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Management & Leadership

To be a successful salesperson, one needs to be aggressive and goal-oriented. While important, these competitive traits can lead to a one-track mind and give sellers tunnel vision. If this goes unchecked, salespeople will ignore the pursuits of their team members and their organization. The sooner salespeople realize that fostering an environment of mutual success is the most advantageous approach, the better.

Communication is key in any relationship. Whether that relationship is with your spouse, your peers, your children, or your employees, it always comes back to a transfer of information, honesty, and respect.

Dianna Booher is the author of 47 books, including Communicate Like A Leader, and founder of Booher Research. The How to Succeed Podcast is a public and free podcast from Sandler Training, the worldwide leader in sales, management, and customer service training for individuals all the way up to Fortune 500 companies with over 250 locations around the globe.

The new year is right around the corner and it’s filled with new opportunities and challenges. As we head into 2018, make sure that you’re as prepared as possible to lead your team to success. To be an effective manager, it’s important to fully understand your team dynamic. Below are five keys to doing just that.

Rule number 29, don't chase purple squirrels. Stay focused and stick to the agenda during sales meetings. People are pretty predictable and purple squirrels are defined as things that they throw onto a meeting that has nothing to do with the topic. 

The How to Succeed Podcast is a public and free podcast from Sandler Training, the worldwide leader in sales, management, and customer service training for individuals all the way up to Fortune 500 companies with over 250 locations around the globe.

With the start of basketball season this month, it’s the perfect time to focus on building a great team. The phrase “dream team” gets thrown around a lot, but it’s most commonly referenced when discussing the incredible collection of talent that was assembled by USA Basketball for the 1992 Olympics. 

Rule #25: Don't let sales people leave training in the classroom. Use a collaborative, equal partnership inside and outside the training room. Here's the bottom line for sales leaders. You may have other people doing training for your organization and training your people. But, ultimately, you are still responsible for your team.

Make sure your people understand roles and responsibilities. Miscommunication and keeping people in the dark is probably one of the ongoing challenges for any leader. When you have projects, let's assume that project is going to do something very important for your organization and you've got the right people on the project. 

Rule number 23, create a culture of accountability. Help your people own their success. Listen, every time I do executive coaching, one of the top topics is how do I create a culture of accountability. Okay, I agree. We want it. We all strive for it. We want our people to accept challenges. 

Rule number 22. Hey, people don't argue with their own data. Use self-discovery to break through performance barriers. I learned this a long time ago. People remember 20% of what they see, 30% of what they hear, but 90% of what they say and do.

The How to Succeed Podcast is a public and free podcast from Sandler Training, the worldwide leader in sales, management, and customer service training for individuals all the way up to Fortune 500 companies with over 250 locations around the globe.

Let’s face it motivation, or motivating others is hard, especially if they are employees of yours. One of the most common things I hear from business leaders is “our people just need to be motivated.” Now, in all honesty, this may be a true statement. 

Rule number 21. Empower your people to succeed without you. Coaching creates wisdom. Now think about that for a second. Coaching is one of the four hats of leadership and you're going to spend anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of your time as a coach.

Change management is the systematic approach to transitioning from one environment to another through the reassignment of resources, business processes, budget allocations, or other aspects that significantly alter a company or organization.

Rule number 20. Mentor to a success profile. Create a success profile that people can grow into. Mentoring is where you're going to spend five to 10% of your time. It's a key aspect of leadership, but we don't do it often enough, so you need a process for it. 

Bill Bartlett, a Sandler trainer and author of the best-selling Sandler book, The Sales Coach's Playbook, talks about his best practices for coaching your team through an organizational change. Bill shares his attitudes, behaviors, and techniques for coaching in this special episode.

Rule #19: Train Your Team. Make sure they get the skills necessary to do the job. Listen leaders, training is one of the four hats of leadership. You're going to spend anywhere from 20 to 30% of your time in your training function. Now, do I train less or more if I have experienced people? Of course, that's why you have a 20 to 30% swing. The more experienced people that you have, maybe the less that you have to train in some of the basic stuff.

Use The Navy SEAL's 40% Rule To Achieve The Impossible. A common obstacle of success in sales leadership is getting stuck in a rut. Worry, fear and doubt are manufactured emotions that can limit a sales team’s ability to achieve their goals and potential. The rut is a comfort zone for you and your organization. Success can still happen in the rut, but according to the Navy SEAL’s 40% Rule, the big wins will never be achieved here. 

Rule #18: Create the Curbs on the Roadway. You know, too much supervision creates learned helplessness. Think about that as an example. Do you want to create learned helplessness on your team? Probably part of you does. The ego part of you wants everyone to ask you what to do next. 

Culture is a term regularly associated with offices and sales organizations. Employees working in a positive work environment feel that the culture better reflects their beliefs and values and, in turn, they are more effective, efficient, and fulfilled in the work they do.

As you progress through your career, there comes a time when you need to stop moving horizontally,  and begin to climb the ladder. When you realize where you are most valuable, and you decide to take the next step, that typically comes with the added responsibility of leadership.

You know as a leader, you're going to have many different roles throughout the day when you interact with your team and your coworkers. We call them the four hats of leadership. Those four hats are supervision, training, mentoring, and coaching. All four of them are equally as important. Supervision, goal setting, setting expectations, having daily conversations, sales funnel management. 

Rule #16: Follow the four Goldie Locks steps. Use middle ground management as your strategy. We have two different types of managers if we go to extremes. We've got those who are detail oriented, and they're looking over your shoulders, and they're micro-managers. Micro-managers create an environment where people are afraid to act on their own, where they're afraid to take that next step. That's not a good place to live. 

Joel Burstein, a Sandler trainer from Pittsburg, talks about his best practices for leading by example. Whether you are a first time manager or an experienced executive you are leading by example, whether you are intending to or not. Joel shares his attitudes, behaviors, and techniques for leading a team by setting a good example.

