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MIKE’S ADVICE: “Evaluate your calendar and get focused on the things that move the needle when it comes to creating, advancing, and closing sales. It’s understanding the job is to win through your people and good things will happen.”
JOE’S ADVICE: “Keep it simple, find a process, and stick to it. There’s a lot of benefit to consistency and the one-on-one accountability meeting is a great example of that. If you’re constantly moving the target and trying different approaches, it’s very hard to know where you’re making gains and making losses. so pick a methodology, stick to it, and be consistent.”
THE PODCAST BEGINS HERE
Fred Diamond: We got Mike Weinberg today, the author of The First-Time Manager: Sales, and whenever I get a request from an author or a sales speaker, and we get dozens every week, I always say, “I’d be happy to have you on the show if you could bring a bona fide VP of sales level professional with you.” I want to applaud you, Mike, for bringing on Joe Tarulli. He’s the general manager or sales leader at Pyrotek. We’re going to have a fun conversation today with one of the true thought leaders on sales management and someone that’s applying that. I’m very, very excited.
I’ve said this many, many times on the Sales Game Changers Podcast that the hardest job, I think, in any company is first-time sales managers. Mike, especially over the last couple of years, a lot of people were promoted in January of 2020 to their sales management role, and then two months later were all sent home. I think that provided a huge disservice to a lot of the sales managers that are in a very, very challenging role to begin with. Talk a little bit about that. Talk about why first-time sales manager is such a difficult role to begin with, and then let’s get deep into some of your advice, some of Joe’s advice for them.
Mike Weinberg: Let me just start by saying thank you. You’re really generous. What a treat to be invited to join you on the show, Fred. It’s been great knowing you for the last decade or so. I’m thrilled to be here and share with you. It was not hard to pick a sales leader to join me. Joe was the first person I tapped. Thank you for the invite. I think the audience will gain as much or more from him as from me.
To your question, why is it so hard to be a first-time sales manager? We could almost drop off the first time and just deal with the frontline sales manager. We’ve talked about this a lot, but that’s the hardest job there is. Everybody wants a piece of you. Whether it’s your own people, your underperformers that are scared of their shadow, or your top people who are high maintenance and difficult, or customers that use you as the punching bag. Then on the other side, internally, how many senior leaders and companies have lost sight of the sales manager’s primary job, and bury them in all kinds of crap, and divert them, and distract them, and send them dozens of emails in a day asking for information?
The frontline manager job is hard enough, and I’ll just say this now, and I’m sure this theme will weave its way through our whole dialogue. It’s not only the hardest job, I would argue it’s the most critical job. This is the person who’s leading the team that drives revenue. The pressure is enormous and I shifted the focus of my business probably six or seven years ago to spending more time with sales leaders. Because when you get that right, everything changes. At the macro level, the frontline manager is the most critical and the hardest job, it’s doubly or triply hard for the new manager. I’ll throw one big reason out right now, is that the job of leading the team is almost nothing like the job of being an individual contributor salesperson.
The title of chapter two in the new book is really straightforward. It says, your new job in management is nothing like your old job in sales. In fact, the only thing that’s similar is the word sales. But you go from being selfish to being selfless. You go from winning on your own to having to win through other people. You go from a place where if your ego’s a little bit big, that actually helps you in sales, but that destroys you as a manager. It’s a really tough transition. Speaking in the first person, if you read my first management book, Sales Management. Simplified., I outline my struggles to say that I was struggling or flailing would be an understatement as a new manager. I had a really hard time making that adjustment. That was one of the motivations when the publisher asked me to write this book, because I could relate to those challenges.
Fred Diamond: As I was reading your book, it was one of those books where almost every page, I’m like, “Yes, yes. Yes, absolutely.” Especially, after I get Joe’s initial thoughts, I want to talk about that particular thing that you just mentioned. Can individual contributors be successful in sales? Although you talk about other ways to get into sales management, typically it’s like, you’re a high performer. Obviously, the next step would be, I’ve spoken to a lot of people over my career, as I’m sure both of you have too, who have said their worst two years in their career was the two years they were promoted into sales management. We’ll talk about that in a second.
Joe, give us some insights. Tell us a little bit about Pyrotek and give us some of your thoughts on what Mike just started us off with.
