Ep 43 – The importance of middle management training – Wesleyne Whittaker-Greer

Presentation of the episode

On the 43rd episode of the Virtual Selling Podcast, our guest is Wesleyne Whittaker-Greer, founder of Transformed Sales. She explain why middle management needs coaching to improve sales team performance.

About Wesleyne Whittaker-Greer

To learn more about Wesleyne Whittaker-Greer click on the links below :

Transcript

With the pandemic that came upon us, the rise of video conferencing tools like Microsoft teams and zoom has led to more aspects of the sales conversation to occur virtually. And what began as a crisis reaction has evolved into the new normal, but how normal is the new normal? We’re talking about how the strong shift from in-person to virtual selling has transformed B2B sales experience, virtual sales enablement, new organization’s KPIs. Everything is evolving. In the virtual selling podcast we address these issues in depth twice a week with the experts and leaders of these transformations, heads of sales, sales ops, and sales enablements of the most innovative companies in the field. This podcast is sponsored by sales deck.io, the new SAS platform to make your customer meetings more engaging and better prepared. Find out how you can shorten sales cycles, convert more leads and increase customer engagement. Virtual selling is here to stay. And so is SalesDeck.io. Hi, everybody. I’m very happy to be with Wesleyne Whittaker-Greer who is the founder of Transformed Sales. Wesleyne did not start her career into sales. She really transitioned to sales and really wanted to succeed into sales. So she read books, she watch podcast, and then she moved into sales management and it was really difficult for her and she feared it and she had apprehension, and she find a way to make sure that everybody near her team achieves a quota. And this is what she teach people and she teach middle management today. It’s relate to have impact on the organization on the younger organization, by working with the middle management, is that true Wesleyne ?
Read more
Wesleyne : Absolutely. The middle management is the part of the organization that is so often forgotten, but they’re really the people that touch our sales teams each and every day. So if we invest more in middle management, we would have much stronger and better sales teams. Gabriel : That’s great. And that’s a great idea because most training and teaching are for the sales people, but never for the middle management. Wesleyne : Absolutely. 93% of the sales training and coaching out there is directly for sales people. And it just kind of boils my blood and it boils my skin when I’m seeing all of this stuff, this is how you cold call. This is how you write an email. This is how you do this. This is how you do that. And we’re just talking about the tactics. Like the, what they should do, but nobody’s really telling people how to do it. Nobody’s talking about how managers need to hold their teens accountable for these things. So there’s a huge gap out there in terms of the training and the coaching that we need within our sales organizations. Gabriel : Great. And we will go through it, but before, do you want to share us a fun fact with the audience ? Wesleyne : Yes, I am a chemist. I have a degree in chemistry and I worked in the petrochemical industry with plastics and renewables for many years before transitioning into sales. Gabriel : Wow. And we have that in common because I’m also a chemist engineer. And I was really great at chemistry, when I was young, in one of the best school of engineering in France. So we share the way to see the world into molecules. Wesleyne : Absolutely. That’s the thing it’s like our brain teaches us like, Hey, one plus one, does it always equal two ? I don’t know. Let me go explore a little bit more. Gabriel : So we will speak about how to work on the behaviors that drive change and not only on reporting and tactics. And you started discussing about that. How do you make middle management change the way they manage ? Wesleyne : So, one of the things that’s so important, and I actually had a conversation with a client today. He was asking me, Hey, do you think this person can really become a manager ? Because I don’t think they have what they need. And so I said, Have they ever been trained to be a manager ? No, they’ve been trained to be a salesperson. And what do we train salespeople to do ? Be competitive fight till the end, be cutthroat. And if you go into management and leadership with those same concepts, then there’s a huge disconnect. So being a sales manager, a frontline sales manager is so very difficult. And if we want to ensure that we’re setting our team and our organization up for success, we need to invest in that manager. Teach them how to lead, how to manage, and most importantly, it’s not just looking down below them and managing the sales people. They have to manage, how do they talk to me as their direct line manager and manage across ? How are they talking to operations ?How are they talking to marketing ? Because all of those things are what really helps that sales manager grow and develop. Gabriel : So what do you teach them ? And how do you teach them to develop in this direction ? Wesleyne : So one of the things that is so important that we talk about initially is you were amazing. You were a top sales person, you were great, but everybody’s not like you. So everything that you did as a salesperson while that was amazing and great, everybody on your team is not a mini me. Everybody on your team is not gonna operate in the same fashion as you and do the same things that you are going to do. So it’s really important to take those blind that conversation and help them