Four Things CEOs Need to Understand about Sales Management

By Gretchen Gordon

CEOs sales managers

The most productive, world-class organizations have dedicated sales managers, but not every CEO understands how to make the most of this very important role. Here are four things executives need to understand about the role of a dedicated sales manager.

1. Think before you promote your best sales rep to a management role. The role of sales manager requires a significantly different skill set from the role of a salesperson. In salespeople, we are seeking some combination of skills that might include hunting, qualifying, selling consultatively, closing, farming, and account managing. In sales managers, we seek the skills of coaching, motivating, holding salespeople accountable to behaviors, and recruiting. Evaluate sales-manager candidates for specific sales manager skill sets.

2. Hold your sales manager accountable. Both you and your sales manager need to focus on four disciplines: goals, pipeline management, activity, and coaching – but at different levels. For example, when the sales manager asks each salesperson about items in the pipeline, you need to request that the sales manager report back to you about the health and predictability of the pipeline. Make sure he or she supports each opportunity’s position in the pipeline. Ask the sales manager specific questions regarding the activity of the team. (For example, ask if the team had 20 first appointments this week. If not, why not? What is going to be done differently next week?) This reinforces the questions the sales manager should be asking of each salesperson each week.

3. Be smart about the way you compensate your sales manager. It’s rarely productive to ask sales managers to sell in addition to manage a team. If it is more lucrative for the sales manager to close his or her own deals as opposed to growing revenue through the team, then the manager will be conflicted about where to spend his or her time. The manager may even compete with salespeople for deals. As CEO, you must be the sales manager to your sales manager, with scheduled weekly meetings about his or her behavior as a salesperson in addition to the scheduled meetings to discuss sales-management results. If you want the company to grow and the revenue base to increase, you will need to compensate the manager more for driving results through the team than for individual production. Here is a case study about how a sales manager who was also the top seller eclipsed the sales team until we helped realign his effort to drive more business through the team.

4. When necessary, know how to fill the role yourself. In smaller organizations, sometimes the CEO must function as the sales manager (click here for the CEO as Sales Manager Toolkit). To perform successfully in this role, you MUST

  • work with each salesperson to calculate what his or her activities need to be, and get agreement on a specific activity plan;
  • have frequent, scheduled meetings with all sales team members to focus their attention on the important activities for that day or week;
  • meet one-on-one with each salesperson on a weekly basis to hold each of them accountable for agreed-upon activities;
  • “pre-brief “and debrief sales calls to help team members improve;
  • go on sales calls to help coach team members (but refrain from taking over the call);
  • review each salesperson’s pipeline with him or her on a regular basis, and ask probing questions about each opportunity, e.g., “What is the agreed-to next step? What two deals are you going to move next week? This deal has been sitting here a long time; either move it or blow it up.”

If you cannot yet afford to employ a dedicated sales manager, make a specific, strategic plan for getting there. If you want to maximize sales growth, you must have a high-performing, dedicated sales manager.

Gretchen Gordon
Gretchen Gordon is founder and president of Braveheart Sales Performance, which improves the sales effectiveness of midmarket companies by transforming underperforming sales teams. Contact Gretchen at ggordon@braveheartsales.com or 614-396-6544.

[Image via Flickr / inertia NC]

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Manage Your Time in Four Simple Steps

time management

Image via freedigitalphotos.net/1shots

How much would you pay a consultant to help your managers become more efficient and effective?

In 1904,  Charles M. Schwab (then president of the second-largest steel producer in the country) asked public-relations pioneer Ivy Ledbetter Lee how his managers could manage their time more effectively. Lee sent the following list and told Schwab to send him a check for whatever he thought the adviceIvy Ledbetter Lee  was worth.

1. Make a list of the most important things you have to do tomorrow.
2. Arrange them in order of importance.
3. The next day, work on the most important task until it’s completed.
4. Tackle the other tasks in priority order.

Schwab knew the value of simplicity; he sent Lee a check for $25,000 (the equivalent of about $250,000 today).

How do you manage your time? What tools do you use to help you prioritize and get things done? Share your tips in the comments section. 