Joe Tarulli: Thanks, Fred. Really appreciate you having us on. Pyrotek is an international organization. We have about 3,200 employees. Primary focus is the aluminum industry, so helping customers who actually make aluminum and make parts out of aluminum. I’ve been with the company for 25 years. Started off in sales and then was promoted to sales management, and then was involved in sales leadership for about 12 years. About four years ago, I was asked to run a couple of our business units. I have full P&L responsibility, including sales, obviously, for those two business units for Pyrotek.
I think what resonates for me, based upon what I’ve heard so far, is the fact that, A, I agree 100%, the sales manager role is probably the most difficult in the organization, certainly in the sales organization. What attracted me first to Mike’s work, and the title of his first book, Sales Management. Simplified., is just that. It was so simple and actionable, and that’s what I’m looking for as a sales leader. We actually, even before that time, had organized our efforts to really focus on the sales manager role. When Mike’s material came out, there were so many things we could just grab immediately and apply to that training. We have about 35 sales managers, Fred, and about 250 sales engineers. Not a huge organization, but not small either. Finding things we could implement immediately and have a real impact was what we were looking for.
Fred Diamond: As sales professionals transition into sales management, obviously there are significant changes, and not just in the job function, but probably in life as well. You mentioned before, Mike, you said, selfish versus selfless. Now, I’m going to guess also that your role in the company has been elevated, you’re not part of a team. Now you’re managing X number of people. There’s significant responsibilities, not just your million dollar quota, but eight people hitting their number, whatever the number might be. There’s definitely changes and challenges. Talk about some of the differences between the two roles that you want to focus on and that you focused on in the book. Then, Joe, after Mike gives this answer, I’m interested in your transition when you made the transition for individual contributor to sales manager, and then also sales leader as well.
Mike Weinberg: I’m going to go back to something you started to highlight a little bit, Fred. It’s more than just the selfish versus selfless. That’s where it starts. But where it plays itself out is how you win. One of the biggest challenges I see across the board in organizations right now is sales managers, and particularly new sales managers who take on this hero persona. They’re going to show their team how to do it, and they’re going to sell for everybody, and they’re going to be in every big meeting, and they’re going to get their people to sell just like them. They don’t make this pivot to learning how to win through others as opposed to winning for others. It’s not scalable. It’s not sustainable.
The job of the leader is to multiply him or herself into their people. There’s a very big difference between doing and leading, or coaching, or holding people accountable. That’s the really big pivot. What’s interesting is I’ve been teaching that for a while, the dangers and consequences when the manager plays hero, from burnout, to stunting the development of people, to damaging culture and careers, to the lack of fun working for a micromanager. I talked about ego earlier. Ego in a salesperson is not a bad thing, but that ego gets really old when the boss wants all the credit and instead of protecting you, they’re throwing you under the bus. Instead of getting behind you and rallying for your winning, they’re trying to steal the credit so they look like they’re the one getting it all done. That always happens, but, oh my gosh, in the new manager world, it’s even harder.
If we could get managers, whether they’re seasoned or first-time managers, to let go and focus more on the two… We have two giant levers as sales leaders, accountability and coaching. If we would master those two fundamentals, I cannot tell you what would happen to sales results and culture. I’ll yield there because I know Joe has a lot of thoughts on this. He’s my wise and mature client and friend. I always joke when I’m flying off the handle and being all emotional, he’s the calm one, whispering mature advice in my ear. But Joe, you’re one of those people that really enjoyed that transition. I didn’t enjoy it and I got a lot of clients and friends that that was a struggle. It was more natural for you to become a leader.
Joe Tarulli: It was a more natural progression for me because I was a student of sales when I started off in selling. I wasn’t very good at it. I knew I had to get better. I read a lot of books. I listened to a lot of cassette tapes going back to the ‘80s, and webinars later on. For me, it clicked early on that my role was to be that coach, and that mentor, and that trainer, and to help the team succeed. For whatever reason, I’m not sure exactly why I went down that path, but it certainly served me well in my sales manager role, to Fred’s point, when I went from a sales engineer to a sales manager with a team of eight people. Then into my sales leadership role, really understanding that the way to leverage that success was to invest in the frontline sales manager and then have them be the coach, mentor, and trainer of their teams. That’s been a big win for Pyrotek. Big game changer.