As a professional speaker one of the most common requests I get is to come in and speak to “get our people motivated” – although this sounds easy, it is not. Most organizations that make this request, we find out, have hired other “motivational speakers” before and it either did not work; or, if it did work, it was short term, and it wore off very quickly.

Rule #15: People work harder for their reasons than they do yours. Motivate the individual to hit the corporate goal. Here's what this means. We all have kids, and when you want a kid to play an instrument because you love the instrument and you want them to be successful, you push, push, push. If they don't have the passion, confidence, and conviction that that's what they want to do, they end up not doing it. You spend a lot of time and energy having them live through your eyes, and the same thing holds true with corporate goals.

Did you know that the average tenure of a Sales VP is only between 24-32 months? They barely have time to unpack their bags and get settled before they are looking for another position. In the meantime, the company has not only lost its Sales VP but probably its best sales person as well. Why is this? And is there something that can be done to change this dynamic?

Compensating the sales team is one of the toughest things to get right in your business. If you pay them too little, good salespeople will leave for better opportunities. Pay them too much, and they get complacent and stop growing revenue. To inspire and motivate top performing salespeople, you must use the Goldilocks Principle and get the compensation package “just right.” Let’s look at the pros and cons of some popular options.

Rule #13. Be a comfort zone buster. There's no room at Complacency Inn. What does that mean? Well, have you ever run into a situation where somebody on your team was killing it? I mean doing everything that they had to do, above and beyond, things that they felt uncomfortable doing and things that they felt comfortable doing.  

Rule 12: Manage individuals; lead a team. There's no substitute for personal attention. Listen, every human wants to be paid attention to. Everyone wants this one-on-one connection. They want eye contact, they want one-on-one time, they want you to pay attention. This is true at home. Kids want your attention. They want you to ask questions. They want you to understand the deal. 

In this episode of Selling the Sandler Way, Dave Mattson, the President and CEO of Sandler Training explores the Sandler Selling Philosophies behind the Sandler Selling System with Rich Isaac, a Sandler Trainer.

Rule #11: Mange behavior, not results. Create a cookbook or a recipe for success. You know, many sales leaders and sales managers, they manage numbers, not behavior. Think about that for a second. How many of us are knee deep into spreadsheets every single day?   

As a manager or leader, you are tasked with many responsibilities. You must strive for success for each member of your team, for your company, and of course, for your clients. This balancing act can become overwhelming if you don’t properly prioritize your objectives and navigate the obstacles that combat effectiveness. Here are four key points to keep in mind in your quest for optimal efficiency.

As a leader, there’s a constant pressure to ensure your leadership approach stays up-to-date. Every year, the culture of the office deviates slightly from the year prior and the way that individuals want to learn and be led,  shifts. Sometimes these changes are drastic, and other times they are slight. No matter the degree of change, it’s imperative that you are cognizant of the shift and are prepared to be a great resource to everyone who looks to you for guidance and mentorship.

Rule #8: See People through Their Lens. Use DISC to understand how you and your people see the world so that you can lead more effectively. You know the DISC behavioral model will help you understand how to communicate more effectively with your team and anywhere else. You've got to understand and acknowledge how they interpret the world: how they communicate, how they want to be motivated, how they see the world, and where you then can adapt your style to match theirs.  

Rule #6: Create self-sufficiency. Don't fix but explore. You know as sales leaders, how many times in a given week do people come in and say, "I've got a big call tomorrow. What would you do, Dave?" Intuitively, I know what to do, and every ounce of my being wants to say, "Do this, this, this and this." But the problem with that is that they didn't connect the dots. 

“Just put me in coach, I’ll create miracles.”  That enthusiasm is great and can indeed have a strong impact on a sales team, but there are some common mistakes the new sales manager make:

You can’t reach goals if everyone is allowed to decide for himself how to reach them.  It’s not uncommon for a sales manager to let the sales staff have their way.  The result of such a management practice is chaos.  Reduce the stress and chaos by getting the sales team to follow the same process.

You and your team worked hard to land a new account and the prospect went with someone else. What now? If you’re at a loss for what to do next, below are five actionable items that you can implement with your team.

Rule #5: Eliminate miscommunication. What was said? What was heard? Check before you respond. You know, every person has three recorders that were taping since they were born. We have a Parent, an Adult and a Child. Three roles that we still have today if you think about it. But these tape recorders were starting and stopping at different times. And it affects how you interact with your team and how your team interacts with their sales force, even today.

Rule #4: Become a servant leader. Put the needs of your team first. In today's world, often times we've got to make sure that with all the things going on we're ultimately judged based on is our team producing? You're the leader. Senior Execs aren't looking around saying; "Hey, person number one, person number three." No. They look at you and say; "Is your team producing?"

Holding your people accountable is simple. In working with sales leaders around the world, accountability isn’t easy because those leaders possess one of three self-limiting beliefs that cripple their accountability program.

If you were to Google ‘servant leadership,’ you would come across a list of traits that included some or all of the following; listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, building community, and nurturing. While each of these components are valuable, the sheer number of them convolutes a fairly straight forward ideology. 

Developing a championship caliber sales team should be the goal of any sales leader. All champions, whether it is the Cubs, Patriots or newly crowned, Tarheels, are focused on doing their individual roles as well as possible, committed to the on-going improvement of themselves and the team, the culture sets high expectations, and the teams win. As difficult as this may be to accomplish for your sales team, it is not as hard as you think if you can implement these four championship elements.

2017 was going to be different. My sales team and I had lofty expectations and challenging goals, but we knew we would attain them. The year started off well and we saw positive results right out of the gate. Then, we lost a client, we had an issue with our network, and when the warm weather came through, we were completely knocked out of our groove. Sound familiar? 

Do you have a written Leadership Philosophy that is well known by all the people in your company? It’s good for everybody when the top person knows exactly what to expect of him/herself. Creating your own personal Leader’s Compass is an easy task that will reap enormous benefits.

