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Trustpointe, Inc. | Indianapolis, IN

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by Duane Weber

Elaine was the top producer in the company.  She was independent, driven and disciplined.  As the top gun she was left alone to do her job.  She resisted accountability and no one pressed her because she brought in big numbers. Elaine was promoted to sales manager so she could teach everyone how to sell like her.

Bruce was great at relationships. Clients loved him and everyone in the company loved him.   Bruce was empathetic toward his customers and his peers.  He was a good producer and when the previous sales manager left, he was the popular choice.

Elaine and Bruce struggled in their leadership roles.  Because there was no structure, both were left to manage based upon their own experiences.  Elaine had no accountability other than the stick she carried.  Her mantra was “I don’t care what you do as long as you meet your sales numbers.”  Well, no one was, and the top producer was now on the sidelines.  Elaine didn’t hold anyone accountable because she didn’t want to be held accountable.

Bruce was a great supervisor. His team loved him!  And he loved his team.   He was an amazing cheerleader.  However, Bruce was too empathetic.  He could feel their pain and accepted their excuses.  His approach was to be nurturing but it generally backfired. He had trouble holding anyone accountable because goals weren’t his thing.  “Managing is about people” he would say. When tough decisions needed to be made, he couldn’t make them.

Great Salespeople Don’t Necessarily Make Great Leaders

Have you heard that saying in the financial world: “Past performance doesn’t guarantee future results?”  The characteristics of a top producer oftentimes don’t correlate with the characteristics required to be a great leader.  Before your hire, objectively assess their abilities and make sure they align with a leadership position.

Everyone Needs To Be Held Accountable

Accountability can be defined as doing what you say you’re going to do.  Salespeople and sales managers need to mutually agree on the performance metrics.  This includes activity goals and not simply sales numbers.  Activities goals are leading indicators whereas sales numbers are trailing indicators.  Tracking leading indicators like dials and referrals makes it easier to manage and be managed.  The manager simply needs to monitor the results and react accordingly. Stay hands off if the targets are met and become more engaged if they aren’t. 

Have a System

Sandler’s selling methodology is based upon a structured approach to the sale process.  This process works across an unlimited number of selling environments while allowing any type of person to be successful implementing the system.  Success lies in the structure.  The key is to have a time-tested system like Sandler’s Strategic Sales Management program that provides consistency while allowing every person in a management role to perform accordingly.

At Sandler Training Trustpointe, we teach you to get out of our own way and become a great leader.  To learn more about leading indicators, sticks and carrots and a darn good sales management methodology contact Duane Weber at 317-845-0041 or



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