Fred Diamond: I’m curious, based on your experience, what percentage of people have you seen be successful going from individual contributor into sales management? If someone’s struggling, can you get them on course, or do you realize quickly, “We never should have put that guy or lady into sales management”? Mike, I’m curious on your thoughts as well. It’s like are sales managers born or are they trained, if you will, and of course you do this for a living, so that’s part of why people bring you in, guys like Joe. What are some of your thoughts, Joe? Is it a natural transition? Are most of them going to fail, or are most of them going to succeed? Can they succeed if they’re struggling, frontline sales managers?
Joe Tarulli: I think, Fred, for me, the chances of success go up exponentially if we’re really doing good vetting on the front end. Because oftentimes the top producer is not going to be the best manager for the reasons Mike said. They’re going to have a hard time letting go. They’re going to feel some pressure, so they’re going to jump in at every opportunity. They’re going to think they need to do it on their own. Whereas the best sales managers are going to be those that actually get that, and understand that empowering my team and sometimes letting them fail, but giving them the tools and the support and the training, those are the ones that are going to be successful. I would say if you’re not doing really any vetting and you’re taking your top guys and girls and saying, “Look, you’re going to be the manager,” the chances of failure go up quite a bit. If you actually do the vetting like any other interview process and find out, A, first of all, do they want to do it? Because not everyone does, B, what their attitude is or their willingness to adapt and change, your chances of success are going to go up quite a bit.
Mike Weinberg: Joe, I agree with you, and I think a lot of people, they get that the vetting is important. Then some people like me, as an example, I had a rough transition but became very good at it. But you’re doing something at your company. You have a sales manager certification program. You took this seriously before we even met. You had created programs as head of sales development for your organization where you helped people become good leaders and managers. It’s so unique. I think the listeners would benefit hearing, just talk a little bit about the genesis of that program and what you actually train sales managers to do, because it’s so powerful, because we see how they’ve ramped up in competence and effectiveness.
Joe Tarulli: Before we even met, Mike, you’re right, we did make that shift to really focusing in on the sales managers. We established a sales leadership council where we took our top sales managers from around the world and spent a week together at various locations, and really poured into them, and got best practices, and really did a train the trainer approach. Because again, we could not train 250 sales engineers with a small team. We needed help from the sales managers. That was key to kicking that off. But then after reading Sales Management. Simplified., the certification process actually came about where we take those three high value activities you talk about all the time, the one-on-one accountability meetings, the local sales meetings, the infield coaching, and we built a certification program around that.
It’s self-reporting. The sales managers report, their managers have to sign off. But the cool thing is we have actual metrics around it. We did some baselining before, we did baselining after, and I’ve shared these figures with Mike. The first year we did it, Fred, the GP percentage for those managers teams who were certified was 3% higher than the non-certified sales managers. Our win rate was 7% higher on opportunities. Our activities of our sales engineers face time with customers was about 20% higher. All those things paid huge dividends and real dollars to the bottom line for the company. It was really based around those three key activities.
Fred Diamond: Now, that is great to hear what’s going on. At the Institute for Excellence in Sales, we’re proud of our Premier Women in Sales Employer and Premier Sales Employer designations. Mike, I’m just curious. You work with hundreds of companies, you’ve met hundreds of guys like Joe. Is what Joe just described normal, is it an anomaly? 10% of companies that you’ve worked with, I would say it’s a very small percentage of companies that we work with, have that type of thought process in place. I’m glad that you asked Joe to further expand on that.
Mike Weinberg: That’s why I wanted him on this show. He’s in the upper echelon. What they’re doing there is beyond, it’s not even 10%. I’m in some companies that everybody knows the name of. Not everybody may have heard of Pyrotek before today, but I’m in some companies where you know who they are. I walk in there and I’m looking at the sales management development program, and how they bury these poor people, and how senior executives have completely lost the grip on what a sales manager is supposed to do to drive culture and results. They’re not doing anything like this. In his world, they’re not just laying out some metrics. They’re coaching them on how do you do a better job doing accountability? How do you do a better job getting out and actually coaching and working alongside your people, and coaching sales skills and coaching the deal? How do you run better sales team meetings that equip and energize? Do you know how much less business I would have if there were more Joe Tarullis and more companies that were doing that? It’s fun that they still invite me back. They don’t really need me. They just like having me around, and I’m affirming what they’re doing. But we’d be a whole lot better off if big companies and small companies were investing in salesmen.
