Sales Assembly’s Leadership Safari is a monthly collection of tips, trends, and tactics to help you navigate the vast landscape of Revenue Leadership – featuring yours truly, Ranger Christina Brady, President here at Sales Assembly.
Let’s Get Exploring!
There’s no doubt that back-to-office uncertainty is buzzing about within the tech ecosphere. A potential office reopening brings forward several questions, such as:
- Has our culture changed? Are we ok with it?
- Is everyone required to be back in the office?
- Is everyone going to be safe?
- Should we wear masks?
- Can we ask who’s been vaccinated (or can we require it?)
- If our workforce is scattered across the country/world, will that work?
- Should we make changes to our compensation package or benefits?
If you find yourself asking, or having to answer these questions, you’re not alone. Last month, NBC featured a blog post, discussing the anticipated back-to-work woes (and celebrations), uncovering some of the hurdles that need to be faced. One such hurdle is back to work hesitation. As featured in FOX Business, some states are offering cash bonuses to employees in exchange for returning to work.
As you navigate these uncertain waters, remember; Be transparent with your staff, listen to their concerns, make educated decisions, focus on what’s right for the business and for your employees, and be willing to pivot if necessary.
Promoting New Leaders
Hiring & growth is happening quickly, but is your top rep the best candidate for leadership? This is an age-old question and often tough to answer because the answer is always “possibly.”
Consider the differences in day-to-day responsibilities between a top-performing sales rep, and a quality people leader. A sales rep has to narrow their focus on their book of business. They have to ensure they have a high level of self-accountability and have a direct impact on their performance and financial targets. They often have to balance high call or email volumes with excellent customer service and presence, and they have to be able to critically apply your sales process in a variety of ways.
A leader has indirect control over their team’s output. It is through observation, intuition, expectation setting, and accountability that they are able to drive buy-in and produce an efficient and effective team. A leader has to pivot frequently, communicate objectively, and make important business decisions that impact the company’s bottom line.
There’s no question that a top sales rep can become a dynamite people leader, but instead of looking at performance as your deciding factor, instead, consider the core similarities that all strong leaders share:
- Executive Empathy
- Analytical Acumen
- High EQ
- Coaching and Feedback Skills
- Approachable in Nature
- Problem Solving Mentality
- Solution Enablers
If your top performer demonstrates these skills, they just might be your next rockstar manager. But if not, work with that top performer on a career development plan that satisfies their ultimate goals, while serving your business responsibly.
Below are a few tips from leading Tech Sales pros throughout our awesome community:
Brittany Manopello, Director of Global Sales & CS Enablement, Glassdoor
Q: What are the top three areas to focus on first when hiring or promoting a first-time sales leader?
A: The most important thing to prioritize when hiring or promoting a first-time leader is providing a framework of what “good” looks like so they can step into new territory with confidence and clarity.
- The first part of this framework should be a clear roadmap of their first 30-60-90 days. What are you expecting them to know/do by the end of their first 90 days? This will give them a sense of immediate impact.
- The second would be a set of competencies critical to their new role. More broadly, what does “good” look like as a leader in your organization?
- Thirdly, connect them with a senior-level peer or mentor that can cultivate a safe space for them to execute their 90-day plan and begin to build those critical competencies based on modeled behavior.
Alex Zikakis, Global Program Manager of Revenue Enablement, LinkedIn
Q: How do you enable sales leaders to set and enforce proper expectations?
A: Before discussing expectations, it’s vital that Enablement and sales leadership are aligned on the prioritized sales goals and how enablement initiatives are set to impact those goals.
With that alignment, it should be easy to correlate how the success of the enablement initiative ties to the success of the field teams and the business. And if sales leadership sees that path to success, they’ll look for ways to enable and empower their teams with clear expectations and accountability that are in line with the vision of the team.
It is only when Enablement establishes a consultative relationship with sales that the sales leadership will turn to Enablement to provide a recommendation for how to set and enforce proper expectations. If Enablement initiatives are not tied to sales goals, however, then any recommendation around expectations will be met with resistance and a lack of buy-in.
Think SaaS is slowing down? Think again!
According to a recent piece published by Forbes, the horizon is bright. As a revenue leader in the tech/SaaS world, here is an outlook to help you sleep soundly:
- In 2019, SaaS revenue was projected to be $171 billion.
- By 2022, it should be at $233 billion.