A few years ago I delivered a two-day workshop to the senior leadership of a 225-person sales organization. One of the several topics in the workshop was to debrief their individual “behavioral profile” assessments. Interestingly, all 7 executives had a similar profile – high dominance and high task orientation, low relationship-focus. When I pointed this out, you could have heard a pin drop in the room….
Turns out that a few years prior the execs had implemented a major territory realignment – making existing producers “names account reps” by pulling their geographic territories away, and back-filling with 50 new hires.
While the change initiative had been largely successful, results-wise, execs were very troubled by the recent turnover of a few key peak performers. And, to make matters worse, they had recently hosted their Top Producers trip and heard a bunch of complaints from their winners.
So what caused the silence in the room was the execs’ collective realization that their sales leadership style was effective for driving change, but not for retention and ongoing morale of the troops. They had all taken their eye off this all-important ball. Their change initiative had worked in terms of increasing sales, but their peak performers were getting restless. So, the president halted my session, took over the whiteboard, and they made a “relationship development plan” tasking each senior exec with reaching out to a certain specific list of peak performers.
My key point is this: Check in with your peak performers on an individual basis soon. If you lose one of them it will have a devastating impact on your entire sales team. If and when you do lose a peak performer, you will be the last person on the sales team to learn about it……