Welcome to Episode 14 of the Sales Influencer Series, where we interview leaders on the cutting edge of sales and marketing. In today's episode, Ambition Director of Sales Ops Dan Nice interviews Mike Weinberg, an expert sales consultant and Top Sales Influencer endorsed by Forbes, OpenView Labs and InsideView, among others.
Mike is the author of two acclaimed books on sales: New Sales. Simplified., which helps sales professionals understand and optimize the landscape of new business development, and Sales Management. Simplified., a must-read for modern sales leaders looking to optimize their team culture, processes and people. Mike's website newsalescoach.com is another great resource worth checking out.
In this 3-part interview, Mike and Dan discuss the keys to developing a world-class sales culture, managing a team and tools effectively and creating a healthy, successful approach to running sales meetings. (Hear Part 2; Part 3).
Ep. 14.1: Building a Healthy Sales Culture
1. Introductions and Backgrounds. 0:00 - 1:12.
Synopsis: Mike Weinberg is a retired sales hunter, author of several well-received books on sales, and his favorite thing in business is helping companies acquire more new clients.
Mike focuses on two areas in particular - new business development and sales leadership. Dan highly recommends Mike's first book, New Sales. Simplified., for insights on business development.
The focus of today's interviews will be on topics pertinent to Mike's second book, Sales Management. Simplified., and will be geared towards building better sales leadership and sales culture.
2. Indicators of an Unhealthy Sales Culture. 1:12 - 5:52.
Synopsis: Often, in Mike's experience, it's the Executive over sales that creates a culture where it's impossible to win. Before you point your finger at your sales team, look at how you're leading and the culture you're creating.
Things that kill sales culture: Entrepreneurs or Senior Executives with high egos and a tendency to micro-manage, which is highly deflating to reps.
Other indicators include: Frustrated sales people, reps who openly rebel against/mock leadership, CEOs more concerned with level of activity than results.
3. How to Balance Emphasis on Activity vs End Goals. 5:52 - 10:07.
Synopsis: You can't get around activity. Quantity is pivotal. The problem is when managers lead by focusing on activity, rather than prioritizing goals first, then activity.
On the flip side, it's equally bad when sales orgs don't drive accountability, aren't transparent with sales reports and so forth. Healthy culture isn't soft -- you should be hard on reps, but focus should be top-down.
Other examples of unhealthy culture: A tendency to pick on the sales team, that is, give credit to marketing, operations and so forth when things are going well, but lay blame on sales when things are going poorly. The incentive structure must also be appropriate.
4. Establishing proper incentives. 10:07 - 17:20.
Synopsis: Making the incentive structure appropriate is critical, since that's one of the key drivers of culture and accountability. Compensation plans must make sense in terms of driving the desired behaviors the company wants.
And a lot of sales culture problems can be solved by fixing compensation -- should be the first place you look. "Compensation and complacency start with the same 4 letters."
A common mistake: Making the compensation structure too flat. Makes top performers feel underappreciated and bottom performers feel too comfortable.
Another mistake: Failing to account for type of sales (example: hunting vs. signing a renewal). While you don't want to discount keeping existing business, that's frankly a different role -- needs to be different incentives for hunters vs. account managers.
Most hunters don't make good account managers, and vice versa. Having a one size fits all model on your sales team ignores the fact that most people aren't wired to be good at all these different sales roles.
5. How to Create Healthy Culture Between Sales and Non-Sales 15:45 - 20:00.
Synopsis: Balancing the egos and well-being of your non-salespeople with those of your salespeople can be difficult, but remember, they don't have to be mutually exclusive.
Neither side should feel diminished. You should be open, honest and supportive with everyone, and most importantly, let people focus on their primary job. Let your salespeople focus on going out and hunting.
Example: In one of the best sales culture Mike ever saw, the SVP of Sales brought the COO coffee every morning and they discussed the main things on their agenda that day.
They had great camaraderie and that trickled down to the troops under them. Another example: Take a member from another team on the road with you so they can see how gritty, difficult and stressful sales is - so there's a mutual respect.
The Sales Influencer Series Library
To check out further episodes and see why CloserIQ has ranked the Sales Influencer Series as one of the very best sales podcasts of 2016, just click on the links below.
Episode 1. John Barrows
Episode 2. Lori Richardson
Episode 3. Max Altschuler
Episode 4. Matt Heinz
Episode 5. Mark Leslie
Episode 6. Kyle Porter
Episode 7. Jon Bradford
Episode 8. Eks Anderson
Episode 9. Matt Hottle
Episode 10. Heather Morgan
Episode 11. Ilan Ferdman
Episode 12. Ryan Jenkins
Episode 13. Tamara Schenk
Episode 14. Mike Weinberg
Episode 15. Scott Britton
Episode 16. Mark Kosoglow
Episode 17. Dionne Mischler
Episode 18. Ken Barton
Episode 19. Kevin Karner
Episode 20. Jill Rowley
Episode 21. Brandon Redlinger
Episode 22. Will Wickey
Episode 23. Drew Woodcock
Episode 24. Dail Wilson
Episode 25. Nathan Sexton
Episode 26. Tucker Max
Episode 27. Bruce Tulgan
Episode 28. Dallas Hogensen
Episode 29. Morgan J. Ingram