Put the Right Person in the Right Role

People who ‘love their job’ do so because their natural behavior styles fit neatly within their job requirements. They are positive contributors to their team and more easily meet their manager’s expectations; they are energized through their work.

Hiring and promoting the right people is a critical success step for every business hoping to survive and/or thrive through this economic cycle. Not only should a person be the right fit for the job; the job should be the right fit for the person. Employees who need to change their natural styles to perform their duties are rarely able hide stress levels that result in weaker performance.

I have been able to help different clients align their talent strategy with their business strategy throughout the process of achieving the Strategic Talent Advisor certification as a business partner with Talent Analytics.  Clients have used these powerful tools to make stronger hires and promotions through the ’spot on’ accuracy of these tools. The comprehensive results serve as a how-to guide to resetting mutual expectations that leads to stronger performance and greater job satisfaction.

Now managers can make immediate changes by either providing necessary support or reassigning people to a different position that is a more natural ‘fit’. The closer the job fit to the natural styles, the happier the employee, the more productive the team, the more profitable the company.

Mr. Jake Jacobs, Executive Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for ABnote North America wrote last month, “To a person these discussions were most positive and gave everyone great insight into each of our styles and ambitions and why we do the things we do…I can tell you that in my 25 years of sales management I have never known my staff and their potential better and understand what gets them motivated for the cause.”to manage?

“It Really Is All About Your People”

It is a tough climate today for many businesses in many industries. But, when asked this week how his sales team was doing, Bob Martellio, VP Sales for Northeast Copier Systems, (NCS) reported, “We are at 117% of this year’s sales plan in total team production, despite this economy and longer sales cycles.”

Even though the office equipment industry is very competitive with rivals undercutting prices every day, NCS is one of the few businesses today reporting strong growth. Asked to explain he said, “We know exactly who fits well into our system. We rely on the same system we put into place several years ago, and September was our best month EVER!”

Last year they didn’t have the right mix. They ‘took a chance’ on a couple candidates they thought would be successful, but didn’t work out in the end. “They just didn’t fit in.”

“We also realize that there is not one system that fits all companies”, he continued. “We’ve made ours our own, and made changes when we’ve needed.” When asked to boil it all down to the most important reason for this year’s growth, he said,” We invest in our people.”

How do you know you have the right people in the right roles today? Without a clear understanding of the right person to fit into the organization, sales managers and business owners take chances every day when hiring new candidates and managing existing sales people.

Kevin Shea, National Sales Manager for W.J. Deutsch & Sons is, ”Having our best year yet!”  We know who we need on our team, so it’s so important to find the right fit. I work them all pretty hard but they know exactly what is expected of them, and I help them get there. He explained, “Every one is helping each other because we need to work together to achieve our goals and outperform the competition.”

Instead of ‘hoping for the best’ , using a comprehensive assessment provides a coaching guide to be explained and shared between management and the employee. It creates a brand new dynamic that increases productivity and personal fulfillment which drives higher retention.

Sales can’t grow without a cohesive team who are motivated and supported to grow as individuals. Sustained growth is elusive these days for many businesses, and it REALLY is all about your people. And, when they’re all pulling in the same direction, every one wins.

Auditing your current sales team is the best and fastest way to understand how to get better sales with your current people. Discover how coach them to better performance by tapping into their the natural styles and see how their individual ambitions their actions. Experience the accuracy and quality of our comprehensive free assessment here.

I will be sharing many of the tools Bob has used to achieve consistent growth over many years in my next workshop, “Making Sales People More Productive in 90 Days or Less,” which takes place on December 4th. Click here for an explanation of the best practices all attendees will receive as part of the Sales Management’s Best Friend Starter Kit in this hands-on workshop.

Stop Guessing & Gambling With New Hires

Whenever companies bring on a new hire who doesn’t last more than six months, much more than the [tens of] thousands of dollars of spent payroll are lost. Team morale suffers along with work flow disruption. On-boarding and training efforts are wasted. Customer-facing staff changes bring unease into the marketplace. The list could go on and on; suffice it to say the hidden costs of poor hiring can be daunting.

