with Kyle Dean
About the show
The Fearless Thinkers podcast, hosted by Rick Cheatham and Masami Cookson, personalizes BTS’s perspective on the people side of strategy.
Fearless Thinkers is produced by Gloria Breck and Aron Towner.
Special thanks to Joe Holeman, Chris Goodnow, Meghan McGrath, and Roanne Neuwirth for their invaluable help.
“It’s about that consistency that you’re able to create for your team and for your clients — thinking about how you establish your operational cadence helps to reinforce those expectations when you’re not there all the time,” says Kyle Dean, Senior Director, in this episode of Fearless Thinkers. Kyle and Rick Cheatham, CMO, share ideas for all salespeople to consider as they progress both professionally and collectively.
Rick Cheatham: From your perspective, what are some of the key challenges that are [affecting sales management]?
Kyle Dean: We’re seeing a lot being asked of sales managers. There’s more data and information available than ever before. They’re seeing disruptions to their business that are so far outside of their control.
As the world continues to fuse together, you’re seeing disruptions that happen in Asia then impact decision-making in North America. Additionally, you have a lot of intrinsic information that they have started to need to gain access to.
Honestly, a lot of them who are stepping into the role for the first time as they’ve been getting promoted over the last couple of years… That’s requiring them to learn on the job [as] leaders for the first time; moving from being a high-performing individual contributor, to having to think about how [to] multiply their skills across their entire team and adapting their leadership capabilities to them; [all] while meeting the needs of a changing and complicated customer network.
Rick Cheatham: I think some of those things are common across leaders and managers in general right now — how people aren’t able to trust their judgment as they once would, and so those decision cycles do get longer and more complex — and [also the] rate of change driving priorities. The old world of “We’re going to set our three-year strategic plan and just hold to it!” [is] just such a distant memory. If they are still happening, they’re probably not effective. So, I definitely see the challenge, especially for those frontline sales managers also affected by that in their customers organizations.
Kyle Dean: Because of what you pointed out last, that idea of, this is going on in their customer organizations as well, that outside dynamic of having to work with customers is what really challenges sales managers beyond what traditional leadership development is tackling in today’s market.
In fact, what we find is that when you are a sales manager, you have to understand 1) how to think differently about how you’re leading your team and your clients at the same time, because you’re representing the senior leadership of your organization when getting into customer and client conversations; 2) how you’re developing your team to meet the needs of your shifting clients — not just the needs of your existing organization; 3) how you’re effectively executing on your quota and making sure your team’s delivering on that quota (something that can be increasingly complex as people are reevaluating how they’re putting together packaging models), and 4) how people are making decisions and slowing down with the complexity of the existing economic environment and the volatility that we’re seeing with just the rise of a lot of these new technologies coming forward.
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