Finding and Retaining Quality Talent with Bob Kreisberg

About This Episode

What are the traits of a great team? How do you train and retain a great team? As a leading authority on helping companies make more effective hiring decisions, it’s Bob Kreisberg’s job to know the answers.
Bob is the President of OPUS Productivity Solutions, a consulting firm that specializes in improving the people productivity of their clients. He joined us on Decision Point to discuss how in today’s changing sales environment, the task of keeping and training quality talent has changed over the years and how it’s on companies to do more to find the right people and keep them there.

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Finding and Retaining Quality Talent with Bob Kreisberg

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: Let’s start there. So why don’t you do a quick Gettysburg address or a synopsis on kind of where we’re at state of the union. That’s what I’m looking for. Why don’t you do a quick state of the union on where we’re at with hiring and then we can, then we can hop in and talk about sales, the, the role of sales leadership in that, and then what needs to be done for, to retain.

Or retain employees and then let’s get into just general culture. And I think there’s going to be a lot of fun stuff here to talk about.

[00:00:28] Bob Kreisberg: So I, I think this is an interesting time and it’s a different time. Then, you know, those of us sort of had you know, that have had long careers in industry. You know, the tech industry or the sales industry you know, over, over the years, we’ve definitely seen industries go through times where you know, it’s a it’s a tight job market.

It’s hard to find good people. There are certain times where. You know, definitely there are, you know, there’s more talent that’s available. But w one of the truisms, especially as it relates to sales and sales managers is good. Salespeople are always hard to find. And people that aren’t very effective.

Are almost always available, no matter, no matter how good the market is. And so this is a different market in some ways, you know, in the nature of of what’s happened, you know, with the pandemic and, and with remote work. But there are some similarities as well in that. W, you know, we absolutely want to be able to you know, to fair it out, who are the people that are genuinely successful, you know, versus who are the people that want to represent themselves to be successful.

And. From our standpoint as, as an employer you, you want to be sure that you’re doing absolutely everything to keep those quality people that you have because you know, they are in demand. They are getting. The emails, the text messages, the phone calls regarding opportunities for somebody that might have a, you know, a new and shiny you’re and bigger wheel than you do with a bigger base salary and more commission dollars on the lines.

And so as an employer, you need to be looking at. You know, what you’re able to do to be able to to, to keep those people. It’s also a time where it may be even more important for you to figure out a way to kind of turn that B player, you know, into a B plus or an a minus because of the difficulty of replacing that person.

And knowing that you’re necessarily going to be able to get. You know, beat a sometimes you try to replace a B player and you go beat a C and clearly that’s going in the wrong direction and it’s expensive. When you have a time lag between when you’ve got somebody that is performing at a mediocre level versus somebody that’s not performing at all until they, until they get ramped up.

So the management philosophy that says, well, I’m going to focus on my top people because those are the people that incrementally I can make. The biggest difference to is fine to a point. But now more than ever, it may really behoove you to try to work with those people that are a little bit more on the fence to see what you can do to incrementally, make those people more productive and more.

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: Let’s start there. So why don’t you do a quick Gettysburg address or a synopsis on kind of where we’re at state of the union. That’s what I’m looking for. Why don’t you do a quick state of the union on where we’re at with hiring and then we can, then we can hop in and talk about sales, the, the role of sales leadership in that, and then what needs to be done for, to retain.

Or retain employees and then let’s get into just general culture. And I think there’s going to be a lot of fun stuff here to talk about.

[00:00:28] Bob Kreisberg: So I, I think this is an interesting time and it’s a different time. Then, you know, those of us sort of had you know, that have had long careers in industry. You know, the tech industry or the sales industry you know, over, over the years, we’ve definitely seen industries go through times where you know, it’s a it’s a tight job market.

It’s hard to find good people. There are certain times where. You know, definitely there are, you know, there’s more talent that’s available. But w one of the truisms, especially as it relates to sales and sales managers is good. Salespeople are always hard to find. And people that aren’t very effective.

Are almost always available, no matter, no matter how good the market is. And so this is a different market in some ways, you know, in the nature of of what’s happened, you know, with the pandemic and, and with remote work. But there are some similarities as well in that. W, you know, we absolutely want to be able to you know, to fair it out, who are the people that are genuinely successful, you know, versus who are the people that want to represent themselves to be successful.

And. From our standpoint as, as an employer you, you want to be sure that you’re doing absolutely everything to keep those quality people that you have because you know, they are in demand. They are getting. The emails, the text messages, the phone calls regarding opportunities for somebody that might have a, you know, a new and shiny you’re and bigger wheel than you do with a bigger base salary and more commission dollars on the lines.