I’ll just say this, it’s from a matter of conscience. I get calls all the time because of the popularity of my first book, New Sales. Simplified., everybody wants sales training, help my people do a better job bringing in new business. I’m a sales nerd. I wrote that book and I’m happy to talk about targeting, and messaging, and prospecting, and consultative sales calls, and owning the pipeline and the calendar, which are the basics for developing good new business. But in my conscience, I have to look at executives and go, “I can help you with that. But can we talk about sales leadership, and culture, and right people in the role, and compensation, and accountability, and coaching, and pointing the team?” Because all that is leadership responsibility. If that stinks, I don’t care if you pay me a million dollars to train the salespeople, nothing will change. It’s a matter of conscience and integrity to go, “If you don’t get the big sales management stuff right, nothing else really matters.”
Fred Diamond: Joe, you want to comment on that?
Joe Tarulli: Yeah, I was going to mention, Fred, we’ve actually taken it even a step further. We’ve developed some of our Power BI reporting around those one-on-one accountability meetings. We have results and pipeline and activities, which is really taking Mike’s template and formalizing it within Pyrotek so that all the information is served up. It makes the meetings very quick and easy and we can really focus in on what we need to do to move the needle.
Fred Diamond: I have a different question I want to ask you here. Mike, you did a great job in the book talking about your early sales career, some of the leaders that you worked for. I liked what you were just saying a few seconds ago about what sales leaders need to think about today. I was talking to a sales manager who said that he has a new sales professional who’s in his 20s and he wants feedback every day. He says he wants to hear every day, “How’d I do today, boss?” type of a thing. The guy said to me, “I got my review every six months and I knew where I was and where I’m going, but this whole generation wants to be, not necessarily coddled, but constantly given feedback and the ability to get the feedback.”
I’m curious on both of you from a general perspective. Obviously, sales needs to bring in the revenue, first and foremost. Mike, you do a great job in the first couple of chapters talking about the types of meetings and the types of things sales managers need to have with their people to understand where is the revenue, where is it coming from, what’s the pipe look like, et cetera. Give us an overview today, Joe, you go first, on the sales manager role. Joe, Mike alluded to coaching and leadership, et cetera. Give us some of your thoughts on managing the people today. I’ll be very succinct, people in their 20s, from a sales management leader perspective, how do you manage that group of people, and how do you coach your people to be more successful at that?
Joe Tarulli: It’s interesting, Fred, I think the human aspect obviously is probably the most challenging part of any management role. I think the landscape has shifted significantly as the millennials and now the Gen Zs are coming into the workforce. Quite frankly, we’ve had numerous conversations within my organization on the challenges of motivating and coaching these 20-year-old managers, because we have them. There’s no clear-cut answer, because again, I have noticed also they do want that constant affirmation that they’re doing the right job. Again, I think setting up a regular cadence of the one-on-ones, and we pick monthly, maybe for some people it’s biweekly, or weekly. But giving that feedback, I think is important to make sure that they know that they’re either on track or need to make a course adjustment. But yeah, it’s a tough challenge. I’m curious if Mike has any wise words on this.
Mike Weinberg: No, I like where the conversation’s going. I think there’s two pieces to one-on-ones. There’s coaching and there’s accountability. I think when someone’s asking for feedback, “How am I doing?” That doesn’t necessarily mean we need to pull out the pipeline on a daily basis, because that feels redundant and awkward, particularly if they’re selling something that’s not that transactional and the sales cycle is more than an hour. But I think what we’re hearing is a craving for some affirmation and some support, and that’s our job. We have two levers, I said this before. One is accountability, and the other one is coaching. Coaching takes on lots of different aspects. I’m personally mentoring a handful of people in their 20s right now, some of the friends of my own sons, and some of my own family friends, their sons. It’s a very interesting dynamic.
