Managers: It’s Easier Than You Think1

By Tibor Shanto –

Puzzle man

When working with sales teams there are some specific things I look for to understand the makeup of the team and its members.  These are things that indicate how open they are to learning, to change and to commit to the effort it takes to change THEIR reality.  There generally different indicators based on their industry, tangible vs. none tangible, and the nature of the sale.  Interestingly tenure as a rep or with the company is a much smaller factor than one would expect, and of course the big delineator is whether they are and have regularly made their number or not.  Let’s look at the latter group, not that those making their number can’t learn or improve, those are not are the drag on the system.

The one tell tale indicator is what they focus their attention on to change.  The sub-quota reps will always focus on those things they cannot change.  A direct contrast to the consistently deliver, who will habitually focus on those things they can change.

Let’s face it, it is much easier to want to deal with things you cannot change, you can look involved, you can point to this and that, you can blame the elements, and you can completely avoid accountability while pretending and going through the motions of being accountable.

Instead they need to be taking the time, energy and resources and deal with things that they can actually change and impact.  To be clear, this is not about the usual reluctance to change, this is about taking accountability for do what needs to be done, and doing it.  Not change what they are doing, just do something, anything.  In larger companies these are the folks always ready to participate in work groups, make endless points during broader meetings, again looking engaged while doing nothing.

Rather than getting frustrated, which is what they want, because it will validate that things are not working which why they can’t get things done, take the game to them.  Agree on the objective, a measurable objective, a revenue number, a pipeline coverage number, a number of meetings per week, or the like.  Put it up on a while board, then ask them to list to list all the barriers they face.  Eliminate the ones that were already addressed and fixed last year, but are still etched in their psyche; eliminate all the ones beyond their control, you know things day light savings time, the price of gas, the Leafs never winning the cup.  What you will be left with are the real thing that impact their performance that they have control over, and then it is time to step up, if they do, great, if they don’t then it is your time to act.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto


  1. Managers: It’s Easier Than You Think | Salesjournal

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