And so as an employer, you need to be looking at. You know, what you’re able to do to be able to to, to keep those people. It’s also a time where it may be even more important for you to figure out a way to kind of turn that B player, you know, into a B plus or an a minus because of the difficulty of replacing that person.

And knowing that you’re necessarily going to be able to get. You know, beat a sometimes you try to replace a B player and you go beat a C and clearly that’s going in the wrong direction and it’s expensive. When you have a time lag between when you’ve got somebody that is performing at a mediocre level versus somebody that’s not performing at all until they, until they get ramped up.

So the management philosophy that says, well, I’m going to focus on my top people because those are the people that incrementally I can make. The biggest difference to is fine to a point. But now more than ever, it may really behoove you to try to work with those people that are a little bit more on the fence to see what you can do to incrementally, make those people more productive and more.

[00:03:46] Brad Seaman: So I want to get back here in a minute and ask you about talent development and the role that it should have on a sales team. But before I do that, I want to go back to something you said earlier. You were talking about keeping top talent? Well, first off I didn’t great quote, good salespeople are always hard to find what are some of the things that help great people stay, where they are?

What would you say? The three drivers?

[00:04:11] Bob Kreisberg: Great talent. So much of that is dependent on the nature of the personality of the individual that’s in that spot. And and, and, and the good news is, as it relates to sale salespeople are probably more predictable as to what they want and what they’re looking for, you know, then other departments within an, within an organization.

If, if you can anticipate. That the great majority of your sales people are going to lead with a combination of a competitive drive and social skills. So in the, in the in, in, in the psychology Babel of all of that, you know, high on the control side, so the dominance trait they like to feel that they can control their own destiny and the extroversion.

They want to feel, they can make a difference and they can be recognized. Well, as a, as a good sales leader you can do very specific things to create an environment that allows that behavioral style to feel you know, to, to, to feel the things that they need to feel. Control of one’s destiny.

You know, in many ways has to do with how you approach leadership. You, you know, that certain people need to do things. And for instance an area of control of one destiny comes in when people are. Forcing salespeople to use Salesforce, automation tools, you know, whichever one it is. Most salespeople hate to spend time doing that.

So how do you create an environment where the salesperson feels like they have control over what they are able to do with that? That that that can be, that can be a negotiation that allows the sales person to be able to, to take more control over that and feel like it’s getting jammed down their throat, as crazy as it may seem for high dominant salespeople.

And every organization probably has some, every high dominant sales. Who is told what they need to do. It’s a reason for them to get out of Dodge. There isn’t anything that they disliked more than being told what to do. So it’s, it’s almost like you’re dealing with your kids and you, you know, it’s. You’re going to have to do this.

It’s like, well, yeah, we know we’re going to have to do this, but now we’re going to do it before something. We do it after something, you know, you know, you’re going to eat your peas before your character, your carrots, before your peas, some control over the destiny is critically important to that behavioral style.

Okay. Actually and people with very strong social skills, there is a very strong need to be recognized. And with recognition. Then there’s a sense of making a contribution. And so understanding which buttons to push as it relates to the nature of the personality allows leadership to understand, you know, w where I, what I need to do and where I need to go.

In order to be effective.

[00:07:35] Brad Seaman: Dominant individuals don’t like to be told what to do. They typically like to tell people what to do.

[00:07:40] Bob Kreisberg: They’re much more comfortable when they are in control of their environment and their destiny. And so

[00:07:48] Brad Seaman: does that create a conflict though? Cause you’re typically, you know, the average sales environment is taking their top talent and trying to morph them into a leadership position.

So now you have somebody who’s very. Control centric. Probably very good at dictating what they want now is telling a bunch of other people what to do, who don’t want to be told what to do. Does that sound normal?

[00:08:11] Bob Kreisberg: Absolutely correct. And, and look, if you, if you look at your sports analogies, it’s one of the reasons why sometimes your superstar athlete.

It doesn’t really become your best manager. And the you know, your, your second string catcher, who’s got, you know, not one ounce of natural talent, but, but has tremendous leadership skills because they connect and relate to other people. You know, Th that’s one of the things that we see is sometimes you don’t want to take your best center fielder and make them your manager.

You know, sometimes you need to take somebody else to put in that leadership role, but, but as a salesperson can definitely have a sense of control over their own destiny. In. Companies an individual contributor sales person has more control over their own destiny that than any other position in the company.

[00:09:12] Brad Seaman: Do you think that being on a winning team is enough to keep top talent?

