As a seller, your job was to deliver results. You were measured by and rewarded for performance. Your priority was to reach your sales quotas.
As you ascend the career ladder, you have increasingly greater degrees of responsibility for results.
And, sometimes frustratingly, your continued success relies on how you produce results as much as the results themselves.
Your responsibility for results is clear – the company’s senior executives and board members review the numbers produced by your sales team and hold you accountable. But what about the overall development of your sales team?
With the emphasis on results plus the accolades and rewards you’ve received for producing results, you may be singularly focused on the numbers, the volumes, the productivity, and the bottom line. That’s understandable. But it isn’t the only thing you need to be looking at.
Sales Team Development: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
As a Sales Manager, you may not realize how profoundly your role has shifted from selling.
If you’re just doing more of the same thing you did as a seller (delivering results, making your goals), you’re operating with a short-term perspective that will have long-term consequences.
The people who assess your performance and consider you for promotions are looking for more than just results. They’re also looking for internalization of company values, taking initiative to improve company culture, and how you use your role as a leader to sustainably increase productivity and employee engagement. All of these things fall under your responsibilities for sales team development.
If you want to continue up the ladder, you need to make a shift to thinking about the “right way” as much as you think about the “right results.”
Right Results vs. Right Way
The right results are self-explanatory. They’re clearly defined for you during budgeting, and you are reminded of them with each daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly report you receive.
The right way, however, may be a bit ambiguous. That’s precisely why it requires your attention.
The right way for you and your company depends on your circumstances. In short, it refers to the way business is conducted.
- Business practices
- Demonstration of company values
- How people treat one another in the workplace
And so much more.
Use this box model as a way to think about your job:
When you give equal weight to both dimensions, you can evaluate your current condition. There are only four possibilities, and each one gives you direction about your next steps.
Option A: Right Way + Right Results
Obviously, the box you’d like to be in is the one in the upper right-hand corner.
This is getting the right results the right way. The numbers look good. Sellers on your team are representing the company appropriately. Values are intact. Customers are happy.
You are building for the future, and it shows on paper today and will show in the future, too, as you are operating from a solid position.
Option B: Wrong Way + Wrong Results
Just as obvious is the lower left-hand corner. This is the box you don’t want to be in. Ever.
It’s getting the wrong results and doing business the wrong way. Corporate malfeasance has put many large companies into this box, and we’re all familiar with those scandals.
On a smaller scale, companies and managers find themselves in this box when they treat employees and/or customers poorly and this leads to an erosion of market share.
The other two boxes are where most sales managers are likely to find themselves.
Option C: Right Results + Wrong Way
You may be getting the right results but doing so in a wrong way.
This happens, for example, when a sales team cuts rates and makes deals to get the top-line revenue they’re accountable for. They get the right results. But the wrong way of doing so affects the bottom line and conditions buyers to hold out for a discount every time they do business with you.
There’s a short-term gain (results) with a long-term pain.
Option D: Wrong Results + Right Way
Finally, you might be getting the wrong results but doing business in the right way.
Perhaps you’re not hitting target numbers because you invested time in intensive sales training and coaching. You knew it would take sellers off the street, but you also recognized that the skill level wasn’t going to improve unless you offered this support.
You chose what you considered to be the right way because you felt it would drive the right long-term results. Well-trained and coached sellers make more sales and retain more customers.
Your company’s values also say you care about your employees, so you decided to act in alignment with those values.
The Right Way Drives the Right Results
Doing things the right way makes it easier to produce the right results. And to keep producing them. It’s a dangerous tightrope to walk if you’re not doing things the right way.
Forcing the right results the wrong way will affect you, your team, and your career advancement.
Here’s how to make the right way happen:
- Define the “right way” in detail
- Communicate what it is in context
- Set expectations around it
- Encourage those who abide by it
Don’t let situational anxiety derail you from doing business the right way. Short-term solutions driven by revenue pressure or other variables will likely cost you more in the long run.
Which approach have you taken in the past? What has been the cost or the benefit when you’ve prioritized right results? When you’ve prioritized right way? Which one do you think is more important and how does your belief guide your day-to-day decisions? When you’re ready to work with a certified executive coach to get the Right Results the Right Way, contact People First Productivity Solutions.