter discusses how leaders can minimize their blind spots.
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Scott Olsen and Gary Brashear shares highlights from each podcast episode designed to help sales leaders like you and your sales teams develop the skills, systems and culture that leads to sustained and significant results.