What does it take to be an effective leader? Do the skills that make you an effective manager—planning, organization, and communication—make you an effective leader? Or, does it take something else—something more?

It happens every single year. You begin with lofty sales goals and quotas in January – but by December, you wonder what happened and end up trying to figure out where your team went wrong. Lack of motivation may not be the problem – you may just be taking the wrong approach to goal setting.

The purpose of marketing is to support sales.  In the broadest sense, marketing activities are the foundation for sales generation, whether it be through translating market needs into prioritized product or service requirements, clearly communicating unique value outward, or attracting and nurturing qualified prospects.  In a narrower sense, marketing needs to support the sales team – steer them in the right direction and equip them with the tools they need to diagnose pains that the organization can solve uniquely well.

Our experience with sales teams is that less than 20% of all salespeople set written goals of any kind. We estimate that the income of this elite minority of salespeople is predictably and consistently greater than the 80-plus percent who don’t set written goals — combined! You can help each of the members of your team join the ranks of the top performers… by helping them to craft strong written goals.

Leaders need to be involved in both strategic planning and team goal setting, but there’s a built-in problem here. Teams often tend to focus on immediate tasks, on “putting out fires,” and on familiar routines rather than the strategically vital organizational targets we set for the coming year.

The last quarter of the calendar is both relieving because the end is in sight, but also foreboding for many sales teams if sales targets have not yet been met. An incredible amount of revenue exchanges hands in the last quarter, and many companies know that it can make the difference between a good fiscal year or a bad one, especially in product sales. Managers are regularly tested to find ways to push teams over that last mile. 

The best and fastest way to get a better team and better results is to become a better manager. Investing time, money, and energy into building your leadership skills can show a return-on-investment for the rest of your life. 

As the Holidays approach and the year ends, businesses are preparing for the final push to ensure that their organizations reach their annual sales goals. It can be a time of considerable stress on sales teams and managers trying to reach the highest possible numbers and reap the benefits for themselves and their business.

Most managers wait until the end of the year to reflect on their sales team’s accomplishments (as well as the roadblocks, speed bumps, and detours encountered), analyze their findings, and identify areas for improvement in the coming year. That’s a good strategy. But, why wait until the end of the year. 

Strategic leaders don’t settle for minimum achievement today. They are regularly looking forward, anticipating needs, and preparing for new goals tomorrow. That outlook always places these leaders one step ahead of others, and it supports why they are seen as leaders and the go-to people for an organization.

The very best people skills that candidates will ever employ are on display in the interview situation as they try to win a position with your company. If they don’t capture you there, do you really want them in front of your valuable customers?

Most people who spend a little time searching on the Internet or in a bookstore can quickly find a guide on how to write a business plan. However, just following these templates doesn’t guarantee that the business plan produce will be successful or even good. A successful business plan needs quite a bit more to actually be useful and even more to be functional and successful. As the elements come together, if done correctly, the most important component of success will come from the business owner and leadership versus the company itself.

There are a number of tools managers can use to keep office politics contained and relatively harmless. These tools focus on human behavior and team-building expectations, reminding everyone involved to keep functioning as a team instead of only worrying about their individual interests. They are most effective when used repeatedly and are supported by top-down messaging. It also helps that people become invested in the team's work, versus just “working” because they have to. 

Bringing a rough prototype to a group is hard for some leaders. Many leaders like to refine their ideas so when they emerge, they’re almost in concrete. Great leaders have learned to present their ideas, their concepts or their visions before they’re fully cooked. That enables everyone to get involved, and the weight of implementation or persuasion doesn’t fall only on the shoulders of the leader.

A successful sales year relies on good planning and smart strategy. Any plan for success requires that you create goals for yourself and your sales team. But no amount of planning or strategy sessions are effective if the goals are unrealistic and can't be met. Setting and achieving realistic goals are critical to meeting sales quotas or any other benchmarks of success.

The business world is not immune to change. Companies grow, and they shrink in size. They expand their market reach, sometimes, and contract it at other times. They introduce new products and services and discontinue products and services. And, they change the ways in which they create, promote, price, and deliver their products and services.

Like any new generation, there are differences in how Millennials interact with those around them, and what their expectations are in the workplace. What intuitive business leaders are noticing, however, is that there are tremendous benefits that members of this generation bring to the workforce. Their unique generational experiences and the skills they have gained can help them, and the organizations that hire them, excel.

How many times have you made a hiring mistake?  Let's face it, if we hire any level or any quantity of people we are going to make mistakes. A small, inexpensive investment will ensure that you have hired the right person for the right position.

As a leader, you are limited. Limited physically, financially, emotionally, and mentally. You are limited by the amount of time in a day. I have seen countless leaders who tried to ignore this simple fact from time to time with devastating effects on their physical health, family, and mental health. There’s a limit to how much one person can do.

Owners and managers recognize that a primary part of their job is to keep their employees productive.  But is keeping them happy part of the job? Shouldn’t they just be thankful they have a job?

Within sales organizations, companies often perceive salespeople as a necessary evil, as opposed to an asset. If dollars and cents were attached to that asset, a company’s hiring practices may be taken more seriously and the loss of a salesperson may be seen as an expense.

Giving sales-related tasks their due diligence is part of growing your business. As business growth occurs, you have to divide your time amongst more tasks, more clients, more sales team members...you can see where this is going. The busier you get, the easier it is to fall into the trap of ‘busy work,’ or tasks that make you feel like you're accomplishing things but actually detract from business success.

As a sales coach, you need to benchmark the performance of each behavior to determine whether they are performed at acceptable levels or not. It is important to utilize a scale rating behavior with a 1 to 10 performance rating. This scale will allow you develop standards not only for each individual but across your team.