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Lessons in Determination: Remembering Muriel Siebert

This week we mark the anniversary of the death of financial-industry pioneer Muriel Siebert with this history of her perseverance in the face of rejection and adversity. — Selling Power Editors

Muriel Siebert Muriel Siebert established her legacy as a trailblazer when she became the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange on December 28, 1967. At the time, her historic application caused an uproar. No woman had ever had a seat on the Exchange before. Facing ridicule and steep opposition, Siebert got rejections from nine men before she finally found someone to sponsor her.

Siebert faced many hurdles on the way to success. In 1954, she had arrived in New York City with just $500 to her name. She set her sights on a job in finance, but when prospective employers saw a female name, they trashed her resume.

After repeated rejections, Siebert sent out new resumes with just her initials. She got an interview and a job offer. The deal fell through, however, when she admitted she didn’t have a college degree (she had dropped out of Case Western Reserve University to care for her terminally ill father).

When, after so many unfair rejections, she got a second job offer, she lied and said she had a degree.

“They didn’t check,” said Siebert in an interview with Senior Women Web. “But when I applied for my seat on the Stock Exchange, I told them. It was a historic application and I didn’t want to lie.”

Her next hurdle was a new rule put forth by the Stock Exchange requiring a letter from a bank promising to lend Siebert $300,000 of the near-record $445,000 seat price. Unfortunately, banks would not lend her money until the Stock Exchange would admit her. With dogged determination, Siebert jumped through every hoop and found the funding she needed. In 1967, she became the first woman to hold a seat on the Exchange.

Siebert became widely known as a force to be reckoned with in the notoriously cutthroat and male-dominated world of finance. Siebert created her own firm, Siebert & Co., and continued to take bold and controversial risks. In 1975 when a new federal law abolished fixed brokerage commissions, she transformed her company into a discount brokerage house. Her longtime clearinghouse dropped her like a hot potato, and she was nearly expelled by the Securities and Exchange Commission. At the eleventh hour, she secured another clearinghouse, and the success of her company helped pave the way for the now-thriving discount brokerage market.

In 1977 Siebert took a leave of absence to serve as the first woman Superintendent of Banking. She had to ensure the safety and soundness of New York State’s 500 banks, which controlled $500 billion in assets and trust accounts. The economy made playing tough a necessity. Interest rates spiked during Siebert’s tenure, and banks all over the country went belly up.

Siebert facilitated mergers, supervised drastic restructurings and even convinced one bank president to cut his own salary by $100,000. Under her direction, not one New York bank failed.

After an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate, Siebert returned to her company in 1982. In 1996, her firm merged with a private company. Siebert Financial Corporation currently pulls in more than $25 million in revenues a year.

In 2000, Siebert Financial founded Women’s Financial Network, the first online trading site geared specifically toward women. Siebert was encouraged to see more women taking control of their financial futures. “When you get more confidence,” she told Senior Women Web, “you’re willing to take a higher risk.” Spoken like a true trailblazer.

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Eleven Ways to Run a Great Team Sales Meeting

By Josiane Feigon 

Salespeople know that every second spent away from sales-related activities impacts their ability to meet their revenue targets. You can’t just stumble into your next team meeting unprepared. At the same time, you should not think that meetings ought to give everyone a “Kumbaya” feeling, when everyone gets together to share success stories and daily challenges.

Good salespeople are good because they are productive and focused on quota attainment. When their daily activity is interrupted by needless, dull, and long meetings, they shut down. (As I explain in this video below, recently one manager told me he tries to keep his sales meetings “under two hours.” Two hours is way too long!)

Here’s the deal: call a team meeting only when you have something really important to say. Otherwise, just email your team and call it a day. Used wisely, team meetings can be a source of enormous influence for managers. Talent 2.0 is all about group dynamics, career advancement, acknowledgment, and breaking news updates. Use your meetings to send a unified message, make a statement, set the tone, and deliver your message loud and clear. Here are a few tips:

1) Start strong, stay strong.

YOU are in control of your sales meeting – and all eyes are on you. Your role is to facilitate healthy dialogue, inform your team, present new ideas, and encourage buy-in from team members. It all starts with you. Be prepared; don’t wing it.

2) Own your meeting space.

