You are a working sales manager. Your salespeople see you in the trenches right by their side. You hustle and grind with them. You are flexible and perhaps even benevolent.
You have their backs perhaps even to the point where you let it slide when they don't use that expensive CRM software very much (or at all) or make the calls they should be making to deliver the quarter.
You remember that one time they slayed it and they remember how much you care.
But that is not what I mean by "sense care".
What I mean is, do your salespeople sense that you actually have meaningful standards that are non-negotiable?
Or are you so nice that everything is negotiable?
"Fanatacism of just really caring to get something right whether you are gonna see it or not. We do that for each other." - Jony Ive.
Jony Ive is the Chief Design Officer of Apple. Like Steve Jobs was, Ive is so much more than just a living modern day design god. Ive's standards are extremely high.
Check out the following 90 second video clip featuring Jony Ive.
Watch it once or twice more. Marinate your mindset. Your mindset impacts everything.
Ive's video comments are transcribed following.
"I think one of the things that you get a sense of is the degree of care. How much did this group of people care to make this and make it right? And they didn't do it for themselves. It's in service to the people that are gonna use or buy their products.
The humanity of that I think is extraordinary.
But I do think... How something's finished on the inside. I mean you can argue that you will never see that. But I think we believe and it is very difficult to explain why but I think part of the human condition is that we sense care. And sometimes its easier to realize you sense carelessness.
We are surrounded - our manufactured environment - so much of it testifies to a complete lack of care.
That's not about your attitude towards an object. It's about your attitude to each other.
And so I think that sort of commitment and passion becomes fanaticism of just really caring to get something right whether you are gonna to see it or not. We do that for eachother."
What do you do for your sales team?
Standards impact the bottom line.
Samsung "captured" 14.6 percent of global smartphone profits while holding 20.8 percent of global marketshare.
Apple's brilliant sustained success is due to an adherence to fantatical standards.
Apple has legions of raving fans who sense Apple's care.
What are your standards? Are they negotiable?
Take a hard look at how you lead / manage your sales team.
Now is the time for frank self reflection.
- Does it seem easy to get on your sales team?
- Is your onboarding structured or ad hoc?
- Do you hold salespeople accountable?
- Do you honor the greatness in every sales team member?
- Do you encourage the pursuit of the hopes and dreams of each sales team member?
- Do your salespeople push one another to be / do their best work?
How would you grade yourself?
What areas need the most improvement?
What is possible when you improve these areas?
Does it seem easy to get on your sales team?
Ask a recent sales hire, "How easy / difficult did it seem to get on our bus relative to previous sales roles?"
Brace yourself for their response.
How do salespeople act if they feel the company they work for is easy to land a job?
Mindset is everything.
- Is your interview process structured?
- Do you conduct multiple interviews?
- Do you require the completion of a valid sales personality assessment?
The easier it seems to get on your sales team, the less your new sales hires will sense care.
The more difficult it is to get on your sales team, the more your new sales hires will sense care.
Salespeople act accordingly.
Is your onboarding structured or ad hoc?
Onboarding begins during the sales hiring process whether you realize it or not.
If your sales hiring process is unstructured, your candidates will sense it and act accordingly if offered the sales role.
Onboarding is so much more than merely showing new hires where the office supplies are located and signing the HR policy manual. Solid onboarding sets the tone for new sales hires that shapes their mindset.
Onboarding during the sales hiring process both accelerates and increases long-term sales performance.
Good onboarding sets expectations for the new sales hire regarding required sales activities, CRM adoption and ethics.
Do not waste this powerful opportunity to set the desired tone from the very beginning of your relationship. Help your salespeople sense care by how your onboard.
Do you hold your salespeople accountable?
- Set the standard for proper behaviors?
- Purposefully engage salespeople who do not behave / live up to the standards of the sales team?
- Ensure salespeople consistently engage in the appropriate activities mix leading to sales outcomes?
- Have the guts to remove a salesperson who violates your standards?
- Enforce more than one set of rules; one set of rules for the chosen few and another, more harsh set of rules for the majority?
There is no grey area here. You either hold salespeople accountable or you do not.
Do you honor the unique greatness in every sales team member?
Every sales team member has greatness inside. No exceptions.
You will be unable to honor the greatness in every sales team member if your ego is in the way.
While you may believe you know your salespeople well, chances are you do not truly know each salesperson as well as you could and should. Realize that you "see" each salesperson through your eyes which are unconsciously-clouded by your biases, mindset and experiences.
And because you are boss, your salespeople will likely posture when they believe you are paying attention.
Strategic CEOs and those in sales management who truly care about each human being and contributor understand how to engage and coach the unique greatness in each sales team member.
The late Bill Bonnstetter once said, "Coaching without a valid multi-science sales personality test is malpractice." Bill was spot on. It is impossible to honor the unique greatness in each salesperson unless you objectively understand:
- Behavioral Style (how they do what they do).
- Driving Forces (why they do what they do).
This type of knowledge is good power that can move the human spirit to do great things.
Do you encourage the pursuit of hopes and dreams of each sales team member?
"Hopes and dreams."
You probably don't have time for fluffy stuff, right? Better things to do?
There is little more important than understanding and encouraging the pursuit of hopes and dreams.
The more you understand the hopes and dreams of each sales team member AND encourage them, the more you will engage their hearts. The more you engage their hearts, the harder they will work to achieve their dreams and the greater the coming celebration.
This is time well-invested. Slow down to speed up. Help each sales team member visualize their future; that trip, house, college fund, and / or investment. The more vividly your sales team members visualize their hopes and dreams, the greater the likelihood they will reach for and achieve it.
Do your Sales Wolves push one another to do their best work?
Iron sharpens iron.
Your future top-performing sales team members (Sales Wolves) best learn sales tactics from existing high-performing Sales Wolves. Remember, "iron sharpes iron". A Sales Wolf can "smell" a fellow Sales Wolf as easily as smelling a poser.
Wolves LOVE competition and LOATHE mediocrity.
Help your Sales Wolves sense care by only hiring the best salespeople who light up every area of your Sales Hiring Scorecard.
Standards, flourishing and floundering.
There is nothing caring about being nice. If you want your sales team to know you care, set standards and hold fast to them.
There is nothing nice about a sales team that is unprepared to outsell the competition and lacks standards.
True artisans, true strategic CEOs and sales managers who care carefully design their sales teams from the ground up. They carefully love their sales teams by setting high standards and expectations.
Your legacy is being shaped at this very moment whether you like it or not.
Changing nothing is just as much a decision as deciding to make incremental improvements in sales hiring, systems and culture.
Be bold. Develop standards that raise the bar incrementally. Then your sales team members will truly sense care and act accordingly.