[00:09:18] Bob Kreisberg: No. I think that, you know, it’s interesting, we talk about, you know, being on a winning team and we, we talk about that with team building. I think that. People underestimate how much time people think about themselves, where they’re going, where their career is heading versus, you know, the raw, raw element of being on a winning team.

I do think that. That, you know, that a person that feels that they’ve made a positive impact on the team. That’s definitely, you know, that’s definitely a feel good thing for them. But it, it will only take you so far. What means more to them and we’ve seen it, you know, an old sales offices, you know, how long does a salesman of the, of the month.

Stay posted on somebody’s cubicle. You know, you’ll see salesman of the month posted that are 12 years old. You know, that sense of recognition, you know, leadership to individual recognition. You know, I appreciate your effort. I recognize your effort. And letting people, letting people know that highly social people.

Really crave recognition best from people that they look up to or people that they see in authority, but highly social people they’ll take recognition from the janitor. So it’s just a matter of being recognized.

[00:10:53] Brad Seaman: So,

so we had a guy on and he talked about, and he brought up something that I thought was really interesting.

He said he was three years old. He’s three sport, three sport athletes. And said that he’d been on bull teams been in the spotlight. And he said the difference between the winning, I thought this was interesting. He said the difference between the teams that he was on that one and the teams that AI, that he was on, that didn’t win was, was conflict.

He said the better the team, the more conflict. He said his lacrosse team had zero conflict and they were awful, awful ways that everybody liked each other. And the team was awful. Awful. So, so I think that’s, I think that’s interesting. Cause we like to think about harmony as being an important part of, you know, if, if people are getting along and then everybody’s going to be happy.

But that’s probably not, that’s probably not true. John wooden. I read his biography. I don’t think any of those guys liked each other. None of his players liked each other. They all are. They’re all men, they’re all in conflict. Or if you watch you know, Michael Jordan documentary, I mean, there’s lots of

conflict, a lot of conflict.

[00:12:05] Bob Kreisberg: Well, you know, what I think is interesting and I think that a good leader really gets their, you know, gets their, their, their finger on the pulse of this. I think that the right level of tension in improves performance. So so if, if. You know, if there are fair quotas set, I mean, you know, we’re not asking people to high jump over a 15 foot wall, but they’re, you know, there are fair goals that are set, you know, that are stretches and there is an expectation by the person that you work for that you are expected to do that.

And if you don’t a. You’re letting the team down and B you’re letting yourself down that tension creates a much better performance. And it also creates a much more exhilarating work environment. When, you know, when we know that there really are attainable but challenging goals when people stretch for that.

Hmm. Make it you know, there’s, there’s a sense of accomplishment. That’s just not there. If that, you know, if that tension isn’t there. And so learning how to create that, and in some ways it is different based on the different natures of the people that you know that you have on the team. You know, one thing I found bread over all these years, A lot of times management that’s away from sales doesn’t really understand the nature of their selling team.

And I find it remarkable that, you know, there is, you know, kind of a focus on a character trait. Behavioral profile. You can see many organizations where they have top sellers that don’t necessarily fall into that. And then, because they’re, you know, they’re putting creating tension in one particular area.

It’s really not solving and resolving the issue for people that may look at things in a, you know, in a very different way.

So run me through a scenario like what’s that? Can you give me like an example?

Sure. So one of my clients has S as a salesperson it’s right in your city, Indianapolis based salesperson.

Second year in a row where they’re going to be over 150%. Second year in a row where they’re going to earn over $500,000, you know, quota carrying sales person that re that 500,000 70%, at least as all commission-based. So I, you know, a superstar performer but. Not you know, not a classic high dominance, even high extrovert type of a style.

It’s a person who’s more of a plotter and on what that person needs is not the tension of. Are you going to make your number? Are you going to do that? They need. They need to know the consistency of where the business is going and how they’re going to get there. There, they are built around stability and their, their confidence that the company is going to continue to deliver quality products and service to their clients.

By the way, this is they’re selling it to a, you know, a fortune 500 type of environment where the sales process is long. And it’s much more built around trust and competence, you know, than it is, you know, jump off this building into my waiting arms. So that type of a seller. And that’s just one example of that, that one particular person.

I have that replicated in my client base in a lot of different industries. In New York city in San Francisco in places where you go, well, you know, you need to be, you need to be a killer rep to be successful. No, you need to be competent in your own skin. And we as managers need to know what those people need.

[00:16:33] Brad Seaman: In order to stay with us when you have a plotter like the profile that you just talked about does is that somebody that you would have identified as having the skills to sell, or is this somebody that moved in to this position and is an exception, not the rule for this particular product or service?

