How sales leaders can continually challenge the status quo to thoughtfully achieve growth

by | Jun 22, 2020 | Leadership, Managing Teams

Leaders need to challenge the status quo and current practices, to see where they have opportunities to end what is not working, in order to give space for new ideas and practices to grow.

Hi, Nicki Weiss here, Founder and President of the SalesWise Academy. See these rosebushes?  How did they get to be so healthy and beautiful?  I’m guessing the gardener who cares for them prunes them year after year, cutting off branches that aren’t the best or that get in the way of new growth.

This practice of pruning is a metaphor for us – what do we need to cut in order to make way for the kind of growth and health we desire?  Because, really, the future we want may never come to pass if we don’t end some things we are doing today.

Successful leaders and salespeople are those who regularly attract more.  And when you attract more and more, it becomes harder and harder to be great and do great work.

So, how can you manage the more without letting it grow out of control?  If you were this gardener, you would strategically and mercilessly prune lots of good branches, giving the remaining ones room to flourish and become great. Otherwise, these rose bushes wouldn’t be able to support all of the good branches.

These rose bushes would become average, instead of stunning.

It’s the same for us. And who wants to work hard only to achieve average?

As a leader or salesperson, consider which behaviours, relationships, processes, customers, product lines or even entire areas of your business, are good, but are preventing you from becoming great. Those are the branches that need to be pruned now. It takes a lot of courage to prune some of the good and healthy parts of your business. But if you don’t, you can’t make space for new growth.

Here are a few pruning stories:

Salesperson Sophie was overwhelmed with all the accounts she was managing. She had far too many small, high maintenance customers and not enough big accounts. She worked with her manager to end her involvement in most of the smaller accounts.  They created a plan for her to learn how to scout, pursue and land larger deals. Sophie is now reeling in more big fish and whale sized opportunities.

Another story.  A sales team decided to improve their meetings by pruning status updates of their accounts and reporting results via email. Now they have space for deeper more interesting and strategic conversations.

A final story. A growing software development company we work with regularly has job openings. Typically, they hire in their own image – young, white, and primarily male.   They decided to prune this practice, in order to bring in people who offer more diversity.   They know this will help them build a more balanced, inclusive, and high performing company.

I love the practice of pruning. Consider discussing as a team what needs to be pruned so that you and your business can thrive and grow. You’ll be delighted with the conversations and your improved business results.

You can do this.  Bye for now.