What I’m finding is, it’s simply some check-ins, and a coffee, and a question or two holistically about the person. I don’t like when everybody paints generations with a broad brush because there are lots of 25-year-olds today who are really driven, and really responsible, and not insecure, and not looking for some safe zone to hide in, and they’re doing a great job on their career. But having said that, there is this understanding that you’re hiring a whole person, and the person wants to be cared for. There are little things we can do as leaders that demonstrate that we care without driving ourselves crazy or turning our entire calendar upside down. If it’s as simple as putting a reminder in our calendar every four days to check on Joey, your young person, and send him an encouraging note, or ask how this one thing went, or send him a link to some cool thing you saw on Netflix on some show you think he’s interested in, it’s a way of making the person feel valued and that you’re in touch with them and want to see them be successful.
One of the most powerful things in the whole book was a quote from our mutual friend, Joe, Mike Jeffrey, who’s a sales executive at Paychex. He may have been the star of our video series, when I had him in the room. The guy, brilliant, and always has a pithy thing, and he used this analogy. He said, “We need our salespeople, particularly our better salespeople, to see us as the bridge. That our job is to get to know them well enough, where they trust us that we’re for them,” that’s from another chapter in the book, “But we’re not just for them, but that we’re going to facilitate taking them from where they are to where they want to be career-wise. If we could get to the place where they see us as the bridge to get them where they want to be, one, they’re never going to leave us. Two, they’re going to run through walls for us. They’re going to be totally receptive to our input and our coaching.”
But that requires time and dare I say, love and investment, which is the opposite of what most sales leaders have today because they get 294 emails and all this data being requested from a CFO, and all the, excuse me for saying it this way, but all the bullshit and nonsense that everyone wants them to do as part of their job, which has nothing to do with leading their people, making them better at their skills, or holding them accountable. If we could help the managers get back to proactive coaching and accountability, we’re going to see an enormous sales lift and we’re going to be developing better salespeople who will produce and hit their number at a much higher percent than today’s average salesperson hits their quota on any sales team.
Fred Diamond: I want to follow up on something that you talked about. Again, when I was reading the book, it was like every page almost I was like, “Yes, yes, yes.” I have one quick question. When you’re talking to your son’s friends, do they call you Mike or Mr. Weinberg?
Mike Weinberg: That is such a great question. I make them call me Mike. For the kids that I know, because they were friends 10 years ago, it’s really hard for them. But I look at them and go, “You’re 24 years old, and you’re an adult, and this is a business conversation, and I want you to call me Mike.”
Fred Diamond: Interesting. I have them called me Mr. Diamond. When I was at Apple Computer, I was a marketing director for Apple Computer for a long time, and I came to a conclusion relatively quickly that we were going to reach our numbers with 20% of the sales team. 20% were going to help us reach the numbers that we had quoted. I said, as a marketing director, my time and efforts are going to be better used if I’m supporting our top sales professionals, the ones who have the hundred billion quotas, and they’re usually our best people. The ones who were brand new who are maybe calling on smaller accounts, if I have time, we’ll do some global type things. But I remember I devoted most of my attention to those. In the book, you talk about top performers and how sales leaders need to focus on top performers. Mike, why don’t you just talk about that in general, why you included that in the book, why it’s so critical? Joe, I’m interested in your thoughts as well about the role of sales leadership in ensuring that the top performers are as successful as possible.
Mike Weinberg: Well, I’ll start with this. Nothing hurts worse than losing an A player in sales, because there are so few A player salespeople. That fact, and that’s a fact, that’s not an opinion, that fact should drive how a manager spends his or her time. Because if it’s very hard to replace the top person, then they deserve some extra time and attention. In a minute, I’m going to encourage managers to discriminate as they treat their people, but in a good and legal way, not in an illegal, inappropriate way. But when I was new in management, my dad was coaching me, and he’s like, “Mike, don’t lose sight of your best people. They’re the ones that know what to do with your coaching and they’re the ones that can find you the business when you need it.” Fast forward 18 years later, I’m doing a giant engagement, I mean giant, global engagement, for an analytics company that took their own medicine. They showed me data that said that their top performing sales leaders around the globe, of the 200 leaders they had, the leaders of the highest performing teams, they had the data to show that those leaders spent more than double the amount of time with their best people than the leaders of underperforming teams spent with their best people. It was the data to back up my dad’s anecdote two decades earlier. The reality is it’s true.
