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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=Sales Management'>Sales Management</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=talent'>talent</a>
Talent & Recruitment
Feb 15, 2018 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

In this episode of the CPSA Recruitment and Talent podcast we'll discuss the importance of developing leaders and bringing through the next generation of sales talent.  

We’ll consider the initial considerations for HR and sales managers to determine their enterprise bench strength and replacing turnover, recommendations on how to evaluate managerial abilities versus sales acumen in the enterprise, how often sales performance reviews should be conducted and what should they entail, what other factors are critical when it comes to retaining top salespeople and ensuring the right candidates are in place for promotion or important lateral moves, and what technologies large enterprises should implement to manage their succession planning.

Our guest is Kristen Harcourt, Professional Coach, Speaker and HR Consultant.

Listen to this episode of the CPSA Recruitment and Talent Podcast and discover:

* Initial considerations for HR and sales managers to determine their enterprise bench strength and replacing turnover.

* Recommendations on how to evaluate managerial abilities versus sales acumen in the enterprise.

* What other factors are critical when it comes to retaining top salespeople and ensuring the right candidates are in place for promotion or important lateral moves.

* What technologies large enterprises should implement to manage their succession planning.

Want to hear more? Check out these bonus insights:

* Provide 2 or 3 top tips to determine one's bench strength and how to replace turnover in large organizations.

* How do you recommend companies evaluate managerial abilities versus sales acumen in the enterprise?

* What technologies should large enterprises implement to manage their succession planning?

Read the edited transcription:

Kevin: Kristen, thank you so much for being one this CPSA recruitment and talent podcast. Before we dive into the rest of the show tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do today.

Kristen: Yeah! Thanks for having me on the show today, Kevin. So I was previously working in HR consulting for 10 years and just this year in January I went on my own and started my own company helping leaders become more successful in terms of being people readers. And then also doing some speakings talking about things such as emotional intelligence, how shifting mindsets, and having a growth mindset can have an impact on individuals.

Kevin: Let's actually talk about some really important people management activities that go on in the enterprise today. From your perspective what are the initial considerations for HR and sales managers, because that is the context of these particular podcasts that we're doing, in determining their enterprise bend strength and replacing turnover?

Kristen: I think really the first thing to think about is taking a really honest assessment of where they're at and figuring out where are they really strong and where are the gaps. And sometimes that means reevaluating and making some changes. So looking at if we talk about things such as what does average tenure look like with the organization? Is turnover increasing? And if turnover is increasing why is it increasing? Because not all turnover is created equally so is this voluntary turnover, involuntary turnover? Are we having people retiring? So looking at taking a more proactive approach. Have there been internal transfers? I've been getting really clear on what's happening. And then when you start to get at what's happening and where there might be problems I'm starting to make changes around that. And perhaps that's around hiring different people who are going to be staying at the organization longer.

Kevin: Absolutely. As well as how those employees are treated during their tenure in the organization as well.

Kristen: Absolutely.

Kevin: So many companies find the top sales people don't always translate into good managers. You and I both know that. We've been in the space for a long time. How do you recommend that companies evaluate managerial abilities versus sales abilities in the enterprise?

Kristen: I think the first part is really being clear that there's individuals who are going to be really star, high performers, amazing sales professionals who are not necessarily designed to be in leadership. And that's okay. Are we looking at a top performer here? Or are we looking at more of a high potential? Getting the clarity around that ... And also I think having a really transparent conversation with individuals who might be considering going into more of a sales leadership position within the organization. Because a lot of times they're just doing that because maybe they want a salary increase. Maybe they want new challenges. They want to change things up a little bit. And then all of a sudden they get into the role and they realize hey I'm not out there selling and having all sorts of conversation with potential clients, which was really what got me excited and pumped to get up in the morning. Now all of a sudden I'm really coaching a team and working with them and helping them. Individuals who aren't performing as well, helping them to perform better. And doing a lot of coaching and spending a lot of their time on the people part of the business and that's not for everyone. So it's being transparent around that. And also getting feedback around for those individuals who are potentially going into leadership. What do their peers think about them as leaders? What do their bosses think about them? What do other people in the organization, how would they assess them in terms of their leadership competencies? And be really honest with yourself because there are a lot of people who are amazing top performers and you want them to be so great as leaders because it would make life a lot easier and the organization's life a lot easier. But that might really not be the best decision for that individual or the organization.

Kevin: Because of the extrinsic and intrinsic rewards too for all of us but especially sales people, but especially the extrinsic ones the stereotype is that a lot of salespeople are more lone wolves and they're all about killing what they eat and every other metaphor that you want to try to use in that scenario, right? Unless they really have the ability to translate that across many individuals and roll up in a whole of what improves overall morale, the engagement, all the other things that we like to talk about in management and HR. For those inspiring that collective sales people, if they can't do that then it's probably best that they stay and focus on selling. Wouldn't you agree?

Kristen: I would absolutely agree.

Kevin: Let's talk about, then, how often sales performance reviews should be conducted and what should they entail from your experience?

