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8 Tips for Sales Managers to Correct Their Own Behavior

Josiane Feigon
Jan 20th, 2015
  • Estimated reading time: 4 min read
  • Hummy's
    Highlights

    1Foster a fun, cool, collaborative culture. 2Don't exclusively hire stereotypical extroverts. 3Emphasize social selling, not just outbound.
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Sales Management

Businessman writes leadership word map Photo Credit: Dusit Shutterstock

When their teams don’t meet expectations, managers often just want to press “refresh” and get a whole new team. But sometimes the problem isn’t with the team so much as it is with how the manager is managing.

This is the year for managers to hold off on pressing refresh for their teams and start thinking about correcting their own behavior — especially if they want their reps to stick around for a while.

Here are eight tips to start you off:

1. Move aside

Salespeople are simply tired of their managers rudely getting in the way – Mark Hunter’s clever and still-relevant list of 12 Things Salespeople Would Like to Tell Their Sales Managers is a great place to get some perspective. I especially like this one: “If you want to take control of the sales call, then why don’t you just become a salesperson instead of a sales manager?”

2. Hire “ambiverts”

When it comes to hiring and recruiting talent, managers need to rethink their obsession with extroverts. Daniel Pink famously asserted that extroverts often don’t take time to stop and listen, which is exactly what Customer 2.0 wants. But the introverts are usually incapable of initiating relationships. What to do? Pink introduces us to the “ambiverts,” a balance of the two. They know when to push, when to pull back, and when (and how) to listen.

3. Don’t motivate with cash

In his book, DRIVE: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, Pink says that when it comes to motivating talent, cash isn’t best after all. He found that “when cash incentives are offered in this type of problem solving, it dulls the brain and blocks creativity.” The carrot-and-stick approach to motivation fails to recognize the key motivators for salespeople: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

4. Create a strong, fun company culture

The workplace is about unabashed emotion that wants to connect and belong. The new generation in inside sales is flocking to organizations that have a cool, fun image, highlight company purpose and responsibility, emphasize creativity, and lets them have fun and make friends in the office.

5. Be specific

In a recent study into our self-awareness, researchers found that we have a strong tendency to be flat-out wrong about how others perceive us. In fact, a slim majority of people were found to think of themselves to be almost the opposite of what their peers perceive of them. And that extends to their coaching and feedback sessions, too. They may seem like they hear you, yet later they act like you were on the moon during your last meeting.

Tip: Be specific! Be sure your feedback isn’t only about abstract sales concepts and practices. If you want to see new behavior, be specific about what needs to change and why it will help your young reps appear more convincing to their prospects and appear more proactive at work.

6. Encourage collaboration

Seran Piantino, Facebook New York’s new site manager, recently said that at Facebook their coders often came up with the best ideas by being allowed to work on side projects and bounce them off co-workers until they have something convincing to show their bosses. It’s a lesson seen in Google and some other major tech companies, including Salesforce.

In sales, side projects might not make much sense. But encouraging reps to bounce ideas off of each other and learn from their coworkers is not only a great way to foster community and collaboration (remember those Millennials’ preferences?), but independence and confidence, too. Plus, natural leaders may very well emerge from the sales floor and be prime candidates for sales management.

7. Stop throwing wrenches into the social selling machine

Last year, I wrote about 2013 being the year that Inside Sales takes LinkedIn SERIOUSLY and listed 7 reasons why social sales adoption was sluggish. Well…here we are in 2014 and sales managers are still cringing when it comes to social selling. Managers need to create a social media prospecting blueprint, get their team on LinkedIn, and create some Social Blitz Campaigns. Most of all, set an example yourself! Way too many sales leaders blow off social media and you can’t teach what you don’t know.

8. Pick metrics that motivate

Metrics are another wrench here, with many organizations maintaining old-school, super-high outbound call metrics that don’t reflect Customer 2.0 realities. They discourage social selling activities, content nurturing, and other Sales 2.0 tactics in favor of hitting an outbound call number. With ever-dwindling phone connect rates, throwing your entire effort into outbound calls is not only bad for quota attainment, but extremely bad for motivation.

So what do you think? Do you have any additional tips for correcting your own behavior as a manager? Share with me in the comments!

This article was written by Josiane Feigon and published on the Salesforce blog.

Josiane Feigon is the CEO of TeleSmart, a provider of inside sales training and coaching. She has trained 20-thousand-plus salespeople and still counting.

Consistently recognized among The Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals, Feigon is one of the world’s leading experts on inside sales team and management talent.

With 100,000+ customers, salesforce.com is the enterprise cloud computing company that is leading the shift to the socially connected businesses.