Reverse Engineering Team Success

Almost always the conversation with our new, existing, and struggling groups comes back to “I want to build (or be part of) a really good team.”   I think starting with the why and the how is very helpful and for this post I thought I’d let one of my friends Nigel Green share some of his experience and advice.

Reverse Engineering Team Success by Nigel Green Feb 21, 2017

If you want to understand how something works you should take it apart then put it back together. I wish more sales leaders would try this with their sales teams.

Reverse Engineering is defined as:

The reproduction of a product following detailed examination of its construction or composition.

Reverse engineering is one of the keys to having a productive and thriving sales team, and it’s essential if you want to grow fast.  As Vice President of Sales at Foundations Recovery Network I lead a team that tripled its production in just 36 months. How did we do that?

The answer: We took the entire team apart, then put it back together (with a few different part).

Here are a few of the keys that helped me reverse engineer sales growth:

Understand the Team You Need

One of the first things I did was hire sales reps that were smarter than me. There’s a saying that “If you’re the smartest person in the classroom than you’re in the wrong class.” I asked myself how I could find the most talented people that are going to meet customers where they are. I wanted a team that would connect with our customers not convince them. I still believe that is the fastest way to grow your company. Too often sales leaders are insecure and hire a team of “yes” players. If you are the only one capable of fresh ideas, then your team will fail. Not all sales reps are created equally. Define your buying cycle and hire reps who have sold in a similar environment.

Hiring That Team (slowly)

What I look for when hiring someone is the Three C’s. These are Character, Chemistry, and Competence.

For me the most important “C” is character. When I am hiring talent I look at character first. Next is Chemistry, placing an emphasis that to work with someone and to work with a team we’re going to have to jive, not just in a relationship but also with our habits, goals, and work ethic. My last one is what most people rank first, competency. If you have great character and we have great chemistry I can teach you competency if I need to. I understand the importance of hiring quickly. If you don’t have a full team, then it’s hard to reach your growth goals. But making a bad hire is expensive. That’s why I say “slow to hire, quick to fire.”

(More on this concept here: Internal link to “The Unusual Interview Question a Top Team Builder Always Asks”)

Sales Training: The Missing Element

If you look at most sales training out there the focus is continually on presenting: how to pitch, using leading questions, talking points, etc.

I have yet to find a sales training module on the most overlooked aspect of sales: Listening.

Regardless of the features, benefits, or motivations why you think a customer might use your product or service, there is nothing more powerful than a customer’s own motivation to do business with you. You will never understand why they are motivated to work with you if you talk the entire meeting. Listening allows for faster learning. Faster learning equals faster sales growth.

As Peter Drucker said, “The sole purpose of a business is to create a customer.”

If we believe that, then isn’t it better to fall in love with a customer we want to have and not the products we offer?”

Unfortunately I don’t see enough leaders deconstructing their sales team and it’s processes. If I seem a little salty about that it’s because I know you can grow quickly by building a team with the end goal in mind. If you will invest in the work of reverse engineering your team it sets everyone up for success.

I would love to hear what has worked for you in the past. Please share your thoughts with us.

articel by Nigel Green

Growth Architect | Sales Strategy | Keynote Speaker


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