Kristen: Yes, the beautiful performance review!

Kevin: Yeah!

Kristen: So the first thing I am gonna say is this is not about an annual performance review. I'm not saying that we get to just completely get rid of performance reviews because I think there's something to be said around looking at the year and what happened over the year. So I don't necessarily think we have to completely abolish it but it's not just about that. There needs to be realtime feedback and letting that individual know how things are going in real time so that they have an opportunity to course correct. I think it's also important in terms of that feedback...Feedback around perhaps where they could grow, where they're not doing as well, and giving them specific tactical things that they can do to make changes in those areas. Also, telling them what they're doing really, really well. I mean, I hear too often all of the focus on all of the things they're not doing well and all of the areas that they need to get better at. Why don't you talk about and recognize...And that should be happening in an ongoing dialogue around recognizing all of the things that they are doing really, really well and how they can get even better. Because I don't think it's a good idea to be like tell them to spend all of their time these areas that perhaps they're not gonna do as well and it isn't necessarily as critical to them being a success in the role as opposed to building on what they already do really, really well. But I definitely think it needs to be ongoing feedback specific in real time because that's when they can course correct quickly.

Kevin: And it's all about the quarterly business review for salespeople on any level of organization. The good news is they are getting that feedback and at the end of the day it is about what they close. It is about helping to grow and sustain the business. What other factors do you think are critical when it comes to retaining these top salespeople, to keeping them and ensuring the right candidates are in place for promotion and lateral moves? And again, in the context of sales maybe in another division, department, another part of the organization. Maybe going from the product to the services side, who knows right? What do you think?

Kristen: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So lots of things. I think first of all making sure that you have the right leaders in place because you have these people coming with your organization. If they don't have leaders who are coaching them, supporting them, helping them to grow, we are creating that opportunity where they can do their best work then that's not really creating a culture that's gonna set them up for success. Really ensuring that they are the right fit for your organization, for your culture. So someone who does sales really well in another industry, another area, another size, the type of thing they're selling, whether it's going from product to selling a service, consultative selling. All of that stuff can have an impact on whether they're gonna be the right sales person for your organization. Really digging into whether they're a fit for your specific organization. Also, the culture and the way things happen. You have some organizations where things move a lot slower. You have other organizations where things are moving really fast. Really getting a feel for your organization and who you are and then assessing how good of a fit for that unique individual. And then also looking at is that person gonna be the right fit for the team and they're gonna be able to gel with the team that they're working with? And the leader of course, that fit. And then in terms of...I like what you were talking about in terms of lateral moves as well. What a great opportunity because it's not just about when I'm talking about the top performers and high potentials. There's a lot of people who don't wanna move up into leadership positions but they do wanna have new challenges. They wanna be able to grow. They wanna keep things interesting. So what a great opportunity to do that by moving them into perhaps still being in sales but in a different capacity. Maybe moving from new business development to more of an account management position. Or maybe being in a completely different area of the business that allows them to have a learning curve again, to have the challenge of that. I think that's such a great thing to look at as well. It's not just about moving them up in the organization, perhaps it's moving them across.

Kevin: You know we talk about technologies all the time when it comes to especially larger organizations and there's always that argument should it be best of breed? Should it be part of a unified talent management system? When we're talking about succession planning especially, right? For HR and organizations what is your recommendation on the kind of platform? Does it depend on the company, the culture, the industry, etc?

Kristen: Yeah. Great question. I think the good thing is there are so many different...I mean HR tech is big right now and there are a lot of great opportunities in terms of platforms to leverage. I think you also have to be careful because we can get into the whole shiny object syndrome. Getting things because they look fun and great and not really doing due diligence to make sure it's the right fit for the organization. But I think it's important for HR who's looking into this to first take a step back and really ask some questions before they start going out there and exploring. And it's really being clear about what they're looking to do with the system. Getting more clear about what's gonna be the right fit for their organization. Because what's gonna work for an organization that has a hundred employees to an organization that has 5000 or 10,000 or 100,000 is gonna look very different. And then it's also asking questions around the technology and how user friendly is it? Is it intuitive? What are you looking to do with it? Are you gonna be able to...Is it gonna be easy to distract to...What kind of information do you need to be able to enter in it? And then once you are entering that information is it gonna be easy to extract? Because what I see too often which is unfortunate is all of a sudden there is this HR technology, which is amazing and could be a leverage in so many beautiful ways, but the right information is not being put into the technology. Or the information is available but the people who need to use this information are not feeling competent enough with the technology to be able to pull it and actually do anything with the data. So like anything it's cool if you have a lot of data, but if you're not doing anything with the data and using it in an effective way then it's not gonna help you right? So you need to be able to be using it in the right way.

The other thing to think about is going out there and I'd like HR to take more advantage around talking to their network and talking to other HR pros and other organizations and ask them, "What are you using? Would you recommend it? What's working well? What's not working well? What would you do differently? Are there any questions that I should be thinking about asking?" So to just do that due diligence so that you're not spending a lot of money on this platform and not getting the value that you were looking to get from that particular platform.

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