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Sales Leadership: Are You Practicing Properly?

I happened to be in Florida recently, visiting relatives, playing golf and enjoying the weather. I played 36 holes over two days, my first real golf of the season; before I came down from Knoxville, I went to the driving range at home and hit two buckets of balls to attempt to regain some form of respectability. Prior to my first round, I hit another half-bucket of balls and a few casual strokes on the putting green, and boom -- off to the No. 1 tee box. Amazingly, my first drive was right down fairway, but as I worked through the 18 holes, I struggled with a few bogeys and a few double bogeys.

In your role as a sales manager, are you taking your personal and professional development as casually as a few practice swings on the driving range? Recently, in a six-week series of sales management training programs for a major client, I had several participants who didn't complete a variety of reading assignments because they were too busy "closing out the quarter." For some reason, they could not find two hours over six weeks to read 15 pages of content. 

Successful sales leaders would have. They would have committed to reading, attending workshops and attending vendor-sponsored workshops on sales management topics. If you consider yourself a professional, every week you would spend hours on the driving range enhancing your abilities with each club in your bag. You would practice hitting out of the sand and chipping off the green. 

What are you doing to increase your professional skill levels?  There are a variety of resources you can find to improve your sales management expertise. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Check out the LinkedIn groups on sales leadership.
  • Commit to reading two new books a year.
  • Visit at least two other sales organizations that are similar to yours and benchmark your organizations against theirs. 

In our new book Leading High Performance Sales Teams, I review a variety of ideas to enhance your sales team's abilities, improve your leadership style and increase the effectiveness of your management systems. On the Acumen Management Web site is a free sales management and sales compensation assessment where you can compare your existing programs, watch several free videos on hiring and training salespeople and read our whitepaper on the job of sales management.

What's your plan to make more pars versus bogeys? Let me know at [email protected]. I left at least six putts inches short -- I am off to the putting green!

Posted by Ken Thoreson on March 25, 2011