[00:16:54] Bob Kreisberg: So the, the selling environment. Definitely leans much more to a process oriented seller than a, an inspirational seller.

[00:17:11] Brad Seaman: Gotcha.

[00:17:12] Bob Kreisberg: So you knew that, so you knew that, whereas they’re hiring these people, you knew this is a plotting sales cycle and it was interesting because the li the sales leadership. Was a more traditional, you know, you know, we need, you know, we need killers, we need hunters.

We need, you know, we need people to go out there and slay the dragon yet. When they looked at the people who were genuinely successful, they were surprised to find. That the people that were that were with them the longest and the most successful we’re much more collaborative process people that their, that their client respected and trusted.

And the internal people that were supporting the client. Also respected, you know, the person that was involved. It was much more of a, you know, much more of a complex type of a selling environment. And that behavioral style actually works much more effectively for them.

[00:18:19] Brad Seaman: Can you talk really quick just about the different sales cycles and the different personality?

That might sell in those environments.

[00:18:27] Bob Kreisberg: Yes. I think, I think you’ve, you got a couple of continuums that you can look at. One is the length of the sales cycle. And when you know, the longer the sales cycle, more often than not the greater, the complexity of it meaning that you’re gonna have more people that are going to be involved.

And they’re going to be, you know, a greater number of factors that may be considered you know, in the environment and frequently bigger dollars or the bigger dollars. Don’t have to go along with the, with a longer sales cycle, but that’s not uncommon, you know, that that’s there. On the on, in that environment.

A more collaborative a more a more process-oriented profile. So higher on the, on the conformity trait, lower on the dominance trait usually can stay the course with that type of a selling environment and B and be more effective.

[00:19:35] Brad Seaman: Well, what kind of job is this kind of. If this person isn’t this person, is it selling?

What other jobs are they doing?

[00:19:43] Bob Kreisberg: Well, They typically are gonna, are going to look for things to do that they can really sink their teeth into. So you may, you may find them if you may find them in an organization, in a product management type of role, where they’re able to, you know, work they kind of tireless.

To get something going and get it off the ground and, and, and make it work at a behavioral style they could be involved in you know, a, you know, a customer customer success type of type of a role within an organization. But again, it’s more. You know, how do we, how do we continue to move the chess pieces across the board, you know, versus the, the quicker hit.

[00:20:31] Brad Seaman: Now, if you take this person that has high conformity in the past success here in the longer sales cycle, and you put them in a short sale side, Are you going to get a different outcome?

[00:20:43] Bob Kreisberg: Well, there’s going to be frustration on both parts because you’re, you’re really, you’re, you know, you’re really not playing to, to, to their natural strengths.

And there’s a discomfort with you know, with, with pressure on a timeframe that’s not involved in you know, that’s not involved in reality. You know, one of the key questions that an organization can ask themselves, you know, is do we sell things to people or do people buy things from us?

If you’re selling to people. Then people that can focus more in that shorter scale getting it done, making it happen. I E you know, the, the, the greater tension type of a sales person, you know, will traditionally be, be more effective. If people are really buying from you when you’re and your seller is facilitating a buy-in process.

Then traditionally a more collaborative approach and more process oriented approach works.

[00:21:53] Brad Seaman: So what I think is really interesting about that, that question, do people, do we sell our product or do people buy our product? What I think is really interesting that is that I think that could create or explain a lot of the, the tension.

That you get, or the miss messaging that you get. If you go to LinkedIn or you go somewhere and you see the people talking from those two different parties, because I think you’re right. I think you’re either selling a product or people are buying it now in, and depending on what type of sale you’ve been in, really could reflect how you see the world.

[00:22:31] Bob Kreisberg: I agree. And I’ll tell you the other thing that. Is it impacts the S the sales philosophy. So you know, a lot of organizations, you know, they’ll say, well, you know, let’s get our foot in the door, you know, let’s, you know, let’s sell them on. Let’s sell them on a trial, you know, let’s, you know, let’s get him to commit to a $50,000, you know, let’s get him to commit to 50 grand, let them come get them to commit to five grand, get them to buy something.

And once we got our foot in the door, you know, then, you know, then the walls of Jericho were going to come down and we’ll be able to, you know, we’ll be able to, you know, sell them a million dollars worth of stuff. The, the challenges. The SA the seller that’s good at getting that $5,000 trial may not be the right seller to be able to handle the million dollar transaction that you try and to get from that.

So, so are you structured to get the $5,000 transaction, which by the way, in the technical world, you can split. $50,000 worth of resources, trying to do a $5,000 trial on somebody or an organization that maybe shouldn’t have bought your product in the first place, because it’s not a good fit, but Hey salesperson who got paid for getting it, forgetting the trial.