In the April 4th, 2005 edition of Newsweek, Jack Welch said, “Hiring good people is hard. Hiring great people is brutally hard. Nothing matters more in winning than putting the right people on the field.”

Gut Feelings

Most companies large and small, continue to prepare for new hires they way they’re used to. Hiring managers run an ad, collect resumes, interview the stronger candidates, check references on the final one or two, and then trust their gut feelings. When more than one hiring manager is involved, differences easily come to light when one person’s gut feeling doesn’t match the other. At the end of the day, many hiring managers cross their fingers and ‘hope for the best.’ It doesn’t have to be that way.

Take an X-Ray

When interviewing to become a financial consultant for a major investment house 9 years ago, Edward became upset because his hiring manager had promised to show him the results of the assessment he was being forced to take prior to being hired. The manager never shared those results and he’s long gone, yet Edward’s a top producer today.

A lot has changed with hiring tools in the past 9 years. Today, it’s like taking an X-Ray. Not only can you easily see what the personal styles are of your strongest candidates, but also how they might modify those styles to ‘fit into the job’. The more modifications they have to make, the harder it will be for them to meet the demands of the job.

You can also learn their specific strengths, understand what their ideal working environment looks like, and get directions on how best to communicate, motivate, and manage them for best results. Sure, you have a team and a business to run, and you want to operate it as most effectively as possible, but, finding the person with the right credentials for the open position is only half of the equation. Matching the natural styles of the right candidate to your position is critical for long-term success due to stronger satisfaction levels and personal fulfillment.

You’d Be Crazy Not To

There are also seven hidden ambitions we all share that are revealed through each comprehensive X-Ray. All seven are listed in order of influence on each individual.

Different positions call for different ambitions. You would want hunters who close new business opportunities to have the economic and political ambitions in their top two. You would want farmers to have altruism as one of their top three. Not only would you want accounting and bookkeepers to have different personal styles, but they should also have theoretical as one of the top two ambitions driving them.

This powerful insight not only matches the right job to a new hire, it can identify reasons why existing staff aren’t satisfied in their current positions. Instead of firing them outright, take an X-Ray to reassess, and then move them into a different position. You’d be crazy not to.

It’s All Yours

The fact that candidates have demonstrated success is sales, administrative, or operational roles in prior companies doesn’t actually predict any level of success in your company. They’ll need to ‘fit into’ your expectations, job role, and culture.

In the world of sales, great hunters can be just so-so farmers, and vice-versa. Individual ambitions graphs will highlight those differences for you along with the personal styles. You can’t see this anywhere else but through the X-Ray.

See just how powerful this X-Ray is for yourself. FREE. For a limited time, we will also debrief you on your results; no obligation, no hard sell.

Test drive it here (or have one of your current staff complete this simple questionnaire) by clicking on the link, and make sure that you answer all the questions in one sitting, as they relate to work, and without any input from others. Take the X-RAY by clicking here.

Rules of the Roads

Neither my wife Cathy, daughter Emily, nor I had ever been on an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV), so we paid close attention to our adventure guide Sebastian, when he gave the rules of the road to us during our school vacation break in the hot sun and strong trade winds of Aruba.

He was very specific: everyone in our group would stay in a single line, and adhere to the rules of the road to which all vehicles adhere. There would be no ‘hot-dogging’, and each of us would respect the others in the group by keeping a safe distance between vehicles. Any violation would result in the immediate termination of the adventure. Sebastian was so serious when telling us that a young couple immediately left our group and went out on their own.

No Accidents

As we made our way across the sand toward the north shore of the Caribbean, Sebastian repositioned how we were riding. He decided that some individuals didn’t have the strength or confidence to make it over the treacherous route to get to the natural pool, so he changed course. He prolonged our route which resulted in a very enjoyable ride. Sebastian’s proactive management skills gave us all better results. Every one had a great adventure, there were no accidents, and the company created another success by satisfying several new customers.

Rush Hour Biking

Before last week, it had been 20 years to the month since I had ridden my bicycle in a group of people going 15 miles an hour. Back then, my friend Lynchie, who was new to riding in a peloton, was right in front of me and Tom (the experienced triathlete) when he suddenly yelled out TURTLE, while swerving sharply to avoid a large turtle. With just three inches separating my front wheel from his rear wheel, there wasn’t a lot of time for me to react.  As I fell into the asphalt, my right knee turned into a pile driver. Despite many weeks on crutches and through extended physical therapy, my knee wasn’t right for a very long time. I am now renewing my passion for biking.

