- October 6, 2010
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
Here’s an interesting comparison for you.
Two client companies are on the exact same sales development time line. (Same time line but separate from each other – they don’t even know about each other)
Both of their sales forces went through sales force evaluations at the exact same time.
Both of their sales management teams were developed at the same time.
Both of their sales organizations received sales infrastructure help (sales process, sales pipeline, metrics, sales recruiting process, etc).
Now both companies will have their salespeople trained at the same time (but separately).
Company #1 has everyone excited. They can’t wait. Their sales managers are already coaching to the best practices they learned and holding their salespeople accountable. They are change ready.
Company #2 has everyone dreading this initiative. They don’t think they need it, even though their sales are off by 45% and their pipeline sucks! Their sales managers are in whining mode, haven’t allocated the time for coaching and aren’t holding anybody accountable yet. They are as far from change-ready as you can get. Yikes!
So what’s the difference? Leadership.
The CEO is driving the change in company #1 and he did it the right way. In company #2, the CEO delegated the change to the Sales VP, the second weakest person in the entire company. He is so weak that he didn’t want any part of any evaluation, development, coaching or training. He was afraid that his boss might actually see how weak he was. Like I said, he was the second weakest person in the company. Would you like to know who was weaker than him? Bingo. The CEO who delegated the whole initiative to him.
You’ve heard it before. It flows down hill. Your organization can only be as effective as the weakest leadership link. When it comes to a sales development initiative, you must start out committed and remain committed to drive the process until the change you demand has been accomplished. Anything short of that is a formula for failure.
Of course, when you tell that to people who are weak, they don’t believe you. They trust their people. They have good people. Their people are committed….
That is such BS. Strong CEO’s see all the flaws their people have and are committed to developing them or upgrading. Weak CEO’s see beauty, and flowers, and blue skies – yes, that’s the ticket – blue skies through rose colored glasses.