"You now understand that the frontline sales management role is one of the absolute toughest jobs on the planet."
Today there are many “sales experts” out there all preaching how sales has changed and sharing their “new tools” for sales success. In his newest book, Sales Management. Simplified., Mike Weinberg brings us back to the basics of sales and sales management. Weinberg is an author, speaker, the President of The New Sales Coach and is, quite simply, a sales pro.
He had two goals in writing this book: to bluntly share the reasons few sales organizations exhibit the characteristics of a winning sales culture, and to give sales leaders a framework they can adopt to create a dramatic sales performance. Weinberg provides sales leaders with an actionable framework on all matters relating to sales management. If you’re a sales leader, buckle up baby!
A healthy sales culture changes everything
"Everything flows from culture. Culture is everything."
Culture is defined as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization. I believe wholeheartedly that culture is the ultimate competitive advantage in business today and Weinberg makes the case that’s even more so within a sales team. To start off, he asks leaders to think about the following questions related to their sales culture:
- What are the predominant shared attitudes across the sales organization, including the sales managers?
- Could your team members articulate agreed-upon shared values? If so, what are they?
- Which shared practices are hallmarks of your sales team?
- Is there an accepted, understood, and enforced way of thinking and behaving that characterizes your salespeople?
Moving on, Weinberg talks about a dream sales culture that he worked with a number of years back. It’s powerful so I’ll let you read it for yourself:
“The culture at this company truly was its key differentiator and competitive advantage. It also clearly dictated the shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices of the sales organization: We are elite. We strive to dominate the competition. We keep score and constantly look at and talk about the scoreboard – in the hallways, in our team meetings, and when we meet 1:1. We are loud and proud. We have each other’s’ backs. We have fun. We are careful about who we add to this team because we have something very special and we guard it protectively. We come to team meetings with great attitudes, expecting to participate. We check our ego and pride at the door. We tease each other in a good natured way because we’re like family; we have very high standards and, most important, we want everyone to win. In fact, we expect to win. When we flop in practice we get called out because it is not acceptable to flop in the real game. We believe in pushing each other hard and telling each other the truth. And when we win big, we celebrate big.”
Culture is the most important piece of the sales puzzle. It enables you to drive results in a way that few other organizations will be able to contend with, ultimately giving you a palpable competitive edge!
Regular 1:1’s will transform your sales culture
"How often do you formally meet 1:1 with each of your people?"
Over the course of his sales coaching/consulting career, Weinberg always asks his clients: one question: “How often do you have a formal scheduled meeting (either by phone or face to face) with each salesperson specifically to review their results and their pipeline of future sales opportunities?”
Most often, the responses he gets involves a bit of stuttering combined with a lengthy circular answer. Holding these 1:1 meetings are critical for individual, team and organizational sales success. Through a story of his former sales manager and consulting partner, the author offers us a framework for conducting these 20 minute meetings. The following is his Sales Management Accountability Progression:
- Results – As leaders, if we want to build a results-focused sales culture, then we had better be talking about results every opportunity we get. The purpose here is to review past results and ensure that the salesperson will have good future results.
- Pipeline – While we can’t change the past, we certainly can affect the future. Here you want to conduct a quick overview of their pipeline. The big question you’re looking to answer is does the salesperson have enough going on for them to hit their sales goals in upcoming months? You’re not looking to do a deep dive into the status of every opportunity. You’re simply reviewing the overall health of their individual pipeline.
- Activity – You may or may not need to address this piece as much based on the discussions from questions #1 and 2. Essentially, we’re trying to get a sense of where the sales person is spending their time. Two great questions to ask are:
- Can you name for me the new opportunities that are in your pipeline today that were not here when we met last month? In other words, can you tell me what fresh opportunities you have identified or created in the past month?
- Can you name for me the existing opportunities that you moved forward in the sales process since we reviewed your pipeline together last month?
Through this framework, sales managers can help to create a results driven culture that is critical for individual and team sales success!
Productive sales meetings align, equip, and energize the team
"Sales team meetings are critical to building a winning culture."
Team sales meetings are vitally important to building a winning sales culture. Weinberg states that the goal for these meetings should “be for every salesperson to leave the team meeting better equipped and more energized to do their jobs.” A major struggle for sales leaders is how they can make these meetings more meaningful. The author offers us a menu of potential agenda topics for us to consider:
- Personal Updates
- Review Sales Results and Highlight Outstanding Performance
- Success Stories
- Product Training
- Best Practice Sharing
- Deal Strategy Brainstorming Session
- Executive or Other Department Guest Presentation
- Book or Blog Review
- Sales Skill Coaching/Training
- Business Plan Presentation (or Review)
- Brief, Controlled Bitch Session
- Non-Sales Related Inspiration
These meetings give leadership the opportunity to set the tone for their team and to establish a winning sales culture.
As is discussed throughout, the role of the Sales Manager is critical to overall organizational success. Fortunately for sales leaders, they have amazing resources like Mike Weinberg. Sales Management. Simplified. provides sales leaders with the necessary frameworks to succeed in all areas of Sales Management. Early in the book Weinberg shares with us these two powerful quotes:
- “As goes the leader, so goes the organization.”
- “The level of the team rarely, if ever, exceeds the level of the leader.”
I’d like you to take a moment and think about those… Now go be the leader your sales team needs you to be! Good luck and happy selling!