Remember, you own that conference room for the duration of your meeting. Don’t let anyone kick you out, and don’t get pushed out if the room is double booked. Just say, “Mine,” and use the room for whatever time you have in it.

3) Watch your body language.

Body language, or nonverbal communication, can speak much louder than words. It can make you look uncomfortable, stressed, distant, stiff, or stale. No matter what you say and what you want your meeting attendees to do, your body language may be screaming, “I’m outta here!”

4) Let your tone set the mood.

The last thing you want to be is boring. If your tone is too serious, you can throw your team members into the panic zone and prevent them from hearing what you’re saying. If your tone is too light, they might not take you seriously.

5) Make it all about the meeting agenda.

The more organized your agenda, the better your chances of creating a healthy discussion and getting your people to talk. Distribute an agenda in advance so that your team comes prepared, and ask team members to vote on a few ideas to help prioritize the flow. The more you can educate and reinforce concepts in your discussions, the more you demonstrate the desired behavior, the more it will all sink in.

6) Create cohesive team dynamics.

The life force of a team is so much stronger than each individual. The more you value your team members’ worth, the more they will outperform your expectations. Lift them up and hold high standards when it comes to creating a cohesive team dynamic.

7) Ask compelling questions.

“Any questions?” Forget asking that. Questioning and qualifying sits at the heart of your team’s sales effort, so you must model master questioning skills. The more compelling the questions you ask, the more you will encourage richer discussion and exchange of ideas. Ask open-ended questions but stay away from broad questions that require reflective contemplation.

8) Listen from the observation deck.

“Let me stop you right there – I know where you’re going on this one.” This manager just turned off the brains and ears of every rep in the room. If you want to build trust and commitment, you need to listen to what they say.

9) Set late penalties that sting.

“If you can’t make the meeting on time, the door will be closed and you can’t come in.”

Don’t you wish you could say that? You probably do, but it’s actually not the best strategy. Instead, try preventing tardiness by setting the ground rule: Be on time. It’s definitely not OK to roll in five or 10 minutes after the meeting starts with an excuse about not being able to end a call. Make sure everyone knows the ground rules beforehand so they have no excuses.

10) Invite compelling speakers.

Guest speakers should empower your team members, not bore them or make them angry, so choose carefully. If they don’t like the speaker, or if the speaker is boring or off track, it will reflect poorly on you. A great speaker shares power with you and helps you glow. Make sure that your invited speakers understand your group’s charter and knows your group’s world. Ask them to keep their remarks short and focused on benefits. You can help ensure this by giving speakers a seven-minute time limit to help them organize their presentation.

11) Close with energy!

“Alrighty, it’s time to end our meeting.” Look down at your laptop, put your papers in order… Wrong move. No matter how good your meeting is, if you don’t close with positive energy, you will inevitably lose some of the enthusiasm you worked hard to generate. Participants should leave the room with more focus, enthusiasm, and understanding than when they came in.

What do you think of these tips? Share your thoughts in the comments section. 

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Determine Your Best Sales Management Style

Today’s post is by Dr. Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager, which has sold more than 13 million copies. 

The One Minute Manager Ken BlanchardCertainly, the people being supervised are the key variable in determining a sales management style. No question about it. Without people there would be no leadership or management necessary. However, being realistic and recognizing that we work in a world which doesn’t operate exactly the same as situations in textbooks, there are other variables which impact managerial style.

One important factor which will determine one’s approach to management is the style and expectations of the boss. If your boss is a very directive manager and expects you to be the same, it may be difficult or impossible for you to engage in a coaching or supportive leadership style without getting yourself into hot water.

Your associates are another moderating influence which can potentially change your sales management style. In some organizations, it’s expected that all managers on a given level will operate in pretty much the same manner. If you should get out of step with your peers, they will become upset. You would be a threat to the security of the organization. Hence you will get pressure to return to the group norms.

Corporate personality or organizational culture is yet another variable which may have an impact on your sales management style. Organizations, as with people, have definite characteristics. The management styles available to you in a military organization, or in a bureaucratic office, will be far different than those in a flower shop or the creative director’s department of a large advertising agency. Clearly, your management style isn’t going to be the same as a drill sergeant’s when you’re working with a group of PTA volunteers.