As we set out on our 20 mile group bike ride last week from the Natick store of Landry’s Bicycles, (sponsor of the ride), our leader, Mark, reminded us to keep safe distances between each rider and to announce when they would be passing another. Bike riders always honor the rules of the road, as if they were driving a car. They stop at all intersections; they keep to the right; they respect all other drivers on bicycles and in cars, etc.

More than 15 of us enjoyed a trouble-free ride by following the rules of the road as the sun started to set in near perfect weather through the idyllic towns of Dover, Needham, Sherborn, and Wellesley. There were no accidents, and then several riders bought accessories and scheduled repairs at the store.

Magic Formula of Growing Sales

Having grown sales year after year after year, Sales Managers of Distinction (SMoD) are in a league of their own. They develop and manage their teams accordingly to their own rules of the road. Just like driving an ATV in Aruba or bike riding in the Boston area, the success of the team can be ensured when the rules of the road are followed by all.

Effective rules accomplish three things: Generate highest level of customer satisfaction possible, achieve defined corporate objectives, and fulfill the professional and personal needs of sales producers. Call it the proverbial win-win-win situation; it’s the magic formula of growing sales through any economic cycle.

Just like Sebastian and Mark, SMoDs clearly define the rules of the road their team members follow. Simple rules that are based on discipline and structure; this is what you will do; this is what you won’t do.

They don’t have many rules, but the rules they do have are strictly enforced.

When individual producers generate high customer satisfaction levels and achieve corporate objectives, they’re rewarded handsomely. But, when individual production falls outside the lines of expectations, overall team production suffers, and necessary adjustments are made in a timely fashion. Call it the dog wagging its tail.

These days, many companies have been shedding sales people left and right. Chalk it up to being a sign of the times, but SMoDs haven’t had to make sudden changes in this economy because their system, with its rules of the road, keeps team members getting better sales consistently.

When everyone clearly understands what’s needed to be done, and the manager provides the necessary resources in a timely fashion, nobody gets hurts, and everyone enjoys the ride.

How are your sales people adhering to your rules of the road?

Stepping Across The Starting Line Again

It happened again last weekend. With snow remnants on the ground, many long distance runners starting preparing for the next running of the Boston Marathon on April 20th. My office sits on the starting line and for the past 16 years, I’ve witnessed this ritual.

I step across the starting line of the marathon almost every day, and reflect on the annual one-day spectacle when the world comes and celebrates our small town. Who will win this year? For the first time ever, every registered runner’s bib will have their name emblazoned on it this year.

When I share my location with new acquaintances, they all ask the same question; have you ever done it? In fact, I had my own epic adventure in 1991. Even though I had trained for many months, I posed no real threat to any runners. I promised myself I would not come in last, so I started three hours early! My adventure took me six hours and forty minutes, but I finished in the middle of the pack. It was humbling when the elite runners passed by me just after I passed the halfway mark, but I’ll always be able to say I ran the Boston marathon.

This week marks the end of Q1 in most sales organizations. How is your team holding up in this economy compared to last year? Are you ‘on target’, lapsing behind, or surging ahead? What are your plans for the next three quarters and how can/will you get your team there? There are many businesses busy growing sales in this economy.

Along with Mass High Tech, The New England Technology Sales Executives Association (NETSEA) surveyed more than 170 companies to reveal business expectations for Q1, and plans for 2009. You may be surprised to learn the results. Almost 70% expect revenue to be steady or grow over 2008 in Q1, with 18% expecting more than 20% growth. 30% of those asked expect to hire new sales people! Take a look and compare notes with your own plan. Mass High Tech provides more commentary.

Q2 stands as a new starting line. Sit down individually with every sales producer and review year to date progress and compare it with last year’s performance. Make necessary changes, equip each of them with necessary tools, and support them to higher performance. Like every runner, it’s one step at a time from stepping across the starting line of every sales opportunity, and enduring to the finish line .