Wes Schaeffer: Nigel Green all the way from Tennessee man, author of this new book—it's almost out, right?—"The Revenue Harvest Sales Leader's Almanac For Planning The Perfect Year." Welcome to The Sales Podcast, man. How the heck are you?
Nigel Green: Wes I'm great, thanks for having me. Wes Schaeffer: So, what's up man. Are you some kind of farm boy, are we going to get all Southern up on us here podcast today?
Nigel Green: Will may not get all Southern a little bit because I'm from the South, but we're definitely going to talk about two of the oldest professions farming and selling
Wes Schaeffer: Gotcha. Very nice. So a
Wes Schaeffer: Is that a big leap man farming is although you know I do here I realtors, they always say you had to have a territory that your farm.
Wes Schaeffer: But I was more of a hunter-killer kind of type. So do I have to form a can just go, I like those voters hanging on the line are like, Screw this let's go down and kill something man you know
Nigel Green: Well, you can take whatever analogy you want but you got to produce something
Wes Schaeffer: And that's why we took this angle with the
Wes Schaeffer: Lies that
Nigel Green: If you don't produce you won't make it in this business, and there are farmers that can tell you that if you don't produce a crop, you will make it doesn't matter if you spent the time to
Nigel Green: plant seeds. If you did at the wrong time of the year, there won't be anything to harvest and you won't have a farm right looking for something else to do. And a lot of sales reps.
Nigel Green: Spend a lot of time looking for clever tactics and fix quick fixes, but they don't understand that this business is about longevity and it takes consistency over time in order to have some longevity in this career.
Wes Schaeffer: So how does one of these hunter-gatherers develop patience, because I know when I was 30 man. I didn't have a whole lot of patients and at 50 I don't have much more either, but I do have a little more
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah, so when when when when when do you accelerate, right, when do you like kind of let things kind of percolate
Nigel Green: Well, you know, nature has her own pace. And I think that that's a lot like the customers are. You can be too much too fast.
Nigel Green: And you won't get the result that you're looking for. So I think what this book is really about West and it's for sales leaders so that there's if you're in a
Nigel Green: Production role if you carry your quota, you'll get something out of it. But if you manage a team or you're a CEO and our investor what this book is going to tell you is
Nigel Green: It's going to teach you how to lead your sales leader, it's going to teach you how to have conversations with her about
Nigel Green: How good is she at forecasting. How good is she at coaching. How good is she taking the plan that you've communicated to your board.
Nigel Green: And translating that to the reps that are going to be representing your company to the marketplace. So it's really a book about making sure that you get what you expect at the end of the year.
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah.
Wes Schaeffer: Well, and I see that all the time and I was a victim of this with having poor sales leadership.
Wes Schaeffer: Most sales managers are plucked from the sales team. They were a top performer and now they go from lone wolf right aggressive impatient, get it done slash and burn bull in the china shop and now they got a lead people
Wes Schaeffer: And they're not ready. So is this helping to kind of bridge that gap.
Nigel Green: It does the just because you were good at selling doesn't mean you're going to be a good sales leader, but you can be
Nigel Green: The behaviors that are required of a good sales leader are vastly different from that of a sales rep, you know, sales reps are known for leaving awake of destruction behind them.
Nigel Green: And sales managers have to understand how to clean that up because if the product team if the customer success team if they don't support you, you won't have you, won't you, won't hit your number four year. And if you've got reps that
Nigel Green: You know, run and leave everything for everybody else to deal with and you don't teach the team, how to be good team players with product and customer success and operations and the folks that
Nigel Green: Keep your customers happy. It won't translate to a good selling year so what good sales leaders do is they know how to manage the balance between
Nigel Green: Product customer and people, and oftentimes the hunters and the go-getter done types that were plucked from the ranks that you're talking about. They think that spending time with your salespeople.
Nigel Green: Is doing it for them so they cut them off in the meeting they show up to ride with the rep, just to close for them versus giving them space to grow and learn and then giving feedback, creating coaching sessions. After the meeting with the customer to help them get better at their craft.
Wes Schaeffer: So, how does a sales manager arrive at this new person?
Wes Schaeffer: Or the user, usually in over their heads right and they start reaching out looking for ways right is, you know, because a lot of times I mean you gotta be. You gotta set your ego aside to, to a degree, right as a sales leader.
Wes Schaeffer: And realized you. This is a new role.
Wes Schaeffer: You went from being a top performer, kind of like being like, you know, you were, you were all-star. You're all-state in high school right now you're in college in everybody. You're playing against was also all-state.
Wes Schaeffer: You know, but you are all-state in Connecticut right playing against the guy that was all-state in Texas. Little bit different
Wes Schaeffer: So can they there's a little bit of humble pie. You know, when they start to reach out for tools like this or is it just savvy?
Nigel Green: I think it's sadness and self-awareness, you know, if you stick with that example of being on stage at the high school level.
Nigel Green: You may not be in over your head when you go to the college level but you certainly can learn from those around you, and even those that
Nigel Green: May not play your position, but have been on the team or been in the collegiate ranks long enough and the healthy
Nigel Green: And the self-aware sales leaders understand that, yes, you got there, because you're good at your craft you know the competitive landscape.
Nigel Green: You know how to sell your product and you might actually be a good sales leader, but this next season of the business is going to require you to do something differently.
Nigel Green: Maybe you just maybe the business just acquired another company and you've got to integrate a sales team and you've never done that before.
Nigel Green: Or there's a new offering that you need to take to the market this year. That is completely outside of the scope of what your sales team sales and you need to create a specialty sales team.
Nigel Green: So it's the self-aware sales leader that understands that coaching is your best friend and an extra set of eyes or ears or other resources.
Nigel Green: Is really helpful. You know, your job. Our job as the leader is to make sure we come up with. We provide the best ideas to our team. It doesn't necessarily mean we have to generate those ideas.
Wes Schaeffer: So, you know, when
Wes Schaeffer: You when you've got this new team.
Wes Schaeffer: How much
Wes Schaeffer: Like using the coaching analogy. Right, Nick Saban doesn't show up at Alabama and say, Okay, I'll just maintain as we were and it's okay, we'll just keep doing what we were doing, you know, he shows them says, hey, his new sheriff in town.
Wes Schaeffer: You're gonna do things my way or hit the highway.
Wes Schaeffer: Right. So as a new sales manager, you know, stepping in and a lot of times, like they're plucked from within. Right. So they've been part of the crew, you know,
Wes Schaeffer: goofing off whatever bagging on management, you know, knocking a few back at the sales meetings, maybe doing things their way, maybe even being proud and boisterous about how they do things their own way and they had success and now they're in charge.
Wes Schaeffer: Do they immediately like Hey, new sheriff in town, my way or the highway or do they, do they give a little leeway and how much leeway to the individuals to kind