Time also influences management style. If time is available, a good manager will use it to help subordinates develop skills and commitment. However, when things get wild and hairy around the office, a manager may not have the necessary time it takes to employ the “coaching” style of management which demands considerable time for the one-on-one involvement.

To determine the best and most realistic style, a savvy manager will diagnose his or her situation based on several criteria. First consideration must be given to those being managed. After they are sized up, it would be well for a manager to study the boss’ management style as well as to consider the management styles used by others in the organization. Another consideration is the personality of the company. Any management style must be compatible with the organization itself.

When deciding upon a management style, first and foremost, always consider the people you are responsible for managing. Then, think about the environmental factors which might influence your style.

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Three Things Your High-Performing Salespeople Do Differently

By Tony Yeung 

Our clients often ask us to benchmark them against leading sales organizations. Unfortunately, we often find that concrete insight from the data is limited. The data may lack sufficient detail or is hard to collect. Even if we get good information, the chosen sales organizations may not be good models to emulate.

That doesn’t mean, however, there aren’t highly relevant benchmarks that can be collected easily and provide valuable insight. These benchmarks are revealed in the behavior of the high performers within your own organization.

Every sales organization has individuals who consistently deliver superior results. There isn’t any magic behind why these individuals perform; they often just naturally do things differently. Some achieve advances they’re seeking on sales calls more consistently than others. Some salespeople are highly strategic in how they engage their accounts. Still others just do more of the right things that drive results.

So how do you determine these behaviors or benchmarks? We use a diagnostic tool called the Sales Force Activity Snapshot (SFAS) to develop a detailed understanding of salespeople’s behaviors, putting the differences between high-, mid-, and low-performing salespeople in stark contrast. For instance, we recently fielded an SFAS engagement with a sales organization in the hospitality industry, and the insight pointed to tangible growth opportunities for the organization.

Here is knowledge we gained about this organization through SFAS:

Structured coaching activity matters. Salespeople who had regularly scheduled sales-activity and pipeline reviews with their managers outperformed those who didn’t. High- and mid-level performers were about 50 percent more likely to have these one-on-one reviews, and they also had more than 10 percent higher goal attainment than their peers.

Focus is key. High-performing salespeople targeted fewer accounts on average and went more in-depth with those accounts. We found that while high- and mid-level performers did the same number of sales calls every week, the high performers focused those calls on fewer accounts, doing between 1.5 and 2 times as many calls per account. The high performers were also more likely to do systematic account reviews with their customers.

Even the best need to plan. High-performing salespeople were more rigorous in their precall planning. High performers spent about 50 percent more time developing precall plans compared to mid-level performers. We see this time and time again, yet many organizations still don’t put sufficient focus on effective precall planning.

These are just a few examples of the opportunities that SFAS identified. By implementing the right processes, tools, training, and ongoing reinforcement practices, each of these targeted behaviors can be enhanced and spread throughout the sales organization. The key lies in taking a systematic approach to identifying the behaviors of high performers and then focusing on the behaviors we can replicate on a broader basis.

To learn how well your salespeople are using their time, check out the Sales Force Activity Snapshot from ZS Associates.

Tony Yeung
Tony Yeung is principal at ZS Associates.

[Image via Flickr / Kat...]

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Seven Motivational Questions for Sales Managers

motivateThe universal question all sales managers ask is: How can I motivate my people?

Through hundreds of research reports, one message rings loud and clear: to increase motivation, create an atmosphere where the salespeople motivate themselves. When a salesperson feels personally involved in a plan, he or she works to make it happen. To create a self-motivating atmosphere, as a manager, ask yourself the following seven questions. Notice that each one involves improving communications with your staff.

1. Do your people know your plans?

The best way to motivate people is to let them know your plans so they can participate in them. Also, make known your goals and the goals of the company. Let them see the big picture and get a sense of the importance of their contribution to it.

2. Do you give feedback?

Feedback is essential even to seemingly well-motivated salespeople. Every salesperson wants to be encouraged if he or she is doing well. If they are not doing well, they want to know why. By giving feedback, you keep the communications channels open. If your salespeople know you’re willing to discuss performance with them, they’ll be more likely to bring you their problems and questions to keep you better informed. Create an atmosphere where people are not afraid to tell you when something is wrong and you will have fewer surprises.