Now, I’m not saying you ignore underperformance. The chapter after this is the one about confronting underperformance head on and coaching people up or out. I’m not advocating ignoring underperformance, but too many of us in management spend all of our time doing admin, or fighting with our problem children. Based on what my dad said and what my client in analytics proved out is, if you’d put more time into your best people, you would drive a lot more results. I would argue you hang on to them because that’s really one of our biggest missions in sales leadership, is to hang onto our best people and to maximize their production. My last point would be we should discriminate, not based on race, or age, or gender, or religion. We should discriminate based on performance. Certain people have earned some rule bending and some extra support, and you not asking them to do certain things, and they’ve earned other ways you can bless them because you need them. It is not wrong or illegal to treat your people differently based on performance. I’ll yield to Joe, who probably has some very good thoughts here.
Joe Tarulli: I think it’s very much analogous to take a top tier NFL quarterback who maybe doesn’t practice during the week and comes in, he’s earned that right. I think, Fred, to your original question, you’re going to have the typical bell-shaped curve. You’re going to have your top performers, you’re going to have those that fall in the middle, and you’re going to have those that, to Mike’s point, we need to either coach up or coach out. But I would agree with both of you. I think you’re going to get the biggest impact and the biggest success by focusing in on those A and A minus, B plus players. To Mike’s point, certainly not to neglect the others, but that’s where you’re going to really make those jumps. If you build a healthy sales culture, you’re going to be able to attract more of the A players as well.
One final comment or thought on this, if we’re really doing our job as sales managers, and we’re investing in our people, and we’re holding them accountable, and we’re giving them the coaching and training and mentoring they need, what you’re going to find is the amount of time that those players from A to C require is going to shrink. That lets us be much more productive as well. It really is about sticking to the basics and not forgetting that, because it’s so easy when things pop up, or COVID hits, or there’s a change in dynamics with millennials or Gen Zs, to say, “We got to radically change our approach.” I would disagree. I think we need to go back to the basics, certainly make some minor tweaks and modifications, but the basic tenets of sales and sales management, my belief holds true regardless.
Fred Diamond: Mike goes into great detail in the book about all the things you should be doing. Before I ask you both for your final action step, this is one of those shows that I think we could probably talk for three hours. But you’ve given us so many great ideas. Before I get to your final action step, just want to ask you both, starting with Joe, if you were to advise sales managers on something not to do, that you see them doing that you know is a recipe for disaster, that they continue to do, that’s not going to set them up for failure, what will be one thing that you see too often being done that’s just not a good use of their time, energy, and profession? Mike, then I’m interested in your thoughts and then I’ll ask you both for your final action steps.
Mike Weinberg: The biggest sin that I see from sales managers is jumping in, being the hero, as Mike says, trying to do it themselves. Again, you may close that one deal, you may save that one opportunity, but it’s not sustainable. It’s not developing the team, it’s not healthy for the organization in the long run. Again, that’s my big thing, and again, it’s our job as sales leaders to work with our sales managers and coach them and let them know that’s not the way to do it.
Fred Diamond: I’m just curious. Do you see that a lot? Do you see that they keep doing it, even though you remind them? Is that a big problem or is that a one time, “Yeah, I got it, boss. I’m not going to do it again”?
Joe Tarulli: I think, Fred, if it stays a problem, then you got the wrong person in the role. Typically, after a couple of times and letting them know it’s okay to not jump in and save the day, and here’s why, I don’t see it as a long-term issue. But I think, back to our first part of the conversation, if we hire and promote just our top performers to the sales manager role, our chances of that happening go up quite a bit. That’s something we just need to guard against as sales leaders.
Fred Diamond: Mike, how about you? What’s the one thing you would advise against that you see too often?
Mike Weinberg: I’m going to give you two answers. I’m going to pick up on Joe’s answer because it’s so prevalent. Chapter five in the new book, the title is something like this, bad things happen when you attempt to do your salespeople’s jobs. It plays itself out in more ways than just jumping in, whether it’s in the middle of a sales call or in structuring a deal. It’s not assuming the role of the leader. You still stay as the doer. There’s a lot of reasons. The entire chapter is based around the causes of why we jump in and play hero, and we do instead of lead coach and hold accountable, and then I show the awful consequences. Then I take people through a little exercise about where this hero mentality manifests itself. There’s also a really cool download at the end of that chapter to do an assessment for yourself.
