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Guest Post: Sales Leaders, Don’t Let Data Take Humanity From Your Leadership

3 min read
Updated Aug. 25, 2021
Published Dec. 6, 2019

Guest post by Scott Leese, CEO & founder of Scott Leese Consulting, and founder of The Surf and Sales Summit.

The decade is ending and data is king. That can’t be disputed. But aren’t we more than 1s and 0s? 

As more companies rely on data alone, we’re driving humanity out of leadership and sales orgs faster than ever. Do we as sales practitioners want that? Will we continue on this path or is a shift coming?

I believe that our reality is what we choose to accept. And to improve your sales teams’ performance, it’s time to consider that the “old” way might be the “new” way once again. 

Salespeople are tiring of the “data before everything” mindset and the way they’re treated because of it. Instead, your sales team longs for mentorship, growth, and transformative experience in the workplace. They want more than cash and kombucha alone. 

Data might be king, but it’s not a god. So, don’t let data destroy the humanity of your leadership or drain the magic from your people. 

Instead, use sales data to support the soft skills in your managerial toolbelt. There are plenty of ways to do this effectively.

Here are a few you can try:

  1. In your 1-1s, review your metrics from top of funnel down to close rate and average deal size.
  2. Figure out why the numbers are the way they are.
    • Assess the mindset of your team members.
    • Listen to them explain what’s going on in their lives.
    • Offer advice and strategies to address the challenges they’re facing.
  3. Discuss their goals and career path.
  4. Review whether or not current performance is aligned with the prior statement of career goals.
  5. Agree on effective ways to improve outcomes.

Some might say that your primary goal as a sales leader is hitting revenue targets (by hook or by crook in misguided cases). But that’s the data talking. That’s the folks who’ve accepted data as their only compass. I disagree.

I think your most important goal as a sales leader is to help your people get to where they want to go.

A few examples could be:

  1. Cracking six-figure income for the first time
  2. Breaking into management
  3. Moving from SDR to AE
  4. Selling their first million dollar deal

The single most effective thing you can do to help your team members get where they want to go is this:

Remove every single obstacle that you can influence from their path.

  • Not enough leads? Solve it for them.
  • Needing help on their pitch? Listen to calls with them.
  • Stressed out about a family situation? Take a walk with them and show them you care.
  • Feeling left out or isolated? Grab lunch or a coffee with them and discuss their passions.
  • Money’s tight? Fight like hell to increase their comp plan and get them paid.
  • Deals stuck in red-line legal hell? Go ruffle some internal feathers.
  • Customers calling with service issues? Grab a bullhorn and get somebody’s attention.

Remember, data is king, but it’s not a god.

And you know what’s more effective than relying on data alone? Making the lives and jobs of your people easier every single day. Fighting difficult battles for them behind the scenes and in the trenches too. And when you prioritize these things, you’ll actively create the type of culture this next generation of sales folks is craving.

One that understands the value of data, but refuses to lose its humanity.