As a leader, it’s important to continue your knowledge and training, developing new techniques to bring back to your sales team. Summer presents a great opportunity to spend some time expanding your knowledge by reading inspiring books by business leaders and entrepreneurs.

The DISC model is based on your behavior. It clarifies how you prefer to do things based on two factors. Are you more extroverted or introverted? And, are you more people or task oriented? Based on those preferences, you end up with four possible behavioral styles.

As business leader, you want to build your organization, which requires that you make judgment calls about the best possible candidates for various positions. While fantastic hires are wonderful assets that help to grow your organization, bad hires can drag it down, costing the company unnecessary money and potentially eroding the brand. 

The summer months can be some of the most challenging for a sales manager, company president or business owner.  An all-too-common mistake is abandoning process. Help each team member stay focused and not lose ground during the summer months. The teams who see summer as a slow-down period lose ground in Q3.

The summer months can be some of the most challenging for a medical group in terms of patient satisfaction and new patient attraction.  

Help each member of your medical group stay focused and not lose ground during the summer months. The offices that see summer as a slow-down period lose ground in the fall months.

As a leader, one of your most important roles within an organization is providing guidance to other members of the company. It is common for leaders to encounter situations in which they have to provide an employee with constructive criticism. Providing this type of guidance can be a challenge, however, as it is important to find a way to communicate your intentions without causing people to feel defensive or sparking resentment.

If you’re not getting enough of the right candidates, then you must put the right behavior in place to source “passive” candidates. It’s not enough to just place a job ad and sit back. The fact that they are not explicitly seeking your opportunity presents a bit of a challenge; you have to approach them differently than you would an active candidate.

Customer service is an interesting aspect of any business. Whether you call it inside sales or customer care, your frontline employee may have the most difficult job in the company. Have you ever cringed when listening to one of your frontline people on the phone? Do you find your staff to be too strict with the policies or too loose?

A study conducted by Captivate Network found that, during the summer months, employees were 45% more distracted than other times of the year. Additionally, the study revealed that productivity in the workplace drops 20% in the summer months. When the entire group is affected by the summertime blues, it can be challenging to keep them motivated and focused on workplace goals.

There is no one-size-fits-all sales coaching model. There are only approaches that have been shown to be successful in particular situations. Acting as a coach, the manager must identify each salesperson’s personal “success code” – and use that code to unlock the salesperson’s potential for success.

Does your company need sales training? Maybe, maybe not. But how will you determine if you need it and who are you going to hire? If you meet with a sales trainer he’s going to steer you towards what he can deliver. If he is a great sales trainer, he ought to be a great salesman. Instead, take it from a company that delivered sales training for over a million salespeople worldwide. Here is what you should consider.

This tool can help you and your employees learn more about personality styles, paving the way toward improved communication. Read on to learn more about the different DISC assessment styles and communication practices that work with each.

Let's face it; communication is one of the most important issues in the workplace. Good communication helps everyone on your team (and you) to feel heard and understood, and as a result, everyone benefits from a positive, encouraging and successful environment. Conversely, ineffective communication brings about the opposite results. Ideas fall flat due to lack of follow-through. You and your team feel frustrated, unacknowledged and misunderstood, and morale declines.

There are two ways to find great sales people—either they come to you (“active” candidates) or you approach them (“passive” candidates). In this article, we will first look at the process of responding to a candidate who comes to you. They are actively seeking your opportunity.

As the weather heats up, many companies begin to look with dread upon the impending summer slowdown. For brands unprepared for the upcoming lull, it can be a challenge to keep the company moving forward and productive during the summer months. With people in and out of the door due to vacations and time off, it can feel impossible to get anything done.

Do you ever wish you could be a fly on the wall of your local competitor just to see what they do behind the scenes to grow their business? What are they doing that you aren't? You might be surprised to learn that it’s not just how they get new customers or their product or service innovation offerings that make them successful.

You cannot motivate anyone to do anything ever. Why? Because motivation is an internal force. It stems from personal responsibility and the individual believe they can control their own destiny. Your motivation cannot be transferred to them.

Even though leadership styles vary as widely as hair color, we can all agree that strong leadership is vital to a thriving, progressing company. The obstacle is knowing whether or not your company has strong, motivating leaders. Are your leaders respected? Do they recognize talent? Can they see the big picture? The answers to these questions are key indicators to your venture's long-term viability.

There is no question that developing skills in time management and efficiency are critical to career advancement. The people who pull ahead and end up taking leadership roles, as well as the higher income opportunities are those who have repeatedly evidenced an ability to work at a higher level of productivity without more resources. In short, they work smarter, not harder.

Is your salesforce not performing? Too much turnover? Are your best sales people leaving for greener pastures? Our labor marketing and workplace culture for salespeople is changing, and organizations that are able to tap into this newly engaged, passionate workforce stand to gain market share and success for years to come.

The right administrative assistant can help any organization flourish. When people think about a successful business, they tend to focus their attention on the importance of good leadership, but the value of the people working behind the scenes cannot be underestimated. Administrative assistants can help keep everyone on task and prepared to progress.

There is no one-size-fits-all model for developing salespeople! Every member of the sales team has an individual “success code” imbedded in them, and the effective manager must dial into it in order to unlock their true potential. Once selling skills and sales process have been taught and behavior expectations are established, the manager’s focus must be on raising the performance bar with an effective sales coaching methodology.

Your corporate culture will dictate everything from what your employees expect when they arrive in the morning to how you decide which new hire to select. It will influence employee morale, retention rates and job satisfaction. It is important for brands to build a culture that will positively impact their organizational success. 

Some managers attempt to “manage” all aspects of their salespeople’s activities. There is a middle ground, however—a strategy that keeps your sales team focused on the required day-to-day activities without having to scrutinize their every move. The foundation on which a middle-ground strategy is built is a set of distinct goals.

Anyone can become a salesperson. There’s no real barrier to entry and no barrier to continuing a career in sales. As with most professions, anyone can become a “subject matter expert,” but that does not automatically make that person a good salesperson.

