Why do most all professionals have an outlet, a resource, a certain camaraderie with industry colleagues that elevates the skills of the entire profession, yet sales management does not? Think about the collective wisdom that could be tapped into if we all learned best practices from each other. Imagine the increased productivity that could be gained if we learned from our peers in any industry. Think about how much more our reps could sell if we were better leaders and coaches.
Don't get me wrong. I don't envision sales managers from across the world, arm-in-arm, singing kumbaya. But what I do envision is coming together at events every year, I do envision utilizing technology as a means of collecting and disseminating information to those who desire to improve, I do envision a profession armed with evidenced based best practices that are proven to drive productivity in sales.
Whether you liked him or not, Tom Osborne, the former football coach at Nebraska, was a strong believer in continuing education, improvement and constant learning. He always believed he and his coaches could improve and the players followed their lead. Though he knew his team would ultimately face the likes of Florida St., Notre Dame, UCLA, etc, he would still develop reciprocal arrangements with coaches of these schools to allow he and his coaches access to the way his opponents strategized and coached their teams. He always looked outside his own school for better ideas and programming. Though successful, he didn't win his first national championship until his 21st year of coaching. And, if you were to study the history of his teams, during his most challenging years you would find he committed more resources to improving the skill of his coaches. Osborne did not allow his coaches to "hunker down" in tough times. The end result speaks for itself-in his final five years, Tom Osborne, his coaches and players played for the national championship four times.
As sales leaders, you would likely not accept your producers "hunkering down" and weathering this economic storm. So, lead by example. Get out and look for ways to continue to grow. Now, more than ever, sales managers need to be at their professional best to lead and manage towards attainment of business objectives.
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