Crack The Behavior Code

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Right Person, Wrong Role?

Season 4, Ep. 10

People get into the wrong roles for a number of reasons.


Perhaps there was a reorganization and the company didn’t want to lose them, so they were reallocated without consultation or training. Maybe they were promoted beyond their capability without a training plan. Or maybe they were hired to do a project that’s now irrelevant and they’ve not been redeployed to produce meaningful results elsewhere. And then there’s our all-time favorite, the Untouchables.


Do you have Untouchables? Also, known as Sacred Cows? These are people who were hired because they are related to (or friends with) the CEO or other powerful team members. Even though their performance is sub-par, they get promoted or allowed to stay on for emotional reasons.


[Shutterstock]


Case Study: Company X

Company X was a tech consulting firm with a $37 million in annual revenue and approximately 270 employees, about two-thirds of whom were consultants. They were tracking at $137,000 in revenue per employee… ouch! The company was run by a married couple, John and Sarah, who initially contacted us about perfecting their sales process. They felt that their salespeople could be performing much better. What we found was a much bigger issue.


Assess: What We Found

The findings were grim: a fear-driven culture with 53% employee turnover each year. Company X did an exceptional job of technical training for new hires, only to see them leave for higher pay within a year.


The two owners of the company had virtually opposite Meta Programs, and this was causing chaos. Sarah (Active, Toward, Options, Difference) would proactively start an initiative, rally the troops to move toward the new goal, then jump to the next option/project. John (Reflective, Away, Procedures, Sameness) would want to analyze before launching the new initiative, so he would kill it or block it, minimize exposure, and set up a procedure to handle the proposal through testing, no matter how much or little, the cost associated risk. The resulting chaos was confusing to the team and sending them deep into Critter State.


The glaring gap in the consultant’s training curriculum was in sales. Even though their role was heavily client-facing, the consultants weren’t trained in the basic selling skills and had no incentive to do anything but fix technical problems. They also had no interaction with the sales team — which was sequestered in a different area of the building. The consultants were the right people in the right role — but with no support to perform their best.


Harry, the new sales manager, had been with the firm for three months. Shortly after hiring Harry, the company had reorganized to close a failing business unit.


Sarah and John had moved their niece, Toni, the VP of the failed unit, into a new role as the VP of sales and marketing — wait a sec! What? Did we read that right?


Yep, the niece was given one of the most important roles in the firm after killing an entire business unit. Sounds like a sacred cow to me.


There were three problems with this scenario:

  • Harry (who now was sales manager) had no sales expertise — his entire background was in Internet marketing)
  • Toni was an experienced sales manager but wasn’t strategic and had no marketing expertise
  • The two disliked each other — Toni was threatened by Harry and Harry thought Toni should have been fired for her lackluster leadership of the failed business unit


To make matters even more fun, Toni’s boyfriend, Taylor, had been hired as director of client care. He had solid experience, but a perpetual mocking smirk when interacting with anyone but Toni.

Act: What They Did

The first thing we had John and Sarah do was to create a clear and compelling mission, vision, and value statements. This would help everyone know why they were coming to work, and where they were going together, and how they agreed to behave. They posted these statements in the lobby, and the managers worked with smaller teams until everyone was on board.


Next, we established Needle Movers together (first for the executive team and later for everyone) in line with the new mission, vision, and values, and radically increased accountability using weekly reporting and the Accountability Equation. We created a reporting process for the sales pipeline and marketing effectiveness metrics and set up an incentive plan for the consultants to source future sales.

We also redefined the roles and responsibilities throughout sales and marketing to get the right people in the right roles. Some people were reallocated, and one or two were let go respectfully. Since the company had a history of high employee turnover it was key to minimize Critter State via thoughtful communication.


John, Sarah, Toni, and Harry worked on their on key challenges. Toni got the tools to turn her department around. Harry was moved out of sales management and into the right role — marketing — where he is brilliant and a perpetual learner. He still reports to Toni, who now manages the sales team directly. Harry’s initiatives have made Company X top of mind in their target market. Now that John and Sarah communicate more explicitly, they are no longer creating chaos, and Toni and

Harry have developed a mutual respect for each other. Taylor had to be let go. He didn’t want to uphold the company values and had burned too many bridges to be salvageable.


ROI: What They Got

About six months into the change process, things got pretty scary. The consultants became resistant and didn’t want to work on internal projects for which they had no billable hours, and John and Sarah almost pulled the plug and reverted to chaos. Instead, they applied energy management tools, worked through their own resistance, recommitted, and held their team accountable to the direction they had chosen together. The results were not all immediate — patterns occasionally resurfaced and to be readdressed — but overall the results have been phenomenal. They zoomed through the $50 million inflection point and are preparing for $100 million. Their employee retention is now normal for their industry, and employee surveys show that engagement and satisfaction continue to improve.