3. Do you build on strengths? 

Many managers have been programmed to focus on weaknesses – as though any imperfection would negate or detract from any strength. This is not so. All success comes from strengths. An intelligent and persistent person, who is also physically handicapped, succeeds because of intelligence and persistence, and in spite of any physical handicap.

4. Do you give constructive praise?

Perhaps the most golden rule for sales management is, “Never be too tough on a person when he’s down.” When an individual is upset over failure, harping on the negative can hurt him and squelch any incentive to improve. Even when giving criticism, you can create a positive framework: “I don’t think this is up to your usual standard. How can we improve this situation?”

5. Do you give rewards? 

If your salespeople meet their agreed-upon objectives, it is a good idea not to limit their rewards to kind words. Money, bonuses and incentives are key motivators for salespeople. But another reward you can give a high achiever is your time. Most managers spend the bulk of their time with the poor performers and let the best ones fend for themselves. When someone does a good job, recognize his or her efforts and set aside time to develop ways to motivate that salesperson to do even more.

6. Do you listen and learn? 

No matter what other techniques you employ in a quest to motivate your people, you have to be prepared to ask questions and to listen at least as much as you talk. No one’s ideas should be missed. You needn’t seize on every suggestion, but if you don’t at least get back to the person and say, “That was a terrific idea,” and thank him, he’ll never give you another one. Always give proper recognition for every valid suggestion.

7. Do you set an example?

The best sales manager is a good role model – not once in a while, but every day. Your salespeople pay 90 percent more attention to what you do than what you say. Actions do speak louder than words. A good manager knows how to say no, to be tough but fair. In other words, if you don’t handle the responsibilities of your own leadership position, you can’t expect your salespeople to live up to their job responsibilities either.

Successful sales managers are motivating all the time, not just when performance is down. A manager should always strive for maximum people potential – to get the best from each individual in his or her organization. The objective is always to let the other person determine the means to growth and to take the responsibility for his own development.

[Image via Flickr / Aristocrats-hat]

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How Leaders Inspire Teams to Take Action

To get better results from your sales meetings, study how great speakers inspire others to take action.

Great leaders and great speakers all have carefully planned conclusions to speeches that inspire others to act. Think of President John F. Kennedy’s famous words during his Inaugural Address in 1961.

John Kennedy ask not what your country

If you want people to take action after the meeting, you need to plan and then present a convincing conclusion. Here is a step-by-step method to plan and present a convincing conclusion at your next sales meeting.

1) When you sit down to prepare your meeting, write the ending first. What should salespeople be able to do after the meeting? What will they need to do different in the future? What does your top salesperson do that your other salespeople don’t? When you write the ending first, it will be much easier to plan the introduction and body of your meeting.

2) Be very specific about what you want your salespeople to do. Avoid vague words like “understand” and “appreciate.” List no more than two or three actions, any more will be difficult to remember. Tell them what you want them to do and when. For instance:

  • Schedule five face-to-face appointments with new prospects for next week.
  • Ask each prospect what he likes best and least about his present method.
  • Ask each prospect to speculate on future time, money, and productivity costs if she doesn’t solve their problem now.

3) Make at least one of the actions something simple your salespeople can do immediately. As the saying goes, “well begun is half done.” If your salespeople leave with something simple to do they are more likely to do it. When they take action and achieve results they will be more likely to act on the other things you asked them to do.

4) Outline your conclusion. Summarize key points in two short, but memorable, sentences. Restate the main benefit and appeal to salespeople’s emotion as well as logic. Emotional appeals include financial freedom, health/vitality, safety, romance, piece of mind, and personal fulfillment.Tell your salespeople specifically what you want them to do.

5) Plan to conclude well before your time is up. How often have you run out of time at the end of a meeting and rushed to finish? You aren’t holding your salespeople’s attention if they’re looking at the clock. Anticipate that your meeting will take 30 percent longer than you think. If you normally have one-hour sales meetings, plan your agenda to conclude at the 40 minute mark.