But the other thing I think that sales managers are doing, and this is going to sound really weird, they’re letting other people set their priorities and put work on their desk. At the end of the day, one of my other friends just said this out loud, you can check every box, you can do all the compliance stuff for HR. You could attend all the right meetings, you could do all these things that make you in the good boy list, under the good corporate citizen behavior. But if your sales team misses the number at the end of the year, no one’s going to let you point back to the fact that you did all this good corporate stuff as an excuse for why your team blew it. My message is to remember that you’re leading the team that drives results. Sales is about results, and you don’t get paid to do work. You get paid to make results happen. Results happen when you get the right people on your team, you address underperformance or coach up people who are struggling. The two levers you have for the people that belong on your team are, A, accountability, regularly sticking their results and their pipeline health under their nose so they’re aware where they stand, and you do it in a way where you’re not micromanaging, chapter three of the book.
Then chapter four is, you got to help them get better, which means you work with them. We need to get better at saying no as the frontline managers to our bosses, or pushing back when the company buries us with all kinds of crazy things and go, “Wait a second, this is really nice that you have this initiative. What about the trip I had next week to go work with this person in the field for two days? Where is that going to happen if you want me to do this?” Because the first thing that managers cancel is proactive coaching. When the crap hits the fan and they’re overwhelmed, the thing that’s not urgent is people development, but that’s the thing that makes people better and improves results. Along with not doing other people’s jobs, we need to stiffen our spine a little bit, we meaning the frontline manager, and get a better handle on what our high value activities are and protect our calendar. Just like we tell salespeople, you better protect your calendar and time-block your prospecting. Because if you don’t, it’s never going to happen.
Fred Diamond: Sales Management. Simplified. still is one of the standards in the industry. I think The First-Time Manager: Sales is going to achieve that quickly as well. It’s so well done, so well written. Kudos to you, Mike Weinberg. I want to thank Mike Weinberg and Joe Tarulli for being on today’s show. Mike, I just want to acknowledge you for the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of sales professionals that you’ve influenced over your career. We first met you in 2015. We brought you onto the IES, Institute for Excellence in Sales, onto our stage. You’ve reached the pinnacle of sales thought leader and sales expert. Good for you and all that work.
Joe, congratulations on your success as well. Mike, when we were asking for him to bring someone on board, like he mentioned in the beginning of the show, he said, “Joe’s the guy, we’re going to bring him on. Definitely.” I did research into the success of the company, and congratulations to you and the role that you’ve played, and the career trajectory that you’ve had. Give us your final action step. Again, you guys have given us so many great ideas, there’s great ideas all through the book, but Joe, give us something specific and concise right now that sales professionals or leaders should do to take their sales career to the next level.
Joe Tarulli: I think for me it’s keep it simple, find a process, and stick to it. I think there’s a lot of benefit to consistency and I think the one-on-one accountability meeting is a great example of that. If you’re constantly moving the target and trying different approaches, it’s very hard to know where you’re making gains and making losses. I would say pick a methodology. I personally like Mike’s content and we’ve incorporated a lot of that into what we’re doing, but pick a methodology, stick to it, be consistent, and really work with the teams.
Fred Diamond: Mike, bring us home. Give us something nice, crisp, and concise people should do right now to take their sales career to the next level.
Mike Weinberg: I think they need to evaluate their calendar and get really focused on the very few things that move the needle when it comes to creating, advancing, and closing sales, if they’re in sales. If they’re in management, it’s understanding the job is to win through your people. Where do you need to spend more time? Most managers don’t need to work harder. It’s not a work ethic thing. If anything, most managers are on the edge of burnout. We need to get some things off of their plate and off of their calendar to free them up for the few things which we’ve repeated ad nauseum in this episode, because that’s what moves the needle. Joe said it five different ways, accountability meetings and coaching. If you spend more time with your people, good things will happen. It’s a matter of prioritization and focus and discipline and some low value stuff has to either be forgotten about and let it fall on the floor, or it’s got to be delegated to somebody else, because your people need you, and you’re impacting their lives and their careers. The livelihood of your company depends on your people doing their job well. If you’re not investing in making them better and you’re not holding them accountable, what are you doing? That’s the bottom line.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo