Do You Have Your Sales Team’s Back?


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This week marks my 9-year anniversary at AG Salesworks. It’s been a great ride.

Prior to joining AG, I spent some time working in hospitality, banking and technology. What I discovered is that the personalities I ran into within each of those industries could not get more diverse. With the experience I gained has come perspective on what­ I feel helps drive a team. It could be money for some, continuous praise for others or the challenge of what the job brings on a daily basis. One of the few consistent themes I’ve seen is this: You need to have your team’s back.

There is nothing more discouraging or de-motivating than feeling like your boss isn’t going to bat for you. Your people need to be insulated from the politics and distractions that could potentially get in the way of their performance. That is what you owe your employees. If they feel you’re on their side and you’ve given them every tool they need to perform adequately, then I’ve found that they will not want to let you down. In this situation, “having their backs” means protecting and mentoring them if anything goes wrong, supporting them completely, and giving reassurance.

According to Harvard Business Review in an article, Do You Have Their Backs? Or Just Your Own?, “In tough times, or facing new risks, people feel highly vulnerable and their feelings of safety and esteem can evaporate.” This is especially possible for the job of an inside sales rep. Enter the sales manager, here to save the day by providing the support employees may need.

But just because you think you’re providing support for your team doesn’t mean you are. Bosses aren’t immune to self-delusion; in fact, the most deeply incompetent people are the ones who make the most inflated self-assessments. Ask your employees how comfortable they are and see for yourself. There may be a few things you need to do to prove that you’ve got their back.

I’m lucky to say that there hasn’t been 1 day in my 9-year tenure that I’ve felt like my employees have let me down. I promise I’m not just kissing butt here.

So what do you ask for in return from employees? Simple: A genuine effort… every day they walk in that door. Coincidentally, this is the same thing AG has asked of me since I started back in ’04.

In the same way, I’ve had my bosses’ back, and my team has had mine. Your manager or boss needs to feel some reciprocity. It’s a two-way street. That is what they owe you in return. If I feel my inside sales reps are grinding out their day putting in that genuine effort, regardless of success or failure, I am always going to have their back, and they will always have mine.

The most important way a manager can support his or her team is by having their back, providing and receiving support from employees who are motivated to succeed.

How do you motivate your team? Are there any other common themes you feel help drive their performance outside of the obvious?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Craig Ferrara
Craig Ferrara is a Director of Client Operations at AG Salesworks. He joined the company in 2004 as a Business Development Manager, transitioned to Client Account Manager, and was promoted to his current position in 2007. Craig's daily responsibilities include inside sales team oversight, reporting, training, ongoing contact list development and refinement, and managing daily client engagement from a high level.


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