Eduttainable Idea #1
Ongoing management is imperative for sales teams to perform optimally. Without clearly defined targets it can be easy for any sales representative or team to run astray. Kevin Higgins vividly illustrates through storytelling and statistical proof how coaching delivers the consistent results organizations need to help their sales reps exceed quota. The book identifies four types of performers for ongoing management. High, coachable, tough and poor performers make up the four categories that sales managers can expect to coach. High performers are those who consistently exceed quota and are your top earners. They are high performers because they perform in line with the values of the organization, put forth the most effort and are diligent about following process. Coachable performers as the name would suggest are practicing the correct behaviours but the results aren’t quite where the organization would expect them to be. Tough performers deliver results but their behaviour makes him a challenge to work with. They may perform well at times but their values are not always in line with the organizations. Lastly, poor performers may be likeable, however, the results don’t meet expectations and their behaviour reflects an unwillingness to change. If team members are not being measured, they are not being managed. In the event that sales representatives fall into either coachable, tough or poor; candid conversations need to be had in order to drive performance. With a coachable team player, they will go above and beyond to clearly demonstrate that they are ready to change not by words but by action. Extra effort is really the key measure of a coachable performer. The questions you need to be asking is are they putting in the extra effort? When it comes to tough performers, they can make a sales manager’s job difficult. The difficulty rests in the regret that may come from letting them go. They may have performed well at times and then slipped. When this becomes a trend, as hard as it is, the right decision is likely to let them go. In many cases they will often be better off because of it.
Eduttainable Idea #2
One-on-one’s are the bread and butter of an organizations sales success. All one-on-one’s are not created equally. In a survey conducted by Fusion Learning, they found that only 40% of one-on-one’s were viewed as valuable by the participants. This is largely do to the lack of structure in traditional one-on-one’s. If a one-on-one meeting lacks structure, it can be a waste of time for both the sales manager and the sales representatives. Out of respect for both parties and the integrity of the organization it is key that one on one’s need to be run systematically to be both efficient and produce results. A key problem with one-on-one’s is that sales reps often come prepared with a “good story” to tell their manager. If they are not doing well for whatever reason, a story is created to justify their poor results. Because sales managers know that sales reps will be feeding them good stories, they view one-on-one’s as a necessary evil. Without confidence that a one-on-one meeting will drive results, in many organizations one-on-one’s often get overlooked as they are not given the level of importance that they should. Kevin discusses the idea of a “people day”. A day in the calendar dedicated specifically to meeting with key people in the organization. This day is not for client meetings but for internal people focused meetings. By setting aside time to simply focus on people it sets the tone for placing high value on these key meetings. The three key elements of a world-class one-on-one meeting are; a standard agenda, preparation by the manager, and an employee file folder. The simplicity of the system is what makes is so effective. A standard form ensures that all one-on-one’s efficiently follow the same process. Preparation by the manager ensures that time will be well spent and focused. The employee file folder serves as a tool for measurable improvement and preparation. The one-on-one form is a simple one page document. The book provides a template that can be used in your sales organization. The key to one-on-one’s is to break them down and make them efficient, process oriented and results driven. Understanding that one on ones are extremely valuable to an organization sales success places the impetus on the manager and sales rep to make sure that they are executed effectively.
10,000 feet view
Overall, I found “Engage Me” to be an excellent book for the sales manager, sales executive and the sales rep who is looking to get more out of their career. Kevin’s not just preaching. The tools, systems and processes in this book have helped both Fusion Learning achieve tremendous year-over-year growth. They have also helped their top-tier clients achieve breakthrough success. If you have the need to improve your sales and drive results than the ideas in this book will prove to be invaluable. I found the book to be an easy read, well-written and full of anecdotes to illustrate key points without ambiguity.