More Episodes

11/18/2021

3 Common Mistakes That May Be Killing Your Sales

Season 4, Ep. 15
We all want better sales results—so what’s the secret?It lies in the brain, and knowing how to guide our sales people out of theirCritter State, where they are overwhelmed, stressed, in fight/flight/freeze, and into theirSmart Statewhere they have fresh insights, are ready to tackle the day, are motivated and psyched to succeed.Here are the top 3 reasons you aren’t getting the sales results you want:CLICK TO TWEET1-You Aren’t Asking the Right QuestionsSome of these are harder than others. But you need to ask them. Often, like quarterly at a minimum.What percentage of your sales people are performing at quota?How many stages are in the sales process? What happens at each stage? In which stage(s) do sales get stuck/slow down?What’s your current sales cycle? How long would you like it to be and by when?What percentage of your pipeline do you close? What percentage would you like to and by when?What percentage of sales do you lose to competitors? What are the most common reasons? What percentage would you be willing to tolerate and by when?What are your clients’ and prospective clients’ 5 greatest pain points?What’s your current client retention rate? What would we like it to be and by when?What are your current margins? What would you like them to be and by when?How many qualified leads are generated each month? Through what channels? How many would you like and when?What marketing channels are you currently using (trade shows, direct mail, social, webinars, blogs, infographics, Slide Shares, ads, etc)? Which are most effective?What is the profile of your clients (SBMTrigger, MP Profile,Customer Journey, VAK preference)? How many profiles do we have?2-You Don’t Have Visibility On Progress and PerformanceMany clients ask me for help in streamlining their weekly sales meetings. Here are some effective methods.Weekly Salesperson Status Report– Set a specific date/time that weekly status is due so the Flash Report below is complete. Make it super easy for the salesperson to submit their weekly status, like by editing a Google Doc or some such, and also ensure it is clear that to be on the sales team this is what you require weekly:# new client orders and details ($ amount, product/services, etc.)# new existing client orders and details ($ amount, product/services, etc.)# new prospects and details (expected $ amount, sales stage, next steps)[whatever else you require to track performance and uncover potential problems]Weekly Sales Flash Report– Here’s what to cover each week with the sales team during a group huddle. Be sure to recap on email post-meeting so everyone remembers what was covered.Summary sales activity per salesperson: how many orders at what stage of sales process, total $ per salesperson per stage, total velocity (movement from one stage to the next each week)Winners for the weekly contest (whatever behavior you are currently incenting: new orders, upsells/down sells/cross-sells, specific product/service sales, fastest to report sales status in the CRM, etc.)Weekly CRM Update– Make sure all salespeople know what data needs to be entered in the CRM after each sales call. For example: sales stage movement for the week, notes per call/communication with prospect, proposal info and all sales activity info above. Some clients have their customer service reps do CRM data entry for salespeople as a reward once a certain sales performance level is achieved.Some of our clients like to set up a Google doc or other repository to help celebrate sales people (as well as all other team members). On the doc each employee fills in their section listing what treats (under $200) they’d like to receive for terrific performance. Make this public so all can see and use, and you’ll find leaders have a much easier time providingfun and meaningful incentive gifts.3-Your Compensation System Isn’t WorkingThe below plan is a super simple way to compensate sales people to incent them to:Sell more new businessHand off recurring business to account managementTeam-sell where appropriate and know they’ll be compensatedEdit this, make it your own, and see how well it works for you.Base CommissionNew sales from new clients at x% (see “Levels of sales people” below)Repeat sales from existing clients at y% (shared between sales person and CSR/account manager)Year 2 commission at½of y%Year 3 commission at1/3of y%Year 4 commission at¼of y% (sales person should be out of commission sharing here or sooner) Gross margin expectation at z% — see “Accelerators” section below Levels of sales people:Entry level person and entry level quota of $ __________. Base: $ _____ Model salesperson: [name here]Mid-level person (reaches quota 75%+ of time), has quota of $_________. Base: $ _____ Model salesperson: [name here]Senior level person (reaches quota all the time), has quota of $_________. Base: $ _____ Model salesperson: [name here] Levels of CSRs/Account Managers:Entry level and entry level quota of $__________. Model: [name here]Mid-level (reaches quota 75%+ of time), has quota of $_________. Model: [name here]Senior level (reaches quota all the time), has quota of $_________. Model: [name here]Accelerators2 accelerators on increases in gross sales above quota – at ­­__% over quota gets __% commission, __% over quota gets __% commission2 accelerators on increases in gross margin – at ­­__% over quota gets __% commission, __% over quota gets __% commissionTeam Selling – per saleEffort Allocation must be defined clearly in CRM and entered formally:Partner (shares ½ of all selling work) = 50-50% commission split?Consultant (advisor, stops by client if in town, answers occasional client questions and encourages future communication to be with sales person– gets far less commission but still helpful) = 10-30%???of total commission (varies based on specific consultant levels)Doing the above will help get and keep your sales team in their Smart State—which means greater performance, happier people, less stress for you!”