Management success lies in being able to pull your employees together so that they work as members of a seamless, successful, powerful team that is more than the sum of its parts. How can you guide your employees into forming this kind of team? Let’s examine some of the ways in which we can take lessons from the most successful college basketball teams in the country, and tuck their skills into your own management toolbox.

Successful sales managers know that an environment of fear and pessimism never allows for their team’s best performance. Your attitude as a leader, mentor, coach, trainer and sales manager will greatly influence the results of your team. Salespeople who are empowered, motivated and encouraged to pursue opportunity and abundance will find ways to succeed where others never will.

Recruiters and managers know how difficult it can be to fill an open position with a good hire. A variety of obstacles conspire to make finding the right person seem like searching for a diamond in a big pile of rocks. Once you find that perfect hire, get them off on the right foot by spending some time strategically plotting your onboarding process.

The words "manager" and "leader" are often used interchangeably. But there's a difference in these two roles, as well as the workplace environments they create and the results they elicit. Put these 10 best practices to use to increase the effectiveness of your management style and see positive results in your workplace and employees.

You already know how Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, which allows an organization to powerfully manage and leverage its business relationships, can increase sales: by making customer transactions more personal, by allowing your team to use data to help inform decisions, and by generating better leads, among other highlights. If you missed the first two parts of this three part series, you can read them here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Millennials, those individuals born between 1980 and 2000, are a unique and important part of the workforce, but it’s easy for earlier generations to clash with later generations without each understanding a little bit about the other. As Millennials enter the workforce, it becomes our job to understand them as a whole in order to create a more cohesive team of professionals and to make sure everything runs smoothly and efficiently.

Mergers can be complicated, contentious and a lot can go wrong. Want to keep your company to yourself? Learn how to negotiate the deals you want and avoid the legal consolidation. Even the threat of a merger can demoralize your staff, cause employee flight, client loss, and business failure.

Imagine if you walked into your office tomorrow morning and it was completely revamped, your assistant is on a permanent vacation, you have a new computer – all your old files are missing AND there isn’t a coffee machine to be found. The boss decided it was time for a change.

 

Here they come…fresh out of college, with shiny, polished resumes that for all their impressive activities, don’t really have much real-world experience when you scratch the surface. Should you hire them? Is it worth the risk?

I love reading about successful people – what makes them tick? How they lead? How they manage? I find it fascinating, and in my book Richard Branson is at the top. He’s successful – sure, but he also enjoys life and his team LOVES working for him. Why?

Great managers understand leadership , planning, and coordination skills all need to work in perfect harmony in order to move a team forward. “A-Class Managers” are just that – a step above average. They know how to make the impossible, possible – how to move teams through difficult situations and still have positive outcomes. So what makes them tick?

So it’s time for you to bring on a business partner, but you are a bit wary about giving up part of your company, the acclimation process and long term will this business marriage thrive or end in divorce? All valid worries – but there are some tried and true proactive measure that will ease the transition for both you and your new better half:

That “Gold Star” feeling is often absent or all too infrequent in our work lives. Yes, we are adults and the merit of a gold star next to our name on a piece of cardboard is not necessarily what drives us to excel. However, we still want to be recognized for the great things that we do and it feels really good when someone takes notice.

Let’s take a look at how to keep the mojo steady in your company – be it sales, client retention or employee happiness.

After all, you and I have standard questions we like to ask when we’re interviewing, and the candidate has some good standard responses they like to give us. But, the key to the interview is uncovering the truth – right? So here’s a tip that might help you uncover what’s really happening with the candidate.

In order for a company to not only survive, but thrive - they must have strong leadership at the helm.

Creating the perfect product or service for the right niche is the core of a great business. You also need financing, a solid business plan, a sound marketing strategy, and a process for selling it. However, once you’ve successfully launched, how do you grow, sustain, and prosper?

There is so much to be said about Managing versus Leading and we won’t be able to cover all of it today. Suffice to say that they are two completely different things.

Everyone wants to be working at their full potential, but if you’re not keeping a close eye on your sales team for possible weaknesses then you could be missing out on many opportunities.

Are you managing a team that just isn’t moving in the direction you want them to? Do you find yourself dreading the next staff meeting…or even Monday mornings?

It’s November! CEO’s, Presidents, Managers – including sales managers, are all gearing up for 2016. Business plans, sales projections, employee reviews and goal setting….the list goes on. It can get overwhelming with the paperwork, the myriad of meetings and the pressure to “get it right”. Sound familiar?

In Sandler Training’s new book, “ Transforming Leaders the Sandler Way”, author Dave Arch states “You can’t transform a team or an organization until you’ve transformed yourself.”

People want to be heard at their jobs, they want to have a voice, to give their input. Creating an atmosphere in which your people feel comfortable speaking up, and also feel like they’re heard is a crucial element in building an open and positive business culture.

You might reason that with the appropriate education, training, direction, and encouragement, any one of your sales team members can become a top performer—a “superstar.” Is that true? It’s likely that everyone has the ability to improve. But not everyone will become a superstar, regardless of the resources and opportunities made available to them.

The Monday morning blues do not have to be a part of your work environment, and cultivating a positive atmosphere around your organization can be a fantastic way to drive the business forward. In the spirit of March and 'expect success' month, here is what all professionals should know about the power of positive thinking in the workplace.

I always gravitate towards such articles on Management and Leadership because I consider myself a 'work in progress' on the subject, and always try to figure out why two people, who have similar competency in the same company, seem to get different results as Leaders.

When a business owner comes to me with a seemingly intractable problem, I know with near certainty before the conversation begins that the issue at hand boils down to a break down in relations: with customers, clients, or staff.

As the first quarter comes to an end, it’s appropriate to review your department goals and measure your progress. Will your sales team hit the quarterly benchmarks for your department’s strategic initiatives? Have they made significant headway? Or, have they fallen behind already?

