Today, sales managers need to figure out what type of leaders they want to be. Obviously, that decision has great importance when putting together an expert team.
As it turns out, “being coachable” is a highly effective management style. We talked with Yair Areli, VP of Global Sales for DataRails, a financial planning and analysis platform, to get his thoughts on what drives success. He says coachability is key.
The Three Pillars
When asked what defines him as a professional, Yair offers his “three pillars.” Now most would look at these pillars in terms of their sales force. Yair looks at them as pillars for himself. The three pillars are:
- Innovation: Think of yourself just like a product, one that constantly needs improvement. Yair suggests that we all try to develop our own Ph.D. in our profession— always improve and always make sure that what we do is still relevant.
- Persistence and discipline: Develop a rhythm. For example, go to the gym 4-5 times a week, not just once a month. Push yourself and be disciplined in your quest to reach your goals. Work just a bit harder than everyone else. That way, when they give up, you’re still in the game.
- Coachability: According to Yair, this is the hardest. When most people get negative or critical feedback, their natural instinct is to take it as a threat. But if we take the time to shut off that emotional side of our brains and turn to our rational mind, we can coach ourselves to become better.
One of the ways we can become coachable is to constantly ask for feedback, not only from our managers but from our sales team. Ask the following: What am I missing? If you were me, what would you do? What did I do wrong? What would you do differently?
By doing this in a leadership role, Yair says, “You always learn and grow.”
One of the biggest mistakes new leaders make is to demand that their people do things exactly the way they do them. According to Yair, he was guilty of this, of trying to create another version of himself.
Instead, Yair likes the term “servant leadership.” It came from one of his former managers. That manager said, “Enabling you. That’s my job.” Yair agrees and says his job starts and ends with enabling his sales team.
He adds, “Why spend time pretending, or needing, to be the smartest person in the room? It’s a waste of energy. Don’t try to pretend you’re someone you’re not. Catch yourself if you’re acting from your ego.”
Look for a Leader First, Manager Second
When looking for managers, Yair says it’s a waste to look for managers. He thinks it’s much more effective to look for leaders first and managers second. He also looks for his three pillars. But more importantly, Yair looks to find things new hires can teach him.
Yair and his company love CRM. He thinks it’s a great tool, but it should be used consistently. According to him, his company has defined a sales process and simplified it. He tries to use CRM to enforce the process because the data and reporting drive decisions and behaviors.
For more thoughts on being coachable, listen to Yair’s interview on Sales Lead Dog podcast.