I recently caught up with my friend, world-class sales leader, and President US Enterprise Commercial at Microsoft, Matt Renner to chat about a new sales leadership book I’m working on.
Here are a few nuggets you/your management team might find of interest…
ADOPT A COACH APPROACH & BECOME A SERVANT LEADER
◆ To build a high-performance team and get the most out of your people, you must adopt a coach approach and become a servant leader. As Matt told me, “You have got to be in the business to direct the business. You have got to be there as a servant and coach to your teams to provide value, assessing, and trying to understand how you can add value.”
BUILD TRUST – BE AUTHENTIC
◆ Trust and authenticity are two of the most important tenets of leadership. If you want your team to follow you, you have to invest the time to earn their trust and be authentic to who you are as a person. Make sure that your team feels that you trust them, care about them, and genuinely have their best interests in mind.
KEEP SPAN OF CONTROL IN CONTROL
◆ To get the most out of your people, you have to develop a coaching culture. To develop a coaching culture you have to keep the span of control in control to maximize field engagement and ongoing coaching/development. While the ideal span of control depends on the complexity of your product, sales process, etc.—the target range should be +/- 6:1. Anything close to double-digits is too high and will result in low-engagement, high turn-over, and sub-optimal employee performance.
THE JOB OF A SALES LEADER
◆ When it comes to sales leadership, as you ascend from FLM to second-line on up the management hierarchy—the core responsibilities of the job more or less remain the same (i.e. recruit talent, have a strategy, engage with your team, optimize execution, promote accountability…)—what changes are the percentages as far as how you allocate your time. For example, field engagement and customer visits should be higher for FLMs than they are for second-line managers. (Note: Even at Matt’s level he still sets a weekly goal of having at least 15 customer/partner meetings per week.)
BE MINDFUL OF DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
◆ While a decade ago, the focus was primarily on recruiting the best talent—period. Today it’s important to be mindful of balance when it comes to the composition of your team from a diversity and inclusion perspective. While each individual person might be the best hire for a particular role, the question we (as leaders) should be asking is—will this group of people make the best team?
Your employees and your customers are always watching what you do. Make sure that your actions are setting the right tone and sending the right message for the type of team you want to build, the type of organization you want to represent, and the type of leader you want to become.
Hope this is helpful. Stay tuned for more…