Maybe your employees aren't laying their heads on their desks, reading magazines during work hours, or calling in "cough cough" fake sick every Friday. Even without these obvious signs, they could still be disengaged with their jobs. If it seems your team members are sluggish and not electrified by their jobs, here are six can't fail ways to make employees feel appreciated, and re-engage them in their position.

If you want to measure productivity in your customer-care providers, measure their bias toward action before you hire. Taking action is a quality that says, “I must do something, so I’ll quickly assess the situation, decide on a path, and do something myself.” Rather than wait for the customer to call back, a bias toward action says to reach out to the customer first. A bias toward action is the proactive ingredient in customer care.

Many sales managers attempt to manage their salespeople by “managing” their numbers. You can track numbers, but you can’t actually “manage” them any more than you can manage the weather. But, it is from the observation and analysis of the numbers that you can identify pathways for improved performance.

The road to a successful sales career is filled with disappointments, rejection and uncertainty. If all you have is the willingness to put up with those things then you’re 99.99% of the way there. So, what attributes does a person need to have to be successful? Here are the top 3 that I recommend you look for when interviewing someone for your business.

As a manager of people, you know and understand the challenge of the "new" workplace. The reality of four generations working side by side is fraught with obstacles that threaten to derail productivity and hinder progress. Before you pop another antacid and check again to see if it's time to cut a trail home, take heart in knowing there are ways to be an effective manager in a workplace made up of the Silent generation, Boomers, X'ers, and Millennials. The first step is acknowledging each generation has its own preferences, expectations, and strengths.

A leader's only valuable is their time, which is too often wasted on activities that don't generate a good return. A leader's number one asset is their people, which are too often left to waste with no clarity around expected behavior or a path to advancement in their organization. To make the best use of their only valuable and achieve the greatest return on their number one asset, Sandler recommends a leader invest at least 50% of their time each week with their direct reports, splitting their time amongst the following four activities.

If you manage a sales group, own a company, or are in sales, you know this to be true: Behind every great salesperson (and sales team), is a great manager. Without strong leadership and a clear vision, even the best sales teams will not accomplish what they are capable of. If you're the manager tasked with hiring sales people and growing a team, ask yourself this, "Do I have the right practices in place to create our next superstar?"

Finding a super talented sales person will probably require you to not only shift your hiring criteria, but also to shift your thinking about the process. A good place to start? Stop depending on resumes. A resume is best used for understanding some of the facts: where they've worked; how long they worked there; and how they view their accomplishments. A resume will never tell you the real truth about how successful a candidate has been.

The holidays are a time for festive songs, exchanging presents, feasts with friends and family— and the end-of-the-year crunch at work. Given the number of distractions facing employees this time of year, combined with the stress to finish the year well at work, it is no wonder that productivity can take a plunge. Rather than cracking down on employees and alienating them, or just giving the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year up as lost, there are a few tricks that employers can use to keep everyone focused and successful.

As you begin to look at the right criteria, you'll want to consider which is more important…industry experience or relevant sales experience. This is a tough one but I would encourage you to suspend your disbelief for the moment. Of course, in an ideal world, every qualified candidate would hit the bull's-eye. Their resume would run the gamut: proven sales background; a strong, well-developed sales skill set; and to top it all off, experience in your industry selling to the same customers as you. While it's not impossible to find this person, it can be time consuming and not always the answer to your prayers.

Like most business owners, you can probably tell at least one horror story about a sales hire. After a great interview, fabulous references, and excellent experience, you thought your new rep was the answer to your prayers. But six months down the road, you're still not seeing results. Before long, it's clear that the superstar you thought you hired is falling short of your expectations. What went wrong?

Sales managers recognize that a primary part of their jobs is to keep their sales teams productive. But, keep them happy! Is that really part of the job? Yes. Salespeople may be thankful for having a good job, but happiness is another dimension of the work experience—an important and often overlooked dimension. When jobs are scarce, people will put up with a lot to keep their jobs. But, as opportunities emerge, those who are not happy will be ready to move on to meet new challenges and find opportunities where they can make better use of their abilities…and be happy.

Are your salespeople on track for hitting their sales goals? If they are: Congratulations…to you and to them. If they are not: What are you going to do about it? The clock is ticking. How are you going to motivate your salespeople (or at least those whose numbers aren't up to par) to pick up the pace…to knuckle down and do what needs to be done before time runs out?

When someone hands you a business card and says, "you should call this person", it's not really a referral. Without more information, it is more like they're sending you on a cold call. Cold calling is way down the list of favorite prospecting activities for most salespeople, and sometimes that frustration can spill over to referrals.

You stand in front of your sales team and announce a shift in workplace policies, or privately mention that a client wants to go in another direction with their account. Immediately, your salespeople cringe.

Sales meetings can help you win more business, but if not handled well they can cost you time in front of prospects. 

A good manager understands that disciplining employees is part of the job, but a great manager recognizes that discipline is not synonymous with punishment. To prevent future problems in the workplace and improve your management skills, implement these respectful employee disciplinary steps.

While motivation and discipline are on opposite ends of the management spectrum, managers need to provide both to lead a team successfully. Try implementing this balance using the following methods to build a stronger, more effective sales team.

With more than 500 million people on Facebook and 100 million on LinkedIn, social recruiting has quickly surpassed traditional methods for finding the best candidates. Because of this shift, it is important to have a guide to navigate the ever-changing landscape. Use this tool to start your social recruiting search and connect with hundreds, even thousands, of the most qualified candidates

When workplace productivity flounders, it is easy to give in and let the sluggish behavior drag out, leading to flat or declining results from the staff. If you notice a lazy attitude taking hold in your office, a quick response can save your office and refresh the staff's energy. Stop sluggish behavior from occurring with these tips for increasing workplace productivity

They say that time heals all wounds, but in the sales industry, time kills all deals. To keep leads warm, especially during notoriously cool selling months, sales managers need to create a smooth handoff between the marketing and sales teams. Use these tips to keep leads warm and close the sale more easily.

