Do your managers accelerate the results of their team and the entire sales organization? Do their teams produce more, learn faster, and generally perform at a high level because of their efforts? A manager needs to provide what we call “Leadership Speed” – increased speed and results due to the value they add. Often, HOW the manager can best increase their team’s speed is not clear, and managers often default to their comfort zone, rather than learning needed leadership skills.
Typically, we observe managers performing at 3 different levels of “leadership speed”:
- The Deal Closer
- The Individual Coach
- The Team Builder
The Deal Closer
The Deal Closer is the manager that dives into every deal their reps have, and they typically lead all of the critical customer meetings. In most cases, they were high performing reps that have been promoted and are now applying their selling skills across every sales opportunity. They are also known as High Speed Deal Closers – because they are primarily focused on simply closing deals and hitting the quota number. The result is that their team is completely reliant on them. They confuse their own speed with the speed of their team.
Depending on the market you’re serving and your product offering, Deal Closers may be just what you need. In their favor, you can be assured that if a critical deal needs focus and attention, this manager will be there. But, the drawback is that they can be a bottleneck to their team’s output – the entire team relies on them, and deals only get done when they are present.
Many Deal Closer managers can move to the next level once they are aware of their tendencies, learn new skills and put them into practice. Unfortunately, there are also many that won’t or can’t change their approach. They continue to do everything themselves without developing their teams. While they may succeed for a while, they will either burn out, fall behind the revenue growth curve, or their team will quit on them. Usually they end up being demoted. Which is not all bad – they will probably be happier as high-performing individual contributors.
The Individual Coach
The Individual Coach has learned to transfer their specific skills and knowledge to their reps on an individual level. They are able to identify specific gaps in individual reps, and provide mentoring and coaching to address those gaps. This increases the skill and usually the success of each rep. Most Individual Coach managers have success hiring and developing reps that become strong performers. The best Individual Coaches are able to assess the skills and strengths of each rep and develop personal development plans for them. However, most Individual Coaches tend to hire reps that remind them of themselves. This may make their working relationship easy but it may not fit the needs of the business. Also, the success of their team is usually limited by the number of reps they can personally coach.
In an ideal scenario, they will develop a small group of reps that are competent and consistently productive. This is no small feat, and many sales organizations would benefit immensely from a leadership team of Individual Coaches. However, a myopic focus on individual performance means their results will hit a ceiling, especially those that are in dynamic businesses and competitive markets with rapidly changing requirements of the sales team.
The Team Builder
The Team Builder is a simple term for a complex set of leadership skills. They are able to build a successful sales team today, while concurrently evolving it to meet the needs of tomorrow. Team Builders not only have the ability to be focused on individual reps, their accounts, and territories, but also transition the team to be able to drive growth in the future. They build their team strategy based on their overall market position, the dynamics of their industry and competitive trends. They then translate this strategy into a vision for the makeup of their team, and are able to develop that team. The challenge is delivering results while adapting and evolving the team to meet future needs. This often requires continually driving the adoption of new skills and knowledge, changing roles and responsibilities, and upgrading the make-up and talent level of the team.
What is your Leadership Speed? Are you and your team positioned for success? Are you positioned for growth tomorrow?