Last week at our Sales Coaching Summit, Lisa McLeod shared with our community the concept of “selling with noble purpose”, which also mirrors the title of her best-selling book. Lisa shared to an eager audience the impact of selling when there is a higher purpose woven into the fabric of the organization. The results of doing so were not just “feel-good”, but her research shows very tangible financial returns.
The keynote was well accepted and I’ve heard from many they are going to sit down with their team and walk through the process of developing their own “noble purpose”. This exercise is something that is not only a good idea, but needs to be done by every sales team. Having a clear understanding and being able to articulate how your products impact the lives of your customers is critical to achieving peak performance.
Okay sales leaders, what about you? What is your noble purpose? Not to insinuate you should not attach yourself to your selling noble purpose, for you should. But, doing so says nothing about your customer—your team. Do you have a clear understanding and can you articulate how your actions help your team grow? Are you guided by something greater than a job description and a paycheck? Our research shows that in order to develop a high performing sales team there is a need to get the team to provide discretionary sales effort. Discretionary sales effort is created by motivation, and the sales leader has the biggest impact on whether or not a sales rep is motivated (read a whitepaper on how a manager most impacts sales team motivation).
Anyone that is in a leadership role (has a team reporting to them) has a primary responsibility to help their team develop and achieve results that are only possible because of the leader—the essence of any coaching role. Attaining this needed outcome will not likely be achieved, and certainly not sustained, if the primary focus is the number and not the people that produce the number. I am not saying numbers, metrics, KPI’s are not worthy, they are mandatory to understanding performance gaps and measuring outcomes. But, if a team feels as though their leader is more interested in the number versus the person, there will be little, if any, discretionary effort expounded towards growing sales. Not a worthy “noble purpose”.
All sales leaders need to develop the words around their own noble purpose, but they also need to make sure their actions and words are in alignment. If a sales leader’s noble purpose is people driven, then one will see actions that are not just focused on the team, but actions that are also proven to drive performance. For driving a team towards a goal, while still focusing on their individual growth, are not mutually exclusive initiatives, but mandatory activities that produce synergistic sales outcomes.
Click here to watch a four minute video on how managers can improve sales team performance.