Every year, hundreds of North America’s smartest sales leaders descend on the Sales Leadership Summit to learn what’s new, what’s hot, and what’s actually working RIGHT NOW in sales leadership.
Today, we’re sharing the top takeaways from Sales Leadership Summit 2019, so you can benefit from the highlights and actionable strategies covered while we were in Denver.
Our speakers dropped some biggies throughout the conference. If you weren’t able to attend, check out what you missed. If you were, let’s recap!
The conference kicked off with this video:
So, maybe we did get our inspiration from 1985, but the content was all about rising ABOVE the market in 2019 and beyond. The speakers focused on how to OBSESS over the behaviors that actually drive sales results.
Takeaway #1: OBSESSION
The first major takeaway for Summit 2019 guests was identifying the difference between priorities, initiatives and OBSESSIONS.
Priorities are things we do to keep our organizations alive.
Initiatives are things we do to keep our organization progressive.
OBSESSIONS are things we do to maximize our organization’s potential.
When it comes to an OBSESSION…
- You think about it all the time.
- You talk about it all the time.
- It is a part of your personal culture.
- Other people think you are psychotic.
So, how much do you obsess over your own growth? How much do you obsess over protecting your personal priorities?
Takeaway #2: TOP-GRADING YOUR TEAM
This was the first of four obsessions we focused on during our two days together in Denver. We talked about the need to OBSESS over finding top-tier talent.
Are you hiring just to fill a vacancy, or are you on the constant search for the best talent you can possibly find? Too many managers take a reactive approach to hiring…
- They look only when they have a need.
- They ignore opportunities when they are “fully staffed.”
- They fish in the same pond as every other competitor.
- They settle for “good enough.”
What if you were truly and obviously OBSESSED with putting together the best team the industry has ever seen?
Takeaway #3: HOW TO EXPECT MORE FROM YOUR MIDDLE PERFORMERS
On Day 1, Jeff spoke a lot about finding your next great salesperson. About obsessively seeking that elusive superstar and luring them to your team.
Then, Amy O’Connor talked about top-grading your middle to maximize your sales.
Top-grading the team through new hires isn’t your only option.
Sometimes top-grading the team is about maximizing the performance of the talent you already have.
What if you were on a hiring freeze? Let’s assume you couldn’t upgrade your team through recruiting or hiring new talent. It wasn’t even an option for you.
What would maximizing your existing talent look like? How do you win with the team you already have? How do you beat the competition using your current salespeople?
Most teams have approximately this distribution of talent: 10% bottom performers, 10% top performers, and 80% middle performers.
Our typical default is to spend the majority of our time with the minority of our team – our top and bottom performers.
Why? Because middle performers aren’t standing out in any significant way the demands our time or attention. They aren’t so terrible that we feel the need to constantly be correcting them and they aren’t killing it so they don’t typically get the positive attention that the top 10% enjoys.
It’s your job is to give the most amount of your time to the salespeople with the great potential for growth. And it seems clear to me that those salespeople are found in your middle performers.
Takeaway #4: RELENTLESS SKILL DEVELOPMENT
What does a culture that demands performance improvement look like? What does performance coaching look like?
To start this segment, Jeff interviewed a great field coach with high performance standards and a member of his Sales Leadership Roundtable, Lise Anzelone.
Then, Ryan Taft jumped in to talk about the qualities that define a great sales coach…
- They prioritize field time.
- They maximize field time.
- They are hyper focused on skills development and habits.
- Their favorite words are: “Do it again.”
When you talk about being relentless about skill development, you need to address a common problem that managers have. It’s an addiction. The addiction to comfort. Comfort addiction is the number one addiction out there.
You are going to get pushback, but here’s what you’re going to do:
Salesperson: “I don’t like role-playing.”
You: “Great. Do it again.”
Salesperson: “I don’t like what I look like on camera.”
You: “Oh that’s ok. Do it again.”
Salesperson: “This doesn’t feel natural.”
You: “Hmmm do it again!”
Takeaway #5: DEEPLY INSPIRATIONAL LEADERSHIP
One thing I’ve learned about inspirational leaders? They are generally happy people.
Happiness is not some pie-in-the-sky goal. It’s noble and valuable – to you and to your team. And btw, to your family.
We are inspired by happy people.
You can communicate stress, or you can communicate inspiration. Specifically, we need to ask the question: are we obsessed with our responsibility to inspire those around us?
There are five tell-tell signs that a manager isn’t really providing inspirational leadership:
1. Low expectations
2. Low commitment
3. Passive Observer
4. Relational Void vs. Relational Connector
5. Stress Creator vs. Stress Reliever
Inspirational leaders understand that this is fundamentally one of the most important things they will do in their role. They are obsessed with it. In fact, in those teams where we find salespeople who are not inspired – the leader stands out.
Takeaway #6: LEAD CONVERSION FIXATION
There are three things that lead conversion obsessed sales leaders do:
1. They talk about lead conversion incessantly
Every rally. Every phone call. Every e-mail. It drives the salespeople nuts….until it doesn’t anymore. Because the salespeople learn something…they are making more money!
You need to get other people obsessed.
2. They insist on knowing the customer intimately
They get to the emotion. Bonus: when was the last time you initiated a conversation with a prospect? Seriously, answer yourself. When the last time you talked to a customer that wasn’t ticked off? Want a wacky idea? Go talk to prospects. Ask about their lives, their hopes, their dreams, their experiences, their impressions. Years of sales rally material, by the way.
3. They demand a plan to convert every lead
Cooperative. Sleeves rolled up. “This is what I do!”
And then, we had arguably our most powerful panel of the entire Summit with sales leaders from across the country that are OBSESSED with lead conversion. And, they all happen to be members of my Sales Leadership Roundtable. (Shameless plug.)
So our challenge to you as it relates to lead conversion fixation, is to prove your obsession.
Train others to respect your lead conversion time. Don’t let anything get in the way. Remember, you train people how to treat you.
Sales leaders cannot expect their salespeople to be obsessive about lead conversion if they themselves are not obsessive about lead conversion coaching. It starts with you.
Takeaway #7: GET INSPIRED AND FIND YOUR COMMUNITY
By far, the greatest part of the Sales Leadership Summit is the opportunity to spend two days with hundreds of likeminded people. What our speakers bring to the table is powerful, no doubt, but the networking and community building is world-class.
The energy at this year’s Summit was palpable.
In fact, we had over 15 guests at Sales Leadership Summit level-up their community and take control of their own growth by joining the 2020 Sales Leadership Roundtable, a year-long leadership development program led by Jeff Shore. They are now apart of a 100+ member community of sales leaders.
Dennis O’Neil from O’Neil Interactive said it best, “We come to the Summit to spend time with our friends; old, new, and soon-to-be. We gain so much great energy by talking, sharing, and catching-up over a drink. This year was everything I expected and more.” Ditto, Dennis!
See you in San Diego!