Sales Leadership and Change


All too often we run into companies that have continued to beg, plead, coddle, warn, hope and pray that their sales team will use the new sales enablement tools. They could be a new CRM, new tools, or even roll out of new products, services, and strategies. In other words, change is a requirement, and there is resistance from the Sales Department.

Sometimes it just the sales staff that resists and pushes back. Other times the resistance includes the Sales Managers. It sounds like this, and it’s all excuses to keep doing what they are doing.

We don’t have time to do that.

I couldn’t login… The system isn’t working.

I’ll do it by the end of the week.

I had to go to the dentist.

My wife kidnapped me for our honeymoon.

Is this necessary?

I can’t ask my team to do that.

This is just another one of the stupid things they want us to do.

(If we just ignore it, they will get tired, and this initiative will be gone in a few months)

I’m the best guy on the team; they can’t make me do it.

My team is already doing everything we can.

And the list goes on, and on, and on, and on and on….

What is the most creative excuse you’ve heard? Add it to the comments of this post and let’s see what kind of sales excuse humor we get.

Of course, there are a few early adapters and leaders that will execute, but that is the exception, not the rule. Leadership continues to struggle to get the change installed and adopted. Time rocks on and many times Leadership will give up.

Think of it this way. What would happen if the corporate offices moved to a new location? Would any business leader in their right mind allow the office manager to continue to go to the old office because it is more convenient for the Office Manager? What if leadership decided it was necessary to change accounting systems? Would it even be considered an option if the Comptroller decided that it was ok to use the old system because it was easier for them? What would happen if three of the seven messages the CEO received arriving back from lunch from the Executive Assistant were wrong numbers and names? None of the above would be tolerated!

So why do business leaders put up with the excuses, complaints, and whining from the sales team? It’s usually because the Salespeople and Sales Managers are hard to replace.
They are holding the Business hostage! And the prisoners are running the Asylum. Therefore, the focus should be installing a proven sales-specific hiring system with a sales-specific hiring assessment that is customizable to the company and the position itself.

Remember the movie Glen Gary Glen Ross with Alex Baldwin as the guy from corporate sent to the branch to get things moving? He does a great rant about the ABC’s of sales. Always Be Closing! This monologue translates to “Always Be Recruiting!” Build a bench and don’t allow the tail to wag the dog.

People can’t be held accountable to what they don’t know and don’t understand. So teach them, train them, help them understand the reasons behind the change and the expected rewards for the company and what’s personally in it for them. Give them time to adjust and then hold them accountable just like a business leader would do in any other department. Find the fundamental activity and behavior that drive the new initiative and measure it daily! Put in a three-step discipline program and let everyone know up front what the rewards and what the consequences are. Then follow through and in the meantime before the initiative is rolled out, start a serious, continuous sales recruiting program.

Here is a link to a White Paper that may give you some great thought tracks to begin.

White Paper – The Modern Science of Salesperson Selection.

And if you like here is another White Paper – The Modern Science behind Sales Force Excellence

Please consider this your invitation to our upcoming webinar:

Every company’s needs are different, yet every company needs salespeople that will succeed in the roles that must be filled.  In this fast-paced 30-minute presentation, Sales Development Thought-Leader Dave Kurlan, one of the Top 50 Sales Influencers in the World, will explain the important roles of Benchmarking Top Performers, making sure your sales recruiting efforts are EEOC Compliant, and how to make sure that you can predict, with confidence, whether your sales candidates will succeed in the role you need to fill.

This LIVE webinar will be held on Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 11:00am-12:00pm USA Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-4).

Register Now!


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Author: Rocky LaGrone

Rocky LaGrone is a seasoned sales development expert with over 25 years in sales development and training working with well over 1,000 companies of all sizes in various industries.

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