ACTG Sales Management Blog

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Lessons from a Few Great Leaders

Posted by Linda Cole on Thu, Oct 01, 2020

Many Great Leaders precede us and the mentorship these leaders provide can help us move our businesses forward if we study and implement some of their learnings and accomplishments. A myriad of basic business tenets demonstrated in the leadership of many influential historical figures have the potential to help us plan our next expansion, create or grow with exploding demand or navigate unprecedented times of change.

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Charles Schwab comes to mind. His book, Invested; Changing Forever the Way Americans Invest, provides us the biography of his revolutionary consumer-direct investment concept. Schwab led the way for the birth of an industry with his passion, beliefs and tenacity in the face of a traditional and hostile Wall Street. The take-aways from his book are numerous and inspirational. Most notably, Charles Schwab had an unwavering vision. His commitment, tenacity and fortitude are demonstrated throughout the book.

Abraham Lincoln created a team composed of able political rivals-- People who were unafraid to voice their opinion or disagree with him. These people were confident in their own leadership abilities. Early examples of diversity and inclusion, Lincoln’s actions help us understand how much better we can be if we find and recruit people from differing perspectives who challenge our thinking. This is particularly relevant for attracting and representing differing constituents--when we are looking to expand our appeal to various market segments or different types of employees. 

Beth Mooney of Key Corp, became the first female CEO and Chairman of a top 20 US bank in 2011. Mooney led the way for women to become management and executives in banking. In an interview with Barron’s published April 3, 2020, she tells the story that in 1979 she was a secretary for a bank in Texas. She applied and interviewed for a management training program, then refused to leave the interview until she was accepted. Which she was, with the caveat that she earn her MBA.

Clearly, Beth Mooney was ambitious. She demonstrated commitment and a stubborn focus throughout her career. She knew firsthand the challenges that women and minorities faced in the white-male dominated banking space and through her determination and actions, Mooney made it possible for many women, minorities and LGBTQ to succeed.

Jesus had a servant heart. “The least of you shall be the greatest.” Focus on the needs of those people for whom you are responsible. Balance conviction with passion – Do not bend from your objectives when correcting behavior or outcomes. At the same time, do not “break the backs” of your people. The bricks and mortar of your business may crumble but armed with great followership you can remain strong and prosper. Leadership skills will only take you as far as your character allows. No amount of skill will overcome a lack of transparency, integrity or honesty.

Margaret Thatcher, the autocratic leader, was known as the “Iron Lady”. Her conviction and values along with her determination enabled her to set goals and see them through, even in the face of personal threat. An example of this was her reducing the influence of mining unions in the UK in 1984-95 , regardless of the push back from public and private opinion. A controversial leader, Thatcher believed that too much government involvement stymied economic growth and she worked untiringly transitioning the economy into the hands of the British people and businesses. Believe in your guiding principles with your heart and soul. If you fail, fail as a result of execution rather than belief. 

Who are your leadership heroes and what takeaways do you take from each? Maybe a parent or teacher provided great leadership qualities. What qualities do you hold yourself to? What qualities do you hold others to?

Identify areas where you are strong and defend your position. What would others say about your list? What are necessary areas of improvement for you? Where are your gaps? What impact do these gaps produce? Are they problematic? Must they be addressed and if so, how will you fix them?

Finally build your own plan for improvement. Then share the plan with others and express your expectations of them. The best way to do that is to tell a story. What is your story?

Need to Improve Your Leadership Skills?

Topics: sales management success, sales leadership development, Leadership Skills, traits of successful people

Leadership Development: How a Mentoring Approach Can Lead to Positive Outcomes & Increasing Sales

Posted by Patrick Kollmeier on Thu, Apr 23, 2020

Guest Blog Post from Gaia Hawkes

In this week's blog post, guest blogger Gaia Hawkes offers her insights into leadership development within sales organizations and explains how taking a mentoring approach can lead to positive outcomes and increasing sales.

In sales and sales coaching, the process of mentorship is crucial to passing on expertise and knowledge to more junior team members. It enables sales teams to drive growth and success, leading to increased performance and sales across the board.

In a previous article on growing a successful sales team by Tony Cole, he describes how certain weaknesses in your sales team can lead to dissent and chaos. For instance, prioritizing your own agenda and being a bad team player can impact the team’s overall success. To remedy this, leaders should act as mentors to improve and change their attitudes. Maryville University explains how a degree in organizational leadership can help you introduce positive change through superior employee training and collaboration.

Being a strong leader and mentor will help your team follow your lead when it comes to driving sales productivity. With that in mind, here are some ways in which developing a mentorship program can greatly benefit your organization.

Identifying strengths matters

If you don’t know where your team members excel, you’re not working with them to achieve their true potential. It may seem basic, but conducting personality tests conducive to learning your salespeople’s unique strengths can give you key insights moving forward.  For instance, if a particular salesperson excels in nurturing and providing for others, you can put them in a role as an onboarding companion for hiring better salespeople. 

In addition, you can find ways to help them use their empathy to work with clients.  Ensuring that everyone feels appreciated and valued will help your employees feel like they are a key member of the team. In the long run, they’ll be more willing to step up and take on greater responsibilities to help increase sales within your organization.

Why empathy matters

Because selling is a numbers-oriented business, sales leaders might put pressure on specific goals and money milestones within the organization. On the other hand, Kevin Kruse describes why successful sales leaders need to show that they care. He explains that apart from dealing with the tasks at hand, you should also take the time to get to know and interact with your team members.

Address them by name, greet them every morning, learn about their families, and ask about life outside of work. Sometimes, outside life gets in the way and affects productivity, but if you’re understanding and approachable, you can help your team members get over these road bumps more quickly.

Why feedback and recognition matter

Without assessing your team’s progress and providing regular opportunities for candid feedback, improvement will be a slow process. An Entrepreneur article on the art of mentorship explains that one-on-one time between a mentee and a mentor is crucial to adjust targets and modify goals if necessary.

Creating a well-designed plan involves identifying the issues at hand, setting realistic sales goals, and providing actionable steps to meet them. Growth can be a challenging process, but by giving recognition and praise where it’s due, you’ll keep your mentees motivated and energized to meet and exceed expectations.

Ultimately, mentorship programs not only steer team members to success, but sales mentors are also rewarded with the fulfilling experience of seeing their mentees succeed. In fact, a 2018 research study on Business News Daily found that 76% of respondents considered mentors important to their success. If you don’t already have one, it’s better late than never to start implementing a mentoring approach within your sales organizations.

Topics: Sales Leadership, Leadership Development, Leadership Skills, increase sales

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

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