A cautionary tale for sales managers
In 1818, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, the tale of a young scientist who searches for the secret of life through the creation of a cobbled-together monster. Are you similarly building a monstrosity of a sales team through alchemic and irresponsible means?!?!
Let’s hope not. But if you are, don’t fear. You can shift things around.
All too often our sales organizations take on lives of their own and can run amok if we don’t plan and proceed with proper awareness. Frankenstein’s monster was created without a meaningful plan. He was born out of excitement and the pursuit of knowledge, but his vision wasn’t fully considered.
If you feel like your sales team is a Frankenstein, bolted together and not acting the way you’d hoped, it’s ok. Unlike the mad scientist, you can fix it!
Your sales team is not a monster. You might perceive it to be jury-rigged and inoperable, but most likely it just needs proper guidance and a slight adjustment. Remember that you are a leader and not a mad scientist! You and your team already have the skills needed to stop scaring the villagers.
If you’re frustrated about the actions (or lack of actions) that your team is taking, and if the results you want aren’t getting procured, hit the reset button. You’re the leader. Act like one. Bring the team together and discuss what you’re unhappy about, what you’re observing. Do it in a positive and constructive way. Set a clear agenda and ask your team to come prepared to have a thoughtful conversation about improving the sales organization as a whole.
There is great importance in moving towards solutions and not resting in negativity. It’s about walking the talk. If you believe in and are fostering constructive values, then your team needs to witness these values in your actions. If you ask your team not to dwell on their mistakes and to move forward with positivity, then show them how together you can all achieve solutions in an optimistic and forward thinking way.
The idea behind creating Frankenstein’s monster was awesome. The scientist wanted to discover the secret of life! Your motivation as the sales manager is happily not so grand, but perhaps your sales team sees you more as a mad scientist than an intentional designer.
Are you trying to create success, but horrified by the results your team is having? Ask yourself if you consistently introduce different strategies without a plan. Stop grasping for random parts to achieve your solution. Hiring a sales trainer, finding an SEO master, handing out the latest sales book - this grab bag incohesive approach lacks intention. The larger result you’re seeking will continue to elude you unless you and your team follow a blueprint.
But you can’t create a plan if you don't know the outcome that you want. Get the team to agree on the result, then ask the team to co-create the plan. By doing this you have a better chance of aligning everyone and having their actions and experiences contribute to the overall success.
It will be alright. We all get caught up in the moment, and we want our sales teams to be amazing. However they can’t succeed without clear direction and objectives. We must consider the outcome of any creation, whether new life built from stolen body parts or a well-assembled sales team.
A good sales team is devised of smart, reliable and creative individuals who must be given the chance to succeed. Invite them into the conversation, respect them for their ideas and give them the opportunity to grow and contribute.
Here’s a fun fact that popular culture overlooks: in the actual book, Frankenstein’s monster was born intelligent and articulate, capable of great things; but without good leadership and collaboration he becomes self-taught, fearful and unpredictable. Be sure to not act too independently, or else your sales team may become a wild creature roaming around without purpose or understanding!
I encourage you to meet with each member of your sales team individually and simply ask them, “How would you improve the sales organization? How would you create revenue?” They will probably have brilliant ideas.
If you feel that your sales department is Frankenstein’s monster, in actuality it’s probably not. You have a team with all the proper parts and the ability to evolve, because you are not the mad scientist and they are not monstrous! You can create a smart, functioning and creative team that feels built more upon the mind of Einstein than Frankenstein. Let’s get them going…