The Coaching Effect Blog

Harvard Business Review Tips for Sales Leaders

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

August 22, 2011

Sharing some of our favorite Harvard Business Reviews Management Tips of the Day for Sales Managers and Sales Leaders. Enjoy!

2 Ways to Spot Industry-Changing Trends  All leaders want to know what trends will shape the future of their industries before they happen. To spot them early, you can't mingle with the usual suspects at industry events. You need to interact with the peripheries of your industry. Here are two ways to do that:

  • Spend time with peripheral customers. Every industry has cutting-edge users that know—or are even setting—the trends. Find these customers (hint: they are often the younger, technology-focused ones) and tap them for their insights.
  • Investigate peripheral companies. Be on the lookout for interesting startups or established companies that could one day edge into your market. Don't be limited by traditional industry demarcations. Investigate companies solving similar problems that you solve for your customers.

3 Ways to Get the Most from Your Team Contrary to popular belief, teams are not always the best way to get work done. Problems with coordination, competition, and motivation can undermine even the most well-designed and expertly-managed team. Here are three ways to give your team the best chance of success:

  • Designate a naysayer. Groupthink is a dangerous byproduct of teamwork. Ask someone to play the role of devil's advocate to be sure ideas get challenged.
  • Avoid double digits. Teams should be as small as possible—never have a team of more than nine people.
  • Keep the team together. Avoid swapping members out. Established teams work better than those whose composition frequently changes.

2 Ways You Shouldn't Pitch an Idea Coming up with ideas is easy. Selling them to strangers is hard. Entrepreneurs and executives alike often go to great lengths to explain how their concepts are novel and profitable, only to be rejected. Avoid the same fate by steering clear of these
two approaches:

  • The pushover. Don't offer to change things at the slightest hint of disapproval. Caving in to criticism doesn't demonstrate flexibility; it shows you don't care about your idea. Instead, defend it.
  • The used-car salesman. Be persuasive, not unctuous. Don't act like everyone should think your idea is great. Be realistic about what your proposal will do for
    your audience.

3 Tips for Hiring Recent Graduates Most hiring managers are now well versed in recruiting Millenials, but many firms still make avoidable mistakes. Most gaffes involve outdated hiring practices that alienate Gen Y. Here are three tips for reaching the top-performing graduates of this generation:

  • Evaluate for potential, not experience. College students don't yet have a wealth of resume experience. Seek out those who are passionate and a cultural fit with your organization.
  • Highlight flexible work arrangements. Millenials care more about social and flexible work environments than high salaries. Entice them with perks like extra vacation time and flexible scheduling.
  • Show your culture. A good interview process should communicate the company culture. If your organization has a youthful, innovative vibe, be sure to convey that (but don't fake it).


What tips do you have? Share them.





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