understand that this is not a team of mini me. This is a team of individuals, and as individuals, they all have their unique strengths and their areas of opportunity. Gabriel : Oh, that’s great. I love this idea that as a manager, I had to discover that everybody is not like me and that I have to do with what they are and with the qualities I have and not only the quality I have and I want them to have. So, how do you teach them that, how do you go into make sales people that are most of the time, empathic with the customer, being empathic with the sales team. Wesleyne : So, again, this is my chemist brain, but I always start with data. So I don’t use my own human judgment to say, this is a strong sales person. This is a weak sales person. This person knows how to close, this person doesn’t. What we always do is I start with what I like to call an MRI of the sales organization. And what that is is we do a deep dive into the systems, the processes, the strengths, the areas of opportunities for the sales organization. And then we present that to the manager and I say, Hey manager. So these are the people on your team who are lowest performing. These are the things that we need to do to level them up. Right. And we go bit by bit and we help each person based on what the data tells us that they need to work on. Right ? Some people may be really bad at hunting, right. They may have no social selling skills and we determined that that is a big thing that’s holding them back. So we focus on that with them. It’s not like, go on LinkedIn, make a cold call. It’s what’s holding you back from picking up the call, picking up the phone. What’s holding you back from reaching out to someone you don’t know. Right ? Is it your apprehension fear of failure ? Is it that you get bombarded by those all day long and you don’t wanna be that person ? So let’s deal with the core of what the problem is. And once we understand the core of the problem, then we can start working through it. So if you have a fear of failure, this is what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna sit on zoom and we’re just gonna practise. Like, it’s just you and I, let’s just practice. And then they feel equipped to go and do it and you don’t have to work with them on that again. So that’s an example of that behavior change that we work on within with individuals within organizations. Gabriel : So, it’s very close to what a seller do because a seller, needs to understand first the problem of their customer and before trying to find a solution. So you do the same within the sales team, in fact. Wesleyne : Absolutely. And that I’m so glad you got it. It’s because you’re a technical person. So you see exactly how my brain work. It’s literally what we do to customers we do internally. Right ? So just like you would sit there and when you would go into a discovery call, you wouldn’t just yack and yack and yack, and talk about your product. You do the same thing when you sit down with somebody on your team. Ask them tell me a little bit about what’s going on, and then you just sit back and you listen and you don’t try to recommend or fix or do anything you have to understand, as you said, diagnose the problem, what is happening here. And then we just move through the process that way. Gabriel : Great. And, so in this way, you teach a middle management to consider the team like a customer. Wesleyne : Absolutely. Because when you have the thought that my team, I owe to my team, exactly what I gave to my customers. And another thing that we work with teams of managers. Because typically when we’re working with larger organization, we’re working with, you know, 10 or 12 managers at a time. So it’s not usually one on one, unless it’s a smaller organization. But one of the things that I always tell them is you should not be selling. So if you’re selling, you’re doing something wrong because your sales people sell and sales managers manage, period. Full stop. The end of the story. Right ? That is how it needs to work. And so one of their apprehensions is I don’t have time for that Wesleyne, you want me to sit down and talk to these people and understand what’s happening to them. So, and I’m like, well, what are you doing ? And they’re doing the wrong thing. So we redirect their activities to ensure that they’re focusing and spending their time doing revenue generating things without directly selling. Gabriel : That’s very interesting. Within these teams of manager, do they all are ready to consider the sales team like customer ? And to devote them the number of times they need ? Wesleyne : So, I like those hardheaded managers that think they’re doing everything the right way. And they’re like, yeah, you don’t know anything Wesleyne, you don’t know anything about this industry. You don’t know what we’re doing here. Those are like, those are my people, because those are the ones that become the raving fans in the end. They’re the most resistant to change. But once they start seeing the small changes that they can make, how big it ripples, because once you teach a manager something, if they have a team of 5 or 10 people, that knowledge is multiplied 5 X or 10 X. Right. So the only time that I see failures, if you would call it a failure, is if somebody doesn’t have the propensity to change. So if they have what I call a fixed mindset and they’re like, I’ve always done it this way. You can’t teach me anything else. And my way is right. And my team is amazing. Then that person isn’t going to work well within the type of work that we’re doing, but they’re also not gonna work well in that organization. And that’s probably why their leader has put them into this team coaching environment because they realize that they’re butting head. They’re