Companies are continually exploring situations that transform their businesses. Leadership must embark on a personal transformation that results in new behaviors and builds a strong aligned team that requires serious-minded personnel decisions.
As leaders that play formal and informal roles, you must continually develop your face-to-face communication skills. Whether you are motivating and influencing your team members or persuading and engaging clients, you must strengthen your interpersonal communication skills by assessing your competencies and developing a thoughtful action plan.
How are you described by your family, friends, colleagues and your clients? It should be pretty obvious that each of has a “personal brand”; a brand that should define your unique value to those around you. The real issue is whether or not you are pleased with your brand and how you manage it.
Traditional print sales professionals continue to struggle with the business development process and companies of all sizes are trying to figure out their next moves. Building a next generation sales team doesn’t have to be that difficult if you design an effective work flow process.
Resilience and perseverance are crucial behavioral competencies when individuals and organizations must overcome significant obstacles. The capacity to be flexible as well as demonstrate the range of responses to adversity will dramatically impact our level of future success. One of senior management’s responsibilities is to ensure that during these transitional times we surround ourselves with the people that approach these challenges with the most appropriate behavioral competencies.
The challenge of attracting, recruiting, hiring and the on-boarding of talented employees continues to be high on the priority list. How we determine who the most talented candidates are, where we find them, engage them and motivate them to seriously consider our industry for their career path requires a well-executed strategy. And as the workforce transitions from the Baby Boomer generation this process is becoming even more complex.
In business and in our personal lives our ability to negotiate effectively is constantly being tested. Whether we are focused on selling, buying, hiring, team building or any personal relationship, the ability to negotiate always comes into play.
It is universally accepted that one’s interpersonal skills will have a direct effect on their ability to interact and get along with others, build critical relationships and function as a productive member of a team. Whether we consider their communication effectiveness or the way they approach and solve problems the soft skills they possess will either inhibit or contribute to their success.
I frequently hear that incumbent sales people are inhibiting a company’s ability to introduce new products and services and are increasingly resistant to prospecting for new business opportunities. As the role of the sales professional continues to evolve we need to rethink our pre-conceived paradigms regarding what top performing sales professionals look like. A carefully designed strategy for attracting, recruiting and selecting sales talent is an essential component to building a sustainable business.
The challenges that we face when transforming a business are substantial and require the involvement of the entire organization. Each member of the team plays a different role but without the involvement of the CEO the chances of success are drastically reduced. In many situations there are multiple strategies in play; while the legacy business must be maintained and expanded the transition team must define and create the future. Under these circumstances, the CEO’s role must be carefully examined and defined.
The role of the Sales Leader is to manage your system and coach your people. They must provide Structure, Support and Accountability for your sales program and as you continue your journey towards re-inventing your business, this function will take on much greater significance. Adhering to unsuccessful, past practices will only hold back your efforts as you continue to recruit, hire and develop your next generation sales team.
The behavioral competencies and skills that we must look for in the next generation sales professional are quite different from what we have focused on in the past. The ability to engage clients in dialogue to uncover and define challenges is of utmost importance. It is also important that sales professionals be great listeners; listening 80% of the time. However, as buyers we usually don’t experience that behavior. So what can we do to change that dynamic? I believe we can dramatically improve our success in selecting the right people as well as coaching those with the necessary behavioral competencies to become great engagers.
The role that sales professionals play within our organizations continues to evolve. As clients demand more and technology changes the buying process, we need to rethink our pre-conceived paradigms regarding what we look for in top performing sales professionals, what their job is and how we will compensate them in the future.
Technology is driving changes in all aspects of our business; the way we manufacture, the way we go to market, the way we engage our clients as well as our employees. So why not expand the use of technology to the way we attract, recruit, hire and on-board our next generation work force?
As you attempt to execute your thoughtfully designed strategies, the greater the value your employees can add to your internal and external clients' lives, the easier it will be to differentiate your offering and gain a competitive advantage
Change management clearly requires talented leaders; frequently the managers on your team do not exhibit the leadership competencies that are required. Defining the critical leadership competencies required and the ability to predict who has those traits is a crucial process.
Effectively managing a team of sales professionals requires a well thought out and designed structure. Once your management system(s) are in place and the key performance indicators (KPI) are defined and communicated, management can focus on managing the system and coaching the people. Your goal should be to optimize the performance of each individual.
Training and coaching are critical elements in the talent challenge. Whether you are focused on developing your current workforce to improve their overall performance or re-training them to prepare for your future strategies, a systematic approach is essential. As you struggle to attract and recruit the most talented individuals from multiple generations, you will repeatedly hear the question, "how will I be trained and coached so I can grow professionally?"
The interview component of the hiring process is often the weakest link in winning the talent war. Too frequently the interviewee is better prepared for the interview than the interviewer. One of the greatest challenges that senior executives face is to build a team of talented employees; and getting the interview component of this process right is critical.
The process of assessing people for specific jobs is one of the most important tasks within an organization. Winning the talent war can impact all aspects of your business from sales, management effectiveness, client retention as well as product/service innovation.
Optimizing the performance of your sales organization can be accomplished by great strategy and superior execution but if you don't begin with the best talent available, successfully executing your strategy will be comprised. And you won't be able to identify, recruit and select the best talent if you don't have a structured, effective set of processes in place.
The effectiveness of your recruiting, hiring and promoting strategies has a definitive impact on revenue and profit streams. In a time of industry transformation, when high performing employees are required, it is even more critical that you examine and re-engineer the processes you use to hire talented sales professionals.
The role of the sales person has dramatically changed and companies are struggling with how they recruit, hire, compensate, train and manage these essential employees. In order to address this challenge a systematic approach should be designed and implemented. In this series of articles we will address this challenge.
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