I would not call myself a baseball junkie by any stretch. As a kid I played softball from second grade until I graduated high school, and we went and saw a Tiger game at least once a year. (Shout out to all my readers from the D!)
Now that one of my daughters is playing softball, she is way more interested in watching baseball, which makes my husband super excited as he IS a Mets junkie. And while that is a minor strain, we did just go see the Tigers while they were in town at Citifield over Memorial Weekend.
But I digress. Let’s just say I’m watching a lot more professional baseball. And recently, I heard a stat that stood out to me.
The Dodgers made history recently because in three consecutive games, they won with walk-off homers BY ROOKIES.
The commentators talked a lot about this, no surprise. When you watch professional sports there are a staggering number of stats being thrown around. I imagine a dark room full of sports fans watching a wall of screens and scanning the internet for these factoids and feeding them directly into the earpieces of broadcasters all around the country.
These commentators made a lot of noise about the fact that the Dodgers spent a lot of time and energy developing their rookie teammates, and as a result have gotten some amazing performances out of them.
And that got me thinking about you, and how you are managing YOUR newest team members. Because I remember my first few jobs. Being shown a desk and given a stack of suspects and having my boss point at the phone and saying “Good luck”
So how do great leaders support and develop new talent?
1. They provide mentors – All the articles I read talked about how the Dodgers encouraged the more seasoned teammates to be welcoming to the newbies, and that the entire team philosophy embodied the notion that the team would be stronger if ALL members of them team reached their full potential. Rather than be jealous of the rookies, the older players helped, mentored, and were part of the development. This could be replicated by your sales team; assigning a more experienced rep to take a new rep on calls, help them learn product knowledge, and help them develop their talk tracks.
2. They articulate expectations WITH a road map about how to get there – Every team has goals. Winning is a goal for a major league baseball team. But what does “winning” look like for a sales organization? Whether its new prospects added to the pipeline, meetings with new clients scheduled, or resurrecting a certain number of lost accounts, leadership must be strategic about what they need to do in order to be successful. Putting a system in place that a new person can execute on is a great way for the new person to have some small wins before s/he becomes the newest star on the team.
3. They provide continuous feedback and instruction from multiple sources – It is not than uncommon for an owner or manager to become frustrated quickly when a new person does not perform up to a certain standard. What is lacking, however, is any form of feedback, observation, or suggestions about how to be successful. And this information can come from a plant manager, a CSR, an estimator, or anyone else on the team who has good ideas and understands what the customers want and need and maybe even where to find them. A new person should be meeting with key members of the team very regularly in the beginning, and that can dial back as their comfort, skill and aptitude improve. Getting everyone in the company on board with being invested in a new person’s success is not only vital to sales, it will improve morale and self-esteem for everyone involved.
We all do better when we ALL do better. What are you doing to make sure your newest team members survive and thrive in and for your company?
As a sales and marketing coach and consultant at Success In Print, Kelly Mallozzi advocates for graphic arts companies to start a revolution and fight to keep print relevant. She may be irreverent, but what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in smart-assery.
Listen to Kelly’s Podcasts From The Printerverse: Achieving Success In Print and Sales with Kelly Mallozzi / Strategies for Sales Success with Bill Farquharson and Kelly Mallozzi
Check out her book, co-authored by Bill Farquharson: Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How