6) Save your best “Ah ha!” points for last. Too many sales meetings flow like a bell curve, up at the beginning and down at the end. This brings your audience down just before the most important part-your conclusion. Pull out a pad of Post-It notes and write just one topic on each note. Arrange your topics to ensure that you build up to a conclusion and not down.

7) Follow up to measure the action taken. Great speakers know that their success is measured by the action that the audience takes as a result. Be specific in your follow-up. For instance, in the example cited earlier you might ask, “How many new face-to-face appointments did you set for last week? What questions did you ask? What were your results?”

What you say last is what your salespeople will remember most. A well planned and presented conclusion can inspire your team to action. When you follow these simple steps your meetings will be more effective. Plus, you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment when you see your ideas actually being implemented in the field.

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Sales Leaders, Keep Your Millennials Happy and Hungry

By Josiane Feigon 

Unless otherwise noted, statistics and trends cited within are taken from “MTV Studies Millennials In The Workplace: Uses It To Transform Its Own, Maybe Even Yours.”

Millennials are rocking the sales world big time. We love their boldness, spirit, and eagerness to participate. Fortunately, these young and energetic team members are also savvy, successful sellers who want to learn in their own style: collaborative, congenial, and competitive.

Milennial professional

[Image: Flickr]

But they can also send sales managers scrambling; Millennials tend to want answers now, and they can become bored with traditional sales-training methods. Because these superheroes will dominate our sales universe before you know it, we’ve compiled this field guide to the Millennial generation’s special qualities:

They thrive in a chill workplace. A chill workplace feeds their soul and a work-life balance, and it encourages new friendships. Millennials are not necessarily interested in paying their dues: 93 percent say they want more than a paycheck; they want a job that works with their lifestyle.

Just ask Siri. In today’s search-driven, quick-response, high-pressure, digital and social Sales 2.0 environment, managers feel like they’re channeling Siri – and it’s not fun! The Millennial generation, who make up the vast majority of new hires, wants your answers delivered to their inbox NOW.

Tell me why.” Millennials are also sometimes known as Generation Why, because they crave understanding. They need to smell, taste, touch, feel, and understand every reason why something works and why it doesn’t.

They fear being kicked off the island. Many Millennials grew up watching such TV shows as Survivor, The Bachelor, The Real World, American Idol, and The Apprentice. They understand (and fear) getting “kicked off the island.” They can be hard on themselves and mistake feedback for rejection. In general, they need to learn the real meaning behind customers’ objections.

Are they  always job hunting? Millennials will hold up to 11 jobs by the time they are 38 years old, but that doesn’t mean they will work for 38 different companies and should be treated as disposable workers. They have staying power. According to Hireology’s “Inside the Mind of a Millennial Job Seeker,” they will stay longer if they are kept engaged.

What’s next? Millennials tend to be hungry for new activities that keep them engaged. In the training world, that means you must vary the learning method from partnering to break-out sessions to standing up and writing on whiteboards.

Microcoaching is a must. Today’s Talent 2.0 is watching every step you make, and these employees want you to reciprocate – they love attention, and they want yours. Millennials don’t need help with the dailies as much as they need help with strategy, ideas, techniques, and tips. Sixty-one percent of Millennials say they need specific directions from the boss to do their best work.

“How am I doing?” Millennials thrive on regular – read: constant – feedback. They want to always know where they stand and are hungry for reinforcement. They always look for acknowledgment, which helps them learn and retain information.

They love rewards and prizes. They look for recognition. They want to know where they stand and get rewarded for it. But be warned: they could very well be bored by coffee-shop gift cards and trinkets. For them, it’s all about access, not possession. My take? Go with gift certificates to Netflix, Amazon, or AmEx instead.

Join us in the playroom! Taking short breaks is important because it allows your team to recharge. Some companies provide a playroom, with foosball, shuffleboard, and darts, where workers can actively take their mind off work.

Training must be very visual. Millennials need Facebook, Instagram, and video validation. They grew up with their lives heavily documented on video and in photographs and scrapbooks, and they are part of the “quantified self” generation. Forget tons of data and reading – training must include the “visual bling” component.

