In this episode of “True Confessions of a Sales Leader,” we look at how being vulnerable and building self-awareness can make better sales leaders and ultimately sales teams with our guest, Mike Porter, chief sales officer at NAVEX Global.
Here are four key takeaways:
1. Bring your experience as a salesperson
Many great sales leaders were also great salespeople but all not great salespeople make great sales leaders. When they move from an individual contributing role to a leading role, many leaders tend to go back to what made them successful, like being a solid dealmaker. Bring your skills, of course, but also tune into what your team brings and how to get the most out of them from your background. Coach them on confidence, on closing a deal, or even prospecting. All things you excelled at.
2. Use self-awareness to grow
You may think (and rightfully so!) you’ve built a solid team, have motivated them, helped them understand cross-group coordination. However, one day, feedback, whether it’s negative or positive, from a team member might prove otherwise. It’s important to keep having those ah-ha moments. For example, maybe you’re intense, focused on the numbers. Add some levity and make sure you come across as approachable. Self-awareness exists in every single one of us and forces us to look at our own challenges but also teaches how to improve ourselves.
3. You can’t avoid the (in)famous flight risk
You’re an amazing sales coach. You’ve built a great team but now some of them have defected to the competition or a better role elsewhere. Coaching people because they need it or because they have career aspirations, then building their skills, and then having them leave can happen. It’s hard to lose a top performer to that next step in their career. The benefit? Most of your team wants to stay because you’ve built credibility and you’re helping them grow. That matters, too.
4. Develop an 80/20 document
This is a great tool and can be as simple as a one-pager. Communicate 80% of the document on how you work with a sales team, what excites you, things you’re passionate about, your strengths, or even what triggers you. The other 20%? There will be time to work that out, time spent working together will reveal that. Don’t make your team members guess how to work with you. Have new team members do their own 80/20 document, too. It helps provide self awareness and a way to teach new team members how to treat you—and vice versa.