Sharpen The Saw Of Your Sales Team

Posted by MarchFifteen & filed under Family and Independent Business, Leadership Assessment, Leadership Development.

At MarchFifteen we continuously keep on top of our clients’ business needs, listening to what is both said and not said.  Well, we have heard you, and naturally we are expanding our services to now include Sales Assessment and Development, led by our new Strategic Partner, Michael Ehling.

Michael’s sales and coaching expertise in large and small organizations is highly personable and focused on making your sales force exceedingly successful. We are thrilled to welcome him to the team. Below is a snapshot of Michael’s thinking regarding Sales and Sales Assessment.  We trust you will find it of value and hope to engage in a conversation on how we can further support your sales team very soon.


You are a leader who is responsible for sales in your company. Your mandate is to drive revenue growth and preserve margins. You know that your best approach is to engage, align, and develop your sales teams. But the pressure is on. And everyone wants results sooner rather than later.

That pressure to deliver revenue while maintaining margin can be challenging. A palpable tension or fear runs though the organization. There are short-term tactics that can help, such as increased quotas, pushing harder, better reporting, compensation tweaks, discounting, and replacing under-performing staff. But these do not tend to be sustainable and can do significant long-term damage. You are clear that the way to win is to invest in the team.

You have many options, all of which can help. You may have tried: sales skills training, kickoffs and ongoing field communications, new sales models and methodologies, hiring campaigns, marketing campaigns, new systems and processes… But under the pressure to generate revenue, the challenge and change become so big that these options can’t cut through that fear. Reacting to the pressure – perceived or real – the fear of change and loss freezes everyone enough to prevent success

And we’re not talking about a dramatic amount of fear. The pressure to achieve amplifies even the slightest fear, uncertainty, or doubt throughout the organization. It is true that the whole organization reacts to the pressure that sales teams feel. Marketing, finance, sales support, product, service, operations all begin to thrash.

Change becomes especially difficult because all these great options above can waste time, money, and precious goodwill within the organization if they don’t address the present pressures and fears. Even your superstars can choke – their performance can slump or they may leave.

Of course, there is a happy ending. Here’s what you can do:

1)    Create a coherent, complete, and compelling story about where you are now as an organization, where you are going, and why. Reinforce the story with meaningful, reliable information about your clients, the market, and your organization. Highlight the talent you all possess, your vision, values, and assumptions, and your overall plan.

2)    Share and keep refining the story so that everyone in the company, and even your clients, understand, trust, and support it. Your story becomes the bridge everyone will use to go from fear to success.

3)    Include in your story the expectation that you will take the time to do this right and that you seek their insights and guidance. Occasionally, people will witness what seems to be a mistake, a loss of commitment, or a distraction. Explain that you will be slowing down to speed up and continuously validating to learn the best ways forward.

4)    Plan, implement, and measure your results. Use any of the ideas in the list above that make sense. Be nimble and rapidly repeat through a series of initially small improvements and learn as you go.

5)    Build systems and add tools to your organization’s toolkit along the way.

6)    Over-communicate your story with everyone who matters to maintain alignment and support.

MarchFifteen would love to explore with you how you can do this and what we do can help. We are a Toronto-based group who specializes in people-driven business growth. We work with organizations of all sizes who want to achieve sustained success. Our toolkit includes many practical tools. We leave you with whatever tools make sense, including professional assessments, productivity tools, communication methods, coaching, training, project management, and best practices in leadership, sales, and influencing.

If what we have said here makes sense, let’s meet to start exploring your situation.

–  Michael Ehling

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