not doing the things that they need to do. Gabriel : That’s very interesting. Does the sales team see the benefit of the training the manager got ? Wesleyne : Yes, 150% because they see their manager starting to really step into that position. Their manager is not just showing up at the sales meetings and looking at the CRM and running through the numbers. Oh, okay. This is how many deals we have in the pipeline. These are the KPIs. They’re coming to the sales meetings and they’re teaching them something when they’re going on Sales calls with the sales people. They’re not taking over anymore because they’re the big person. And I’m the sales manager. They’re sitting back and listening. They’re allowing the salesperson to be elevated into the position that they should be. And so the sales people start depending on the sales manager and looking at them as a coach, because that’s what everybody, every sales manager should think of themselves as a sales coach. And that is the way that we get them to see that. Gabriel : Great. And do you interview the sales team before the coaching and after the coaching to see the difference they perceive in the way they are managing ? Wesleyne : Yes. So, what the way that the, the program is actually set up is we do that MRI. So we diagnose the organization. We work with the sales manager and there’s a little bit of, there is time that we’re working with the team too, because what we found is it’s almost like when you’re in school. You learn everything that’s theoretical, but then you don’t know it in practice. So I will actually lead a sales meeting and show them the way that it’s done. And then I observe the sales meetings. I’ll we hop on one on. Somebody on the team is gonna hop on a one-on-one and give them some real feedback, show them how it’s done. Right ? Like we model the behavior that the sales manager actually needs. And so after 12 months we reevaluate the sales team and we see, we can see the huge change that they’ve made over that 12 month period with all of the things that we’ve implemented. And we see the retention of the sales team go up, we see revenue like throughout the Wazuh crazy growth. They love the company. They love the boss because people don’t leave companies. They leave managers. So if you can really build that loyalty in that culture and help them make more money. Like, they’re never gonna leave. Right ? They wanna stay forever. Gabriel : Hey, great. And do you have some example of success that you want to share ? Wesleyne : Yes. So, there’s a team that I was working with and, this particular team. So this leader on this team, it’s so funny. He calls me his career coach because, he was passed up for multiple promotions. Because within the organization, they could not see his growth mindset. They thought that he was just good at doing his job. So when we started, we were about three months into the year and they were like 30% behind budget. It was pretty intense within six months, every person on the team was hitting quota every single month. Like that is what our claim to fame is. Every person on the team hitting quota every single month. And then by the end of the year, he was actually 12 months ahead of his revenue. So the revenue he achieved at the end of that calendar year was revenue. He was supposed to achieve at the end of the following calendar later. So they were literally a whole year ahead of their revenue target. So that’s the type of change that we see and the person no longer call themselves a sales manager, they call themselves a sales coach. So even just the wording that they use to describe themselves is really powerful also. Gabriel : That’s great. So if people want to contact you, what should they do ? Wesleyne : The best way to contact me is on LinkedIn. And my name is very unique. It’s just, Wesleyne, you search for me and be sure to put a custom message and say, you heard me on SalesDeck, so I know who you are and I’m on there all the time. All day would love to chat with. Gabriel : Great. Thank you Wesleyne. And just the last question. What do you think of SalesDeck ? Wesleyne : I think it’s amazing. I really think that having those battle cards, those play cards right there when you’re coaching your team or when your salesperson is in a sales call and you as a sales manager, you can put little notes in little reminders for them like good job you’re doing well. Don’t forget to say that, like that helped build their confidence, the salesperson, and it helps the sales manager cuz they don’t have to have everything in their head. They can have it in a nice fashion right in front of. Gabriel : Great. Thank you Wesleyne. This episode of the virtual selling podcast is over. Thanks for sticking around. Join us twice a week for a new episode, with new stories and challenge of giants in the field. If you enjoy today’s episode, we are always listening for your feedback. Share the show and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform so you don’t miss any episode. This episode was brought to you by Salesdeck.io, the virtual selling platform that increase your sales team efficiency, and sales readiness, enable remote management and bump sales operational excellence. Book your Salesdeck.io demo today to discover, how you can close more deals with engaging and better prep customer meetings. Thanks a lot Wesleyne. It was a pleasure. Thank you. Wesleyne : Pleasure chatting with you.

 

Want to become a guest on The Virtual Selling Podcast? Book a slot with Gabriel here!

Join the Early Adopter Program today to be part of a leading sales solution provider (limited spots available!), or grow your sales training business by becoming a Partner.

To track launch updates, join the waiting list or book a demo!