What does a company need to be successful? Many people would say investors and a solid business plan, but in addition to these important factors, a company needs effective managers.  If your company suffers from lackluster sales, take a look at the management behind the team. You may discover that effective management makes all the difference for a successful sales force. Here are a few reasons why solid management is absolutely crucial to sustaining a great sales team

Think you have got the perfect sales team? No matter how successful your group, every team has room for improvement. Whether your team falls flat in a specific area or they lack motivation, putting the time into improving faults helps create a more cohesive, successful sales force. Work together and follow these 5 simple rules to build a strong, effective, and eventually more profitable sales team.

Many leaders, especially if they were promoted from within, struggle with performance management. Not because they are bad leaders, but because they easily slide back into "doing" instead of "leading".

Although teamwork is frequently the most efficient way to complete a big project, many managers struggle to lead a cohesive team. Managing individual employees along with the broader group dynamic brings confusion to team projects, causing the work and your team management capabilities to suffer. Tackle teamwork problems before they come up with these 25 tips for becoming a more effective team manager.

No one likes being told that his or her work is lacking but, as a manager, relaying this information is a fundamental part of your job. The manner in which you deliver constructive criticism, however, determines whether you are simply a manager, or a great team leader. Yelling and belittling your employees will prevent them from appreciating or trusting your leadership abilities.

Being a manager that is both well respected and effective in the workplace is a difficult balancing act. While it is important to keep your employees happy, you also need to ensure that their work is still producing results. The first step in managing effectively is to recognize the problems you may be inadvertently causing. Here are five common mistakes and possible solutions to keep your employees thriving in the workplace.

Managers often get caught up in their day-to-day activities, and forget to focus on their employees. Getting caught in these leadership traps can be a drain on resources and cause your leadership to be questioned or dismissed. Focus on the positive changes you can make as a manager and you will see a positive response from your team.

Salespeople are often viewed as individuals who hold themselves accountable. Accountable to getting up and out every day and pushing themselves to get to the next level.  They are most often seen as doing things that others don't want to do. They hold themselves accountable. What's the reality? It's not always that easy. Many salespeople would say (my educated guess) that holding themselves accountable is one of the toughest things they face

No matter what your definition of leadership is, being an effective leader is something every manager struggles with. Managerial skills are often picked up over time and with trial and error methods. You may learn that techniques that worked perfectly in one office failed miserably at your next managerial position. While leadership is in no way a perfect science, a good way to judge what works is to listen to the experts and top business managers.

Effective leadership is not something that you achieve, but rather something you develop and change throughout your life. There's no substitute for experience, but thankfully you can borrow from others' knowledge to improve your own. That's where reading comes in handy. These best-selling books offer useful resources for maintaining your edge as not just a manager, but as a respected business leader.

A leader's most important task is to create clarity for themselves and their organization. Without personal clarity life satisfaction decreases and complacency sets in. Without organizational clarity productivity suffers and turnover increases

The traditional corporate structure in the workplace is ready for a change. With Millennials entering the workforce, there is a resounding call for a structural shakeup. These young professionals have a lot to say and they want to have their voices heard. Successful companies are noticing this. Instead of paying attention to only GPA's, they are looking for critical thinking and problem-solving skills in new hires.

In the past ten years, Millennials have been entering the workplace more than ever. While some may still view Generation Y as overeager interns, these developing leaders are becoming the future of successful business. And while it is easy to view a younger generation as lacking in knowledge and experience, the truth is Millennials have a lot to offer. Here are five ways this technologically advanced generation has the ability to bring new life and energy to a workplace:  1. Gen Y Believes In Transparency & Equalit

Many seasoned sales managers today are facing a common challenge: how to lead, motivate, and inspire young Millennials on their sales teams. This generation, which will make up roughly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2020 and 75 percent of the workforce in 2030, has already garnered a reputation for being difficult to manage by traditional standards.

Understanding when to take a coaching approach over a managing mentality can make a huge difference in your effectiveness as a leader. To be an effective leader you need to master both leadership styles; the key is to know when to wear which hat. When you're managing, you're often organizing a project, providing instructions, outlining the end goal for your business, and you may find yourself being more directive and task-oriented

Take a look at your workforce. Chances are high that it's generationally diverse, with Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials working at every level. That last cohort – Millennials, Gen Y, Generation Next, etc. – has been the subject of boundless research and discussion in the past 15 years. Often when older generations discuss younger ones, the context is negative and may include words like entitled, unmotivated, and tough to manage. As a leader, when your young Gen Y employees aren't meeting your expectations, it's easy to tag the issue as a "generational defect."

It's a fact: most organizations need a killer sales force. Business development, marketing, must-have products or services – these are all essential to meaningful revenue growth. But your sales team is the heart of production. Your salespeople are the ones championing your offer and driving precious profit. Your team should be the best it can. Period. But how do you build a successful sales team? Buckle up, because it's no easy task. As long as you follow these seven essential steps, however, you'll have a team of sales all-stars under your belt.

Managing a team of sales reps with various motivations and egos is no easy feat. And if you're a sales manger, you know that it can be a complicated and sometimes challenging role that requires a number of management skills to be successful. At Sandler Training, we've discovered that highly effective sales managers possess a set of skills and characteristics that make them stand out from the rest. So how do some sales managers continually lead successful and goal-oriented sales teams while others repeatedly hit roadblocks and obstacles

Want to hear a troubling statistic? The US Department of Labor estimates that a bad hire costs your business 30% of that employee's potential year-one earnings. This is a conservative estimate, too. It's difficult to calculate the loss incurred when you hire the wrong person for your business. Every manager and business owner has dealt with bad hires. Maybe they started out seemingly stellar, fitting your company culture seamlessly and producing exceptional results. Or, maybe you were in a rush to fill seats and let bad seeds slip through without proper vetting

When you hire new managers, you are giving these individuals the opportunity to lead, supervise, mentor, and motivate others and their ability to do so makes a huge impact on your company's overall success.

