The Harvard Business Review article, Are you leading through the crisis or managing the response, provides valuable insights for leaders leading their company through a crisis.

The Covid-19 crisis, like every crisis, unfolds over an arc of time with a beginning, middle, and end.

The article explains that we need to distinguish between what was, is, and will be. For most of us, there was a past of relative stability and predictability. There now is chaos and disruption. There will be… a different state.

As I mentioned in the sales blog – How will you adapt to the new world of sales, the pandemic is leading to numerous short-term actions with the potential unintended consequences of these not being considered. When you are on fire, your focus is on the next 10 seconds, not the next ten years.

The actions of leaders, managers and their teams now, during this crisis, will significantly determine their personal and their company’s future fate.

In the last sales blog – Anticipate the next three, four, or five obstacles ahead, we focused on anticipating obstacles and challenges within your appraisal, development, and reward systems and processes.

In this sales blog, we focus on whether your approach to sales enablement, development and training is working. More important, will it be enough to keep your business competitive in the new world of sales.

Socrates, and his student Plato, had the answer, 2,300 years ago

If your company is going to prepare for and adapt to a new world of sales, you must first consider the sales behaviour required to achieve that change.

Plato is credited with saying, “Human behaviour flows from three main sources desire, emotion, and knowledge.

1. Desire drives human behaviour

Incentive systems, such as quota plans, and quota club, trigger our desire and drives the behaviour necessary to achieve a given outcome.

In the sales guide –  7 Sales Performance Management risks, and how to avoid them, Risk No. 5 – What gets measured gets managed. We discuss why, what you measure will get managed.

If you measure only short-term revenue achievement, focusing your quota plans solely on achieving fiscal targets. You risk driving sales behaviour focused on the short-term, at the expense of also achieving your longer-term value-growth goals.

2. Emotion drives human behaviour

Allow your emotions to cloud your judgement, and you risk making decisions too early. These decisions can be emotional because you are allowing your personal feelings to stand in the way of discovering insights that will allow you to remain objective.

There is a close marriage between emotional decisions and empathy. Acting on your empathy too soon without seeing the more significant picture risks, also risks you making an emotional decision.

Being compassionate, however, helps you remain objective while still conveying empathy. Empathy is essential; however, compassion allows you first to step back from being drawn into your emotions too early. Being compassionate gives you the time to discover insights enabling you to see the bigger picture, before deciding.

I discuss this further in the Knowledge Article – Dos and Don’ts using empathy, developing sales leads.

Sales development and training often either ignores or skims over the importance not managing your emotions and empathy can have on making good decisions.

A testament to this fact is the number of sales leads flowing through sales pipelines being reporting up to management that are based on an emotional judgement. I discuss this extensively and how to better manage your emotions and empathy to strengthen and grow your sales pipelines in our online sales forecast accuracy training.

It is also the reason why we created the Conversational Solution Sales Scorecard, that is integrated into our Sales Pipeline Development Platform.

3. Knowledge drives human behaviour

Knowledge drives human behaviour

According to Socrates, virtue is knowledge, because

  1. All living things aim for their perceived good, and therefore
  2. If anyone does not know what is good, he cannot do what is good – because he will always aim for a mistaken target; but
  3. If someone knows what is good, he will do what is good, because he will aim for what is good.

I read what Socrates said a couple of times allowing it to sink in. Considering these words were scribed over 2,300 years ago, they are as relevant today as they were back in Socrates time.

My question to you is, does your sales training and development show what is good? By good, I mean, how you need your sales teams and managers to behave and act in order to achieve both your short-term revenue and longer-term value growth objectives.

If you are struggling with slipping and lost deals in your sales forecast, or reactive selling based on price discounting, I suspect it does not.

If that is the case, how will you and your business adapt to the new world of sales?

A different, more human approach to sales development is required

Albert Einstein is credited with the quote, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

If you want different results, you must try different approaches. While I would not say what you have been delivering up to now is insane, I do see a common trap that most of us fall into during our lives. Why? We’re human.

We are creatures of routine. We all, to some extent, stick to routines and habits in life, and it is no different at work. It is challenging to try different approaches to deal with problems in our life and work.

But this is exactly what you need to do otherwise you’ll be doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. I’m sure you see my point. Change is all about first dealing with behaviour and changing habits that are not serving you well.

Consuming knowledge is not about sending your salespeople onto training and development and expect them to miraculously act differently when you put them under pressure to achieve quota target. Under pressure they will revert to old habits.

You need to help them create that internal environment in their mind, to break bad selling habit. Only then will they be effective using the knowledge share to support them achieve your shared goals. I discuss this further in the sales guide – A different, more human approach to managing your sales pipeline and accurate sales forecasting.

Replacing habits that hold you back with better serving ones, is why we incorporate a Habit Buster into your own online sales training space and training courses.

Do this and you will help salespeople and managers to develop their own personal development plans, tailored precisely to the struggles they are dealing with to be more effective selling.

Pulling it all together

Approach development supporting your salespeople take responsibility for their own coaching and development, and you lock into how our brains are wired and a fundamental persuasion technique.

Adopting this technique transforms the transfer of knowledge from a passive activity, which most sales training and development is. To an active commitment your salespeople and managers make to themselves. We change our behaviour to comply with commitments we make to ourselves and share with others.

Our approach to sales enablement and development is designed to help your team and managers take responsibility for developing their personal and professional skills and habits to become the best version of themselves.

Having set the foundations enabling your sales teams and managers adapt to a new world of sales. In the next sales blog – How should I develop and reward sales talent?, we next consider some of the challenges and obstacles standing in your way to competitively develop, reward and attract the leaders, managers, salespeople and the raw sales talent you need to remain competitive.

About the Author

Treve Wearne is the founder of Nazca Services Limited. Treve supports businesses and sales teams positioning themselves and increasing sales revenues. Improving sales forecasts, talent development and retention in the most challenging business environments.

Get In Touch