“Questions from the Field” asks top sales performance leaders – practitioners and consultants, authors and solution providers – to share their expertise on building smarter, more confident sales teams.
What piece of advice would you give to a newly promoted sales manager in his/her first role leading a team?
A new sales manager needs to be strong and to believe in themselves. Being a leader is not an easy task. You must possess a set of skills and characteristics that can help organize the team’s workflow and efficiency. This requires the manager to continuously improve their own knowledge and skills. Anything would do – reading professional articles, watching interviews with sales leaders, taking training courses and webinars. In other words, a good sales manager has to be a top-notch professional to deliver the best results for the organization.
Thinking back over your career, what would you rank as the most important innovation in sales or sales training?
Undoubtedly, the most important innovation I’ve experienced in sales is the rise of digital technologies. The Internet, mobile phones, gadgets of any kind – all of these help us streamline sales process to achieve results. Since our sales managers are digital savvy, they are able to be more efficient, and in turn their digital literacy lets us become more customer oriented.
What’s the one thing you wish all your colleagues were doing (that they aren’t today) and why?
My view is that all the salespeople should be endlessly engaged in professional self-education, meaning that they have to improve their skills to be competitive in today’s market. It usually involves not only being equipped with all the modern digital tools and technologies, but also mastering a customer-oriented approach – something that our peers at other companies may pay little attention to.
What three words would you use to describe your last sales training event, and why?
I would say Concise, Customer and Personalization. These really embrace the whole B2B sales management strategy. Our sales force must be aware of the priorities we have when dealing with our customers and adhere to their implementation.
How important is coaching in your sales culture, and how do you make time for it (even in small amounts) in your day-to-day schedule?
Coaching and mentoring is of paramount importance in our company. It is the key to professional growth of our team members. We try our best to organize as much training for our coworkers as possible. It gives us a great chance to share our sales expertise and creates positive motivation to strive for better performance.
Have you had a professional mentor who was especially influential in your career? If yes, what lessons or advice have proven to be most impactful for you?
I couldn’t name just one person who had the greatest impact on my professional life. Throughout my career, I’ve always tried to grasp the words and ideas of successful sales people who made it to the top of the business world. There’s an opportunity to learn from them in creating your own strategy for success.
What social media platforms do you use regularly, and, of these, which one do you find to be the most useful in your professional life?
I usually prefer using LinkedIn. It focuses mostly on people’s business priorities, not their personal ones. It helps me keep in touch with my partners and colleagues, get acquainted with potential customers and communicate on business matters at ease.
If your sales philosophy were a movie, what would the title be?
The title would surely be “The Motivated are the Winners”. Our sales staff are motivated to work hard at meeting customers’ needs. The positive client feedback we get from this approach encourages us to do our job even better the next time.
What’s the best sales or business book you read this year?
I’ve read many of them this year. Unfortunately, many great ideas tend to become outdated before the book is published. Not having much time, I mostly read sales publications online, and always manage to fish out some fresh ideas for my business.
Nataliya Andreychuk is CEO of Viseven