“Don’t Hate Me Because I Make It Look Easy”
'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
As part of our work related to the design, development, and delivery of a global sales leadership training program, we started interviewing some of the top performing sales professionals within the client organization. Of the 7 interviews, 5 of the people interviewed were unhappy with their jobs and company.
The reason for their misery was they all felt colleagues in their own company ranging from other sales people to sales support and product engineering “hated” them for being successful and making it “look easy.”
“The biggest challenge that I have is internal and not external. I work my ass off doing the right things in terms of follow-up, positioning value, and taking the time to know my customers from the business perspective. I probably work 60 plus hours a week and the people around me who just get by on 30 hate me because they think my job is easy and that new sales just fall out of the sky into my lap every week. It’s really ridiculous that I have more respect from my competitors than I do the product engineers that are supposed to help me close new deals.”
What I found most interesting was the consistency; that a significant majority of the top performers felt this way. From a leadership perspective, shame on this organization for letting this happen.
When I shared some of these unexpected finding with our direct client, he was visibly upset and asked me for some immediate advice. I took a little time to see if there were other examples of this happening and to research some of the best practices if there were any. What I discovered was that this is happening more frequently as sales teams turnover and the economy continues to strengthen.
Here are 3 tips Sales Leaders and Business Leaders should think about if you have this situation or want to avoid it:
- Support your top performing sales professionals no matter what
They are your lifeblood and will be there for you when things start to slow down. It’s completely negligent to let them feel that they aren’t appreciated or liked by their own organization and especially by other sales people on your team. Now, before you think to yourself, “Oh, that can’t happen to us.” Remember the impetus behind this blog was a Sales Leader who had no idea it was happening right in front of him.
- Don’t Let Poor Performers Create a Toxic Environment
It’s very easy as a Business Leader to get sucked into the toxic swamp of negatively. It starts slowly and usually is about a jerk customer, and then it turns to the products, but it usually ends with the rats turning on each other. That’s what the poor performers do; they’d rather bitch about all of the things wrong than take ownership and follow the best practices of the top performers.
- Coach Your Top Performers to Coach the Poor Performers
Part of the reason they may be poor performers is they don’t have the coaching and support needed to be successful. There is no better resource than your top performers in terms of lending their expertise. The secret to success is to make sure you aren’t asking the top performers to work with toxic poor performers as it’s up to you to exit them from the organization before enlisting their help.