Customer Experience, Sales Leadership and How it Relates to our Business? by Brian K. Cosgrove

P7-f0555 (2) (1)When you read the title, “Customer Experience” immediately your thoughts go to end users of our products and services.  What I would like you to think about is how the “Customer Experience” plays into your daily sales work life?  To me, the customer experience starts under our companies four walls.  Our most important asset is our people and I think sometimes as sales managers we take that for granted!  Some might say that these tips are geared towards “New” sales leaders and I wouldn’t dispute that thought.  The challenge is that over time, “New” leaders become “seasoned” leaders and sometimes can fall into the pressures of quota/budget attainment and forget about the “Customer Experience” as it pertains to their teams.

I thought I would share some tips that play into successfully managing the customer experience in the sales management arena and if you read them thoroughly, could be converted over to be a focus of any good leader.

  • Set Well-Defined Expectations from the Get-Go
  1. Set clear expectations, both individually and as a collective group. Create ground rules, boundaries, and expectations so that there is no questions about what is required from them.
  • Create an Atmosphere of Accountability
  1. Generate accountability by ensuring that you follow up on instructions and advice you have previously given. Top performing sales talent like being held accountable because they can see how well they are doing, how far they have come and can also identify areas where they may need to put in additional effort or modification in order to attain optimal results.  Weak salespeople tend to make excuses, push back, and eventually crumble from the pressures of accountability.
  2. By following up with your team you are also able to gain more insight of the challenges they are facing, better enabling you to advise them on how to overcome these issues. Have your team hold you accountable as well.  The first step in building a work environment in which constructive criticism is well received is to encourage your staff to give you feedback on your own weaknesses and responsibilities.  Incorporate their feedback into an effort to improve and create camaraderie.  Sales success isn’t measured by personal contribution, it is measure by the contribution of an entire sales team.
  • Take Time to Train
  1. If you have spent any time in sales, chances are you have has to sit through a sales meeting that was a complete waste of your time. Rather than learning something that would actually be beneficial to you out in the field, reports and numbers were simply read and acknowledge, and often inflated. No learning. No development. Remove demands on your sales team that do not directly help drive revenue, allowing them to make the most of their time.
  2. As a sales leader, make it a point to use these meeting wisely. You have your entire team together in one place – do not waste this opportunity!  Consider this: If you have 10 salespeople attend your one hour meeting, that is a total of 11 man hours.  Since you can do nothing with the numbers once they have come in, make sure to use the time wisely and TRAIN your team by sharing lessons and offering practice handling challenging, real life situations, rather than simply spewing out the facts and figures.  Imagine what kind of impact this would have on your team’s future performance!
  • Lead More, Manage Less
  1. The primary role of a sales leader is to provide leadership and guidance. The most effective managers out there find numerous ways to work alongside their teams members in order to lead, guide, motivate and reward them in a variety of social settings. They are leaders who are out in the field, doing the dirty work right along with their team.  You will learn how they sell, find out what their likes and dislikes are, discover what their strengths and weaknesses are, and see what areas they could use some improvement in just by working shoulder to shoulder with them.  Bottom line, salespeople don’t want to be managed, they want to be led!
  • Choose Your Sales Team Carefully
  1. The number one job of any sales leader is to constantly be recruiting! If you are always on the lookout you won’t have to compromise when it comes time to replace or expand your team. Wrong hires in sales are typically the single highest business cost because of:
    1. Recruitment costs
    2. Interviewing and selection
  • Training costs
  1. Salary for the hire’s duration
  2. Wasted time of other sales force
  3. Management time in managing their underperformance
  • Impact on your team’s morale

You get the picture!

I have found during my career that there are 5 common core characteristics, in order, that predict success of a new hire in most environments:

  • Coachability
  • Curiosity
  • Prior success
  • Intelligence
  • Passion

The stronger your sales team, the better your results will be.  If you want the best, you simply need to hire the best!  Be committed to hiring top talent available, even if they cost more upfront.

In closing, the customer experience plays a key role in how we will progress in our careers.  It never hurts to take a step back and think about ways to further move along your talent pool, the most important asset to any organization!   I have worked extremely hard focusing on this concept during my career and so far it has worked well!

Brian K. Cosgrove
Preferred Warranties, Inc.
200 Pinebrook Place, PO Box 278
Orwigsburg, PA 17961
Direct | 570-366-6512  Cell | 570-449-9545
Fax  | 570-366-6565
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