They defy authority. Hierarchies don’t exist for Millennials. Their parents wanted to be their “peer-ents,” so they grew up believing they were equals with authority. They trust their peers more than they trust authority figures. Sales Millennials break the barriers when it comes to hierarchy, and they place more value on their workplace being fun and social. Company-sponsored happy hours have replaced meetings.

They’re hungry for a home. According to theguardian.com, Millennials are sitting on huge school loans, so more than ever, they have to earn a steady income. They want you to provide a comfortable home – that is, a fun place to work where they can bring their friends, who are their fellow team members. Maybe they’ll never move out of the comfortable “home” you built for them.

They’re always on. The need to be “on” all the time is a reality but not a good one considering today’s multiple mobile devices. This is serious: 60 percent of workplace distractions come from email and social networking, and 14 percent of workers say they will tune out a meeting to Tweet or update their status on a social network.

Download your copy of the 14 Smart Inside Sales Trends in 2014 report and stay ahead of today’s rapidly changing Sales 2.0 trends.

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How to Move Up in Your Organization: 4 Tips from Legendary Leaders

If you’re interested in moving up to a higher position in your organization, prove you can think strategically — beyond quota — toward the good of the company as a whole. Use these tips to get started.

Bill Walsh leadership Find effective strategies. Vision is great, but if you cannot find a way to connect to it from the current reality, it’s useless. One leader who has been able to bring the imaginary to the realm of reality is football legend Bill Walsh. The legendary coach led his teams to amazing NFC division championships and NFC titles and earned a spot in the NFL Football Hall of Fame. One of his many strengths was as an offensive coach, constantly reading the field and creating strategies that would maximize his players’ skills and exploit the weaknesses of their opponents.

Tip 1: Strategy is something that’s refined every day, one battle at a time. Just as Walsh had to look at each season’s team and each week’s opponent anew, salespeople need to evaluate each customer and each competitor on an individual basis and create a plan to address each unique situation. What worked yesterday or last month may not work tomorrow.

Ronald Reagan leadership Be a great communicator. The key to communicating is connecting with the audience. Former President Ronald Reagan was so well known for his ability to reach the American people that he earned the nickname, “The Great Communicator.” He didn’t use fancy language or rhetoric to win people over; in fact, it was the very simplicity of his style, coupled with his humor, which made him so popular. A senior leader’s job is to communicate corporate goals to employees and motivate them to achieve those goals.

Tip 2: When you have something to say, say it in the simplest way possible. Save the fancy verbal footwork and piles of data for the engineering team, and stick to word pictures and vivid descriptions. Finally, remember Reagan’s advice: “Facts are stupid things.”

Meg Whitman leadership Listen. Sharing information is one skill; collecting information is another, equally valuable skill. And the queen of listening very well may be Meg Whitman, who is known for her humility and passion for listening to both her customers and employees.

“When you’re trained in an MBA program or in most businesses, you use the words, ‘Drive, push, go after,’ and it’s not that way here. Here, you have to use the community of users to chart the course of the company. You can’t direct them to do much of anything,” Whitman told CBS MarketWatch.

Tip 3: As a “trusted advisor,” it’s natural to want to share your expertise with your customers. But too much talking and not enough listening is a sure formula for alienating your clients. Take a tip from Whitman and commit to listening to what your customers are saying. Ask them what’s important, what they worry about, and what would make their life easier – even if it’s outside your typical scope. What better way to become a trusted partner than by solving problems your customer never even knew existed.

Jack Welch leadership Be inspirational. If there is one skill that can make up for a multitude of sins in other areas, it just might be the ability to inspire. People want to be a part of something great, something larger than themselves. Just ask business legend, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch. Known for his passion, commitment, and sense of fun, Welch led by example and took pride in his ability to develop his people. He regularly rewarded the highest performers (and cut the bottom feeders), thereby encouraging workers to make it to the top. “Giving people self-confidence is by far the most important thing that I can do. Because then they will act,” Welch has said.

Tip 4: Unless you inspire others to act, you are a team of one. The more you can inspire your team members to be the best they can be, the further your reach as a leader. Says Welch, “If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it, you almost don’t have to manage them.”

Any of these legendary leaders would be sure to tell you that it doesn’t matter where your box falls on the organizational chart: Leaders can be found anywhere in the organization.

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