So the, it can, it really is important that an organization understand what their overall game plan is. So that the point a makes sense with point B, you’ve

[00:24:13] Brad Seaman: seen organizations take that philosophy of getting our foot in the door and having two different sellers.

[00:24:22] Bob Kreisberg: Yeah. It’s very, very hard though. Yeah, because if, if, if you’re the person that cracked open that door, you, you don’t want to get 10% of 5,000.

You don’t want to be getting 10% of 5

[00:24:40] Brad Seaman: million, but you might not have done that, but you may not have done the work, right?

[00:24:46] Bob Kreisberg: Yeah. Yeah. So, so you know that that’s always a, you know, an interesting way that the organization needs to, needs to look at it. And I see organizations go back and forth, you know, when they’re, when they’re first getting started, they’re trying.

Yep. You know, build up some kind of a reference-based and they don’t have anything to go on. You know, they’re, you know, they’re discounting heavily and they’re giving away stuff. And then you know, as they establish their credibility they do their best. They can to get away from that as soon as physically possible,

[00:25:19] Brad Seaman: you find like, can you give me other, there’s so many, so many questions where here, can you Think of a situation like for us, just for people that are listening to sort of get their mind around, what’s a product that somebody would get sold and what’s one that they might buy.

Like, can you tell us two different organs? Can you tell us a story of two

[00:25:37] Bob Kreisberg: organizations? My kid, brother, who is at absolutely fantastic salesperson. And now I’m an ex an extremely successful and in every manner, shape or form. Cut his teeth in the insurance business and specifically he was selling life insurance and and, and, and Lou would certainly tell you that nobody buys life insurance, life insurance must be sold.

And it’s a key reason. Y, as many people fail at selling life insurance as you know, as they do the numbers historically are very low for people that are successful in selling life insurance. Yet those that are successful can be very, very successful business people. And so and, and part of that is, you know, not only you getting a person to make a commitment to a decision on the spot, but you’re also getting them to write you a check on the spot.

And and that, you know, that definitely takes you know, that, that takes. A seller to be able to get that done. I think products that are bought you’ll find more often than not. You’re dealing with many people within the organization that see the strategy for how. This is going to help them.

And and they are, you know, they are bringing this along for the ride and you are creating an environment that allows them. You know, that allows them to see the value of what bringing your product in. Does

[00:27:31] Brad Seaman: w when I think about products that can be bought that I think about something like a Grange, you know, like a Granger, you know, they’re going into corporate accounts and they might sell a thousand different products, or you might buy a thousand different products.

Right. And they’re going to have somebody there that’s really going to assist you. Along the way as you buy these things. Like they’re not, you know, I think Granger sells, you know, they sell electrical equipment, they sell, you know, you know, tons of things to the, to the manufacturing enterprise. But their salespeople are assisting you in a purchase.

They’re not selling you

[00:28:06] Bob Kreisberg: the product. Yeah. I think I, you know, I think there’s an element of that. I think. I’ll give you an example. One of our clients doesn’t end up selling to the end-user. They are selling digital advertising services that end-users like Johnson and Johnson or Lexus or.

You know, any organizations may use when they’re running ads on the internet, but those organizations aren’t making that buying decision, their advertising agency is making that buying decision. And so when you are selling in an overlay type situation, W were you not actually dealing with the ultimate client?

That very often is a relationship that is built on you know, like you can think about that Granger rep or the U S foods rep you know, that is, it’s a 30 restaurants a day. Hey, Hey, Hey Mac, do you need any more ketchup packets? So you would

[00:29:15] Brad Seaman: think about that as a pond. Like that’s a buying sit, right?

Like I’m the restaurant here. I’m buying catch-up you’re not selling me

[00:29:20] Bob Kreisberg: ketchup, salt and pepper packets. Yeah. Or paper cups. Now that’s not to say that the somewhere that, that restaurant didn’t make a decision. Am I going to do business with Cisco? Or us foods you know, somewhere along the line, but, but even that decision was probably not based on an aggressive tactic, you know, it was probably, it was probably based more on, you know, who they felt more comfortable with.

Do you

[00:29:55] Brad Seaman: find that people think much about this when they go to hire? Like, if I’m a, you know, you’re a small to mid-sized company you’re growing, you’re going to hire some sales people. I mean, people think deeply enough about the type of sale. I mean, I never would’ve thought about, you know, that I did all sales is kind of the same.

Right. But it’s really not. It’s like, there’s all kinds of different buying behaviors. Different, different products are so different with.

