Create a Winning Sales Culture | Sales Leaders Must be Highly People-Oriented
“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne Mulcahy
This is a follow-on of an earlier article focusing on the importance of selecting leaders with a high people-orientation.
It is critical to select sales leaders who have the highest integrity and ethical standards. After this requirement is met, you will want to know the candidate’s “people-orientation”. Please note that prior success/experience and skills for the particular job are very important; however, integrity and people-orientation must be minimum standards to be met before consideration is given to any other assets that candidates may bring to the table. And thus, background checks and more importantly, personal references from people you trust are essential.
Furthermore, to get a sense of an individual’s people-orientation, here are a few of questions that you might ask:
- “Describe the most fundamental responsibilities of a leader.”
- “Provide some insight and details on people who would say that you’ve had a significant impact on their career growth and development.”
- “How would former employees describe your relationship with them?”
- “Describe situations (within or outside of the workplace) where you have helped people with personal challenges and difficulties.”
The purpose of these questions is to gain a firm understanding as to the prospect’s interactions and relationships with other people. In your discussion, the expectation is that the candidate must provide clear and convincing examples of where he/she has demonstrated a willingness and a commitment to support and assist other human beings. You will know this when you see it, as folks who truly have a high people-orientation will exude a passion that will be clearly evident.
Here is an analogy that I believe makes the point of the importance of people:
Customers are the “lifeblood” of business. In a competitive marketplace, we will have a successful and viable enterprise over the long-term by providing a unique experience that will delight our customers, consistently exceeding their expectations.
To continue with the analogy, our employees represent the critical “arteries” connecting our business to its “lifeblood”. That is, engaged and vibrant employees represent healthy, vital connections to our customers. From an employee standpoint, providing consistently superior customer satisfaction is the norm and simply a reflection of how they are treated.
In summary, happy, engaged employees will strive to provide the very best customer experience; however, this kind of employee satisfaction does not just automatically happen. Emotional commitment from your people only becomes a reality through a disciplined process, within a culture that is genuinely focused on employee well-being in a holistic sense:
- First, you must select/develop the right people for sales leader role(s).
- Then, it is essential that your sales leaders build meaningful and caring, personal relationships with their people, while also setting clear and high expectations.
- Furthermore, your sales leaders must be genuinely committed to helping each team member be the best they can be. Rhythmic coaching and personalized development plans must be executed for each employee.
- Finally, your sales leaders must demand employee accountability.
If you believe that these sales leader behaviors are a lot to ask of an individual, you are correct! Nevertheless, the return on investment is enormous – Strong, people-oriented sales leadership is an essential attribute of a winning sales culture.
Are you looking for assistance in selecting/developing the right leaders and implementing proven processes for building a winning sales culture? To learn more about this and other programs we offer, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (281) 817-7391.