The Tale of Two Managers
Leadership is action, not position
Donald H McGannon
I worked with two managers from the same company. Let's call them Bill and Dave. Bill’s results were decent, but Dave’s were better. Dave had higher staff retention, higher closing ratios and his team was consistently more profitable than Bill’s.
My job was to conduct follow up coaching with each of them after completing one of our “Coaching Forward programs.” During my time with them I wanted to get a sense of how they ran their businesses. I found out quickly that Bill felt overwhelmed by administrative tasks like updating Sales Force which tied him to his office and the computer. “I would like to in the field more, but there is so much administration” Bill shared. “My boss is always asking for reports, and I need to track my team’s progress”. Dave, on the other hand, made his first priority to be in the field with his people. “I tell my people from 8am to 5pm I am at their disposal” he said. “I think my job is to be on appointments and help my people close deals.”
Bill certainly had a good grasp of his business. He knew where every deal was in his pipeline, could forecast with a lot of confidence and knew what his people were up to. These qualities made Bill popular with his boss. Dave conversely knew his pipeline even better because he had attended the meetings, met the players and made a connection. He knew the stories and he knew where his sales people needed help. Dave was in the field every week for at least 4 days. Meanwhile Bill had not ridden with one member of his team in 8 months.
You cannot run a sales team from behind a desk. Get out in the field if you want to know what is going on in your business and with your people. When you get out there you see, you hear, you experience. With these insights your coaching gets better, your reporting gets better and your team will have more characteristics in common with Dave.
If this is an opportunity for you, I challenge you now to make it happen. Make an appointment today with each of your reps and get out in the field. Experience what they experience. Hear what they say and what your customers say. Your connectivity, perspective and value to the organization will be significantly better.