[00:30:23] Bob Kreisberg: Absolutely. So we were talking about, we, you know, one of the things, which is the the length of the sales cycle and the complexity of the sales cycle, other things that really make a difference is the competitive environment that, that you’re operating in.

And the you know, in the old days in the technology industry, what was very well known where the, where the database wars that went on and th and the database, the database companies that were battling each other we’re, we’re, we’re Oracle. Which everybody knows because Oracle was the winner. I mean, that’s the company that survived, but then there were other companies that had databases a company by the name of Sybase, a company by the name of Ingris company, by the name of Informix.

When the, you know, when these organizations, you know, we’re going after the fortune 500 to find out, you know, Database was your company gonna run on? That was a very aggressive selling environment and 11th hour deals that would happen. And you know, that was no place for the soft of heart. So, so depending on the competitive nature, Makes a difference and, and another variable has to do with, you know, how is your product from a feature functionality standpoint?

You know, if you really have, you know, if you’ve really got, you know, the, you know, the very best product in the industry with all the feature functionality, you know, at half the price. I, you know, you don’t really need you know, a very aggressive in your face type of a sales approach. You know, you can present the facts as they are and and, and probably be more effective.

Rarely, certainly in my career. You know, do you sit there where you’ve got every feature functionality? And if you do you know that you are priced, you know, half the price of the competition, you know, usually there’s a, you know, there’s a balancing act that goes on there that that you know, that, that people understand.

Yeah. You know, there’s definitely a different selling philosophy, you know, when you’re selling a, you know, when you’re selling the top of the line Mercedes-Benz versus if you’re selling, you know, used, you goes on a street corner. So let me, let me ask

[00:32:54] Brad Seaman: you, let me ask you this. So we, you know, we’ve covered a lot, we’ve covered a lot of topics.

I think the one kind of early on that, that resonated particularly with kind of where we’re, where we’re at. Talent is hard to find. You brought up a really good point. Good salespeople are always hard to find. But more than ever, people are fighting for the people that they have. I think leadership is one of the words that you honed in on early.

What’s the role of leadership and culture in keeping great

[00:33:24] Bob Kreisberg: talent. It’s I think it’s very interesting when you look at, you know, what is it that a leader can do? To be able to help somebody be more productive. And we, we see a lot of this under kind of the banner of team building and, and leadership and organizations are doing a lot of work on the team-building side, especially now with people working remotely and not being able to get connected.

So what can we do to kind of bridge. Our people together and help them feel better about where they are and what they’re doing. Well, truth be told the team building focus for the individual contributor is all about themselves. That’s what they care about and what they care about. And what they like to learn is, you know, w what am I naturally good at?

But where, where are the holes that are getting in my way of being successful. And and, and somebody is very open to learning about that once they’ve embraced those things, that they are naturally good at. That’s the most important thing that the individual can do, because if we understand where the holes are, then we can take action to be able to adapt our behavior.

When necessary leadership is in that position where given their, their knowledge and wisdom. And hopefully greater level of experience, they can help that person overcome those areas that are there areas that are challenges. And, and let me give you a specific example, salespeople that, that are very, very collaborative by nature.

Have a difficult time being conferencing. It’s uncomfortable for them. It’s the nature of the beast. Okay. The, the, the sales leader who has perhaps been through a lot more, should be able to work with that sales person to be able to help them create an environment where they get. Get confront what it is that they need to confront without it feeling like an out of body experience.

And so you know, the, the challenge may be that you’re working too low within an organization. You know, you’re trying to sell something, but you’re not dealing at the right level, but you don’t know what it, what, what is it that you’re going to be able to do to get. Above the person you’re dealing with without feeling like you’re going to irritate that person so that, you know, to a non-confrontational person that’s uncomfortable.

And by the way, one of the challenges you see with collaborative sellers is they can spend a lot of time working in low levels in the organization because it’s less. Confrontational to work lower in the organization. So a manager that can say, well, let’s do this or let’s do that. Or, you know, let’s, let’s, you know, let’s, let’s reach out to your client and say, you know, it’s time that we kind of have an overview, big picture discussion.

I I’ve invited my manager to be part of that. And I I’d like to invite. You know, your manager to be able to be able to be there as well. And create that the, the point is that if the, if the leader understands the holes that the individual is trying to fill, then they can genuinely help that person be more effective that way.

And they can provide them with some genuine strategies to be able to get.

[00:37:33] Brad Seaman: Awesome. Awesome. Now I think that’s helpful. I think, you know, the one thing that’s really occurred here is everybody’s gone distributed leadership is that you know, kind of a focal point where people are struggling to figure out how do they keep, you know, how do you keep your tight?