Sales slumps happen. They are guaranteed to hit and, when they do, they put intense pressure on your team to perform. You, as a sales manager, should be prepared to lead your team out of the doldrums effectively and efficiently. We've identified 6 things exemplary sales managers do to drag teams from the muck. There's no perfect solution to sales slumps, but these techniques will help mitigate damage and keep your staff afloat through the toughest times.   Identify and address problem

A new survey from Sandler Training put the red pen in the hands of American employees, giving them chance to "grade" the performance of their manager. The results were passing, but not exactly good enough for the refrigerator.

All good things must come to an end, especially in the world of sales and staffing. Whether all-star performers are leaving for retirement reasons or new opportunities on the horizon, the thought of finding someone who will deliver the same results and fit in the culture can seem daunting. Rest assured though, it's not impossible. With some planning and putting a few processes in place, you'll be well positioned to celebrate the departing team members and welcome the new ones.

It's a common notion to believe that leaders at different levels should have a different set of skills. However, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman of the leadership development consultancy Zenger Folkman write in Harvard Business Review that leaders should be practicing the same core skills that have driven them from their first day in the workforce, no matter how high they rank.

Imagine a business is like a rock band. And every business has a drum rhythm at which it operates. The drumbeat is consistent, dependable, and stable.The most beautiful music is made when all the instruments play in harmony to the drum's rhythm. It's not always easy.

Companies look to thrive and grow. In preparation, leaders work with their teams to identify the bottlenecks, roadblocks, and/or weaknesses that will keep the company from exploding with success. We start by asking "Why" five times to arrive at the root of the bottleneck. From there, it's time to dedicate resources to put things back into motion and proper flow. Option One: Exploit the weakness.

Playing the role of the interviewer is no simple task. While you might not be the one in the hot seat, the words that come out of your mouth can be equally as important. There are interview techniques that some of the best recruiters and HR professionals utilize when looking to fill positions with the most qualified candidates. Encourage the candidate to think differently and creatively when they're interviewing. For many candidates going through the job search process, interviews become monotonous. Interviewers need to go against the grain to truly get to know a candidate.

Being promoted to your first role as a manager can be exciting and empowering, but the skills needed to be a successful manager don't always come naturally to everyone. It can be extremely difficult to navigate the ins and outs of a new role, especially one that puts you in a position of authority and requires you to start managing your some of your friends and peers.

As a manager, executive or owner, the only valuable you possess is your time. To successfully manage your time and grow your business, ask yourself the following question daily: "Does 'it' advance my business?" ("It," being whatever activity you are doing or about to start.) Let's take a look at several examples, which might resonate with you. Activity – Understanding your direct reports' personal goals Does it advance my business? Absolutely

We consistently have organizations coming to us for help with hiring the right talent. Over the years we've learned some pretty important lessons around interviewing sales people. Here are three common interview pitfalls you should try to avoid. Mistake 1: Interviewing the resume

How important is a Sales Manager after a program like Sandler Training? I envision a Sales Manager’s role not being as important after a sales team gets good at Sandler.  A sales professional never gets fired from our Sales Training program. We will provide your team with the skills that will make them and you successful. 

Here's a quick acid test of your hiring-to-turnover ratio. How often are one of these phrases heard in your company? - I'm not a micro-manager. - I hired them to... - They know what they're supposed to do... If our business world was homogenous then those phrases would be correct because every sales job would be exactly like every other sales job. Every expense filing procedure would be exactly the same at every company and every role would have exactly the same weekly behavior expectations

It's estimated that the cost of recruiting, interviewing, hiring and onboarding a new salesperson costs a company between $75,000 and $300,000 per rep. Unfortunately for most companies, their onboarding program contributes directly to those new reps leaving. Let's pretend we're watching a newly hired rep; we'll call him Greg. Greg was highly successful with his last company where he sold to the same type of prospect as his new employer but to different contacts. Greg's manager believes that his contacts from his previous company will generate warm leads to his new prospects

As a manager, your most valuable asset is your time. In Part 1 of "An Alternative to Traditional Performance Management" you learned how to get time back in your week by implementing a 3-part performance management system: funnel management, a weekly behavior plan (a.k.a., "cookbook") and a personalized development plan. In Part 2, you'll learn a system for reducing your time spent on, and your team's anxiety about, their performance review

Like a coach in pro sports, your primary function as a manager is to improve the performance of your team. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to performance management may have initial success, but are difficult to sustain. When distilled out of their packaging traditional performance management looks like

Even if you're not hiring for the CEO role at a high profile tech company, bad recruiting can negatively affect morale, productivity and customer relationships. Typically, bad recruiting comes down to no real recruiting process, which can be as easy as answering these four questions

I love small businesses and their owners. I spend much of my day marveling at the great accomplishments of this hearty bunch of entrepreneurs who pursue their dream and formulate the backbone of our business society. They are the lifeblood of this country. there is a soft spot in my heart for the struggles they endure as well as the challenges they must overcome to succeed.

With the great economic storm over the last year, many businesses wisely pulled back into safe harbors for a period of time. In fact, those that failed to make adjustments and continued their course were likely wiped out or at least seriously damaged. Unwise use of credit and perhaps a bit of bad luck has taken its toll on many. However, perhaps you are one of those businesses that made the proper course corrections by making the difficult and sometime painful choices.

Small business owners tend to stay small because they do not install systems and processes into their business. Most owners want to hire "experienced" sales people. The mentality is to hire someone, teach them about their products and services, then expect the person to "go sell". What's the problem? If we hire experienced sales people, once they learn the product or service, they should be good to go, right?