The CPSA is lucky to have many of the top Sales and Leadership experts as guest bloggers and supporters. One such well-known thought leader is David Brock.
David has spent his career developing high-performance organizations. He has worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix, and Keithley Instruments. He has worked with a wide variety of both Fortune 25 companies to startup companies and has extensive experience worldwide.
Let’s hear from David Brock.
Question 1: Tell us about yourself; your career path and expertise.
Answer 1: Originally, being a sales person was the furthest thing in my mind. I had been an engineer/physicist, committed to research. I found myself at a startup and learned business was about a whole lot more than just great products. I got an MBA, then went to the darkest side possible, selling mainframe computers for IBM to NYC Banks. Over time, I went up the food chain, managing larger teams, running business units, etc. Eventually, I was recruited by a large technology company to help with a turnaround; I went in as EVP of Sales. Subsequently, I did some turnarounds as CEO or VP of Sales. That formed the start of our strategy and sales consulting company, Partners in EXCELLENCE.
Question 2: You’re quite popular within the sales community, and you write some really great content. How long has your blog been going now?
Answer 2: I started blogging very casually in 2007, but consider my active blogging and social presence really started in 2009/2010.
Question 3: Being a consultant, where would you say the most common issue is amongst sales teams?
Answer 3: Tough question, each situation, and every sales team are different. In general, I think one of the biggest challenges we see is a lack of commitment at the sales through management level for sharp/disciplined/focused execution. There is no lack of strategy development, no lack of programs du jour, but not enough courage to stick with something, figure it out, correct it, and execute!
Question 4: How important are sales incentives to developing a culture of performance?
Answer 4: I think sales incentives/compensation is important, but it’s only one of the tools/levers managers can use to drive performance. Too many view it as the only lever, consequently end up spending a lot more on producing bad results. Compensation/Incentives are just one tool in driving performance, another is setting very strong performance plans/expectations and managing to it, another is providing the systems/tools/processes/structures/programs to enable people to be successful, another is coaching and development, another is getting the right people in the first place. Great leaders leverage all of these to drive performance. Mediocre leaders think they can drive performance strictly through incentives/compensation.
Question 5: What are some things that sales leaders can do to empower their sales team to become more motivated and productive?
Answer 5: There are a lot of things that have to do with the culture and value system of the company as a whole. Then from a sales management point of view, it starts with recruiting the right people, then giving them the onboarding, systems, tools, processes, programs, training, incentives, performance objectives, and most of all coaching/development. All of this has to be looked at as an integrated whole to drive the highest levels of performance.
Question 6: Sales is known for having a high churn, do you agree that people leave managers and not companies, and how do you deal with feedback?
Answer 6: I agree that people leave bad managers and bad companies. Too often, people are treated as replaceable commodities and not valued. The company has no loyalty to them, which then drives poor management, so you get into a death spiral. What most managers/executives don’t understand is that this costs them millions to billions in onboarding and new hire expenses. However, the people have some responsibility to bear in this, as well. They see companies/managers not being loyal to them and then consequently they have limited loyalty to companies they work for, often moving on before they’ve produced any results. This is a huge issue for all sides and one that costs huge amounts of lost revenue/opportunity. Most people are not dealing with this effectively.
Question 7: How do you see social selling evolving over the next few years?
Answer 7: Social selling is another set of tools/channels by which we can engage customers. It should balance with the other tools sales people have available to them.
Question 8: What’s your greatest piece of advice you can give to salespeople?
Answer 8: Do the work!
About the Author:
David has spent his career developing high‐performance organizations. He has worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix, and Keithley Instruments. He has worked with a wide variety of both Fortune 25 companies to startup companies and has extensive experience worldwide.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.