How do you keep your top talent? How do you keep them motivated? And I think the one thing that you brought up that’s really, really important here, and I think it’s so easy to get lost in the, the words is. You know, we think about team building. We think about a group of people getting together, but real shit, real leadership is individual, right?

It’s the ability to get an individual to work with another individual. And it’s so easy to get caught up thinking about. Cause, cause I think where you get derailed here is when you start thinking about team building, you start in my mind, you start thinking about unity that everybody’s unified, but when you look at good teams are right to you.

It’s usually the will of one person exerted on the we’ll have another person that helps that person work in the unit. It’s not everybody working together. It’s everybody’s selfish.

[00:38:35] Bob Kreisberg: I absolutely. Yeah. And the other thing is, is, you know, getting away from, you know, getting away from just being able to say, well, you gotta be better at that.

You gotta be better at that. And to be able to provide. Some tangible things that the, you know, th th that you, that you can do. Very simple, very simple music analogy. Sometimes a musician is, is, you know amateur student or whatever the case may be. They’re, they’re having a hard time. You know, getting a hang of the beat, you know, they’re trying to figure out, you know, where, you know, where do these notes fall?

You know, how do I, I can look at the sheet music, but w where did, where did the notes fall? How do I do that? Well, then the music teacher that can say, well, here’s a map. Here’s a method that you can do. Okay. So, you know, I want you to tap your foot, you know, you know that it’s four, four, so I want you to tap your foot.

And we know that it’s broken down into eighth notes. So while you’re tapping your foot, I want you to say one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four. But you know that the. You’re only playing on the end of three and the down of four, or I want you to clap that. So it’s one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four.

Well, that, that works. And so you’ve taken somebody that couldn’t get. And you’ve given them a simple methodology that not only can they use to get that piece of music, they can get to use the next piece of music. So it’s not just rara. You’re a good guy. I love you. I believe in you, it’s providing some tangible methodology that can get somebody and go, oh, I’m better at this.

Now I can get the next one. And so whether it is. You know how to deal with confrontation or, or how to put more process into your, into your sales approach, because you’re trying to appeal to people that need that, whatever it is, an effective leader needs to be able to provide tangible value, to make a difference.

And if they do, they’re going to increase the performance of the people on their team.

[00:41:13] Brad Seaman: Do you think so, so one of the things that comes to my mind is when I think about sales leader, I think coach, I mean, coaching should be so thinking about the word sales leader, there should be a series of words that come into your mind.

Sales coach coaching should probably be at the top of that list. I don’t know if it is or if it isn’t for most organizations, but I think that it should, I think it’s probably overlooked, right? When we go to hire a sales leader, what do you think the one thing most people think about when they go to hire that leader?

[00:41:41] Bob Kreisberg: Right. Is it coaching? No, I think, I think they’re looking for, they want to pass the monkey of the pressure of making the number happen to that person. And, and I remember as a young seller, when I was in Manhattan and I worked for a very nice guy but he, he, he was as valuable to me as the as the girl that goes in the ring in a boxing fight to hold.

Well, you know, what, what, you know, w what round we’re in. I mean, all they ever did was walk around the office and say, what are you going to get this month, Bob? Are you sure? Are you really sure we really need your number? You know, how is it looking? But no. No value is to where are you? What do you need to do?

Help me think through the cycle, you know, where are you? Vis-a-vis competition. You know, are you dealing with the right person? How do we get you to the right person? You know, what’s their key objection. How can I help you overcome that key? Objection that the, there is no question that. That sales leadership needs to be that they need to be able to get their hands dirty, to be able to really make a difference.

You can’t be a sales leader. In theory, if you’re gonna eat, you really need to be in the weeds to, to make a difference. You need, you need to know how that song goes. You need to know where to clap, and if you don’t, then all you’re doing. It’s wasting your salespeople’s time.

[00:43:22] Brad Seaman: No, I think that’s, I think that’s great.

I think that’s great insight. I, you know, anything that revolves leadership, you gotta be down on the front lines, right? So an, an entrepreneur that doesn’t talk to the clients or does it talk to the employees? Can’t do as job sales leader. That’s not at the desks and on the phones with his clients, can’t do his job.

You cannot lead from the corner office. You gotta be out there with your sleeves rolled up

[00:43:47] Bob Kreisberg: for sure.

[00:43:48] Brad Seaman: Right. Well, well, this was a Bob. This was great. I know we we, we do railed a little bit, but I think we got to the end there. I think we got through the important stuff around leadership. I know that’s specific Lee important right now.

