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10 tips on effective sales management

1. Move from doing to enabling others

Look for the opportunity with every engagement with your team to develop their capabilities.  Get out of the habit of doing the doing for them.

Catch a fish and you feed a man for a day, teach him how to fish and you teach him for a lifetime – Chinese proverb

2. Recognise effort, celebrate success, challenge underperformance

Recognise not only great results but also any diligent hard work aligned to best practice process, even if this work has not resulted in success on this occasion.

Look to highlight and celebrate individual and cross matrix team success highlighting what caused the success to happen. Challenge underperformance, try to take ‘the personality’ out of the question and look first to understand the root cause.

3. Ask questions

A prudent question is one half of wisdom – Francis Bacon

The way for you to understand any management situation is to ask good incisive questions. The Kipling quote is a good one:

“I KEEP six honest serving-men

(They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why and When 

 And How and Where and Who.”

4. Become a great listener

Hold back the urge to stamp your fix on problems, give the team member every opportunity to explain a situation, root cause and potential fixes. This can only happen if you have your own emotional pause button switched on and ‘chimp’ under control. Use the LAER  model and Active Listening template in the playbook.

5. Develop a performance culture

Look to develop a set of management behaviours that support and challenge your team with a balanced focus on both results and the person.

6. Give effective feedback

  • Praise effort, especially on best practice process (this is growth mindset feedback)
  • Deliver feedback as soon as you can after the event in question
  • Make the feedback evidence based (always)
  • Do not be drawn into the popular ‘shit sandwich’ approach! (something good, something to improve, something good)
  • Ask for feedback from your team

7. Have the courageous conversations

Sometimes it is easier not to give feedback when it is picking up on disruptive and negative behaviour because it is challenging and difficult. However foster a habit of doing this in a supportive but challenging style.

8. Develop a contingency management style

Develop a style that allows for the context of the situation, the skill, desire and experience of the individual and associated timescale.  It is sometimes appropriate to be directive, however if you want engagement by the team over the long term it pays to be consultative whenever possible.

9. Delegate effectively

Be specific on outcomes required, resources available, procedural guidelines, no go areas and escalations, most managerial conflict comes from ambiguous delegation.

10. Become a great coach

  • Diagnosis is crucial
  • Avoid prejudgement and be open to learn
  • Run through the diagnosis and the conclusions with the person you are coaching and ask them to challenge and build
  • Ask the individual to talk through their commitment to change and what they are going to do
  • Write up the agreed diagnosis and plan
  • Get the individual to ‘sign up’ to implementation and reporting
  • Reward effort on the right things and guide away from the non productive

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