Just, you know, culturally tough on town, hard to find good talent. Trying to keep talent. Everybody feels like they’re in a, in a battle, right? You’re either in a battle to find somebody or in a battle that keeps somebody and leadership’s relationship leadership. Those are the things that I, that I think would keep, or that I think keep top talent.

Can you think of an environment ever? Can you ever think of a time where the environment was this hard to get.

[00:44:27] Bob Kreisberg: No, I think this is, I think this is the hardest environment, you know, for, for people to be operating in. And I think that, I think the distance really does, you know, create a very, you know, it creates a lot of challenges as a result of it, especially you know, at a, at a leadership level.

Unfortunately people that don’t feel good about what they’re doing. Or feel that they’re failing? They, they will have a tendency to hide. And there’s never been an easier environment to hide in. It makes a huge difference when you can, you know, look in somebody’s eyes, you know, and you’re, you’re there in front of them.

You get a sense of, you know, of, of where they’re going and how they’re doing. And you know, one final thought on that, which. It’s so important for leaders to understand behavior is completely different than intelligence that, you know, there’s a continuum of intellect. And I think we all know people, you know, that are reasonably bright and then it goes all the way to absolutely brilliant.

I mean, I think all of us have been fortunate enough to know some people in our life that you can look at and go, yeah, these are really, really brilliant people. And you got maybe a bell-shaped curve in between. You know, and it kind of goes from, you know, from good to great or fantastic well personality, which we all have.

We all are flawed in some manner, shape or form, no matter how bright we may be, we all have holes and it doesn’t matter who we are, but, but you can think about every single person on your team. And if you’re not thinking about how were they naturally strong. What are their natural challenges? How can I help that person?

It’s not a matter of saying, oh, I’ve got eight people on the team. These three are fine. They don’t need anything. You know, these two, I don’t know. Every single person on your team, every single human being, no matter how bright or not bright you are, we all have personality challenges that we need to overcome.

If we’re really going to be able to be productive and a leader that understands their people and knows where they’re coming from and knows where those holes are and can provide some practical coaching. They can move the needle on performance and productivity and retention.

[00:47:03] Brad Seaman: I love it. All right. Well, Bob, thanks.

A great, thanks for coming back on. This was a pleasure.

[00:00:00] Brad Seaman: Let’s start there. So why don’t you do a quick Gettysburg address or a synopsis on kind of where we’re at state of the union. That’s what I’m looking for. Why don’t you do a quick state of the union on where we’re at with hiring and then we can, then we can hop in and talk about sales, the, the role of sales leadership in that, and then what needs to be done for, to retain.

Or retain employees and then let’s get into just general culture. And I think there’s going to be a lot of fun stuff here to talk about.

[00:00:28] Bob Kreisberg: So I, I think this is an interesting time and it’s a different time. Then, you know, those of us sort of had you know, that have had long careers in industry. You know, the tech industry or the sales industry you know, over, over the years, we’ve definitely seen industries go through times where you know, it’s a it’s a tight job market.

It’s hard to find good people. There are certain times where. You know, definitely there are, you know, there’s more talent that’s available. But w one of the truisms, especially as it relates to sales and sales managers is good. Salespeople are always hard to find. And people that aren’t very effective.

Are almost always available, no matter, no matter how good the market is. And so this is a different market in some ways, you know, in the nature of of what’s happened, you know, with the pandemic and, and with remote work. But there are some similarities as well in that. W, you know, we absolutely want to be able to you know, to fair it out, who are the people that are genuinely successful, you know, versus who are the people that want to represent themselves to be successful.

And. From our standpoint as, as an employer you, you want to be sure that you’re doing absolutely everything to keep those quality people that you have because you know, they are in demand. They are getting. The emails, the text messages, the phone calls regarding opportunities for somebody that might have a, you know, a new and shiny you’re and bigger wheel than you do with a bigger base salary and more commission dollars on the lines.

And so as an employer, you need to be looking at. You know, what you’re able to do to be able to to, to keep those people. It’s also a time where it may be even more important for you to figure out a way to kind of turn that B player, you know, into a B plus or an a minus because of the difficulty of replacing that person.

And knowing that you’re necessarily going to be able to get. You know, beat a sometimes you try to replace a B player and you go beat a C and clearly that’s going in the wrong direction and it’s expensive. When you have a time lag between when you’ve got somebody that is performing at a mediocre level versus somebody that’s not performing at all until they, until they get ramped up.

So the management philosophy that says, well, I’m going to focus on my top people because those are the people that incrementally I can make. The biggest difference to is fine to a point. But now more than ever, it may really behoove you to try to work with those people that are a little bit more on the fence to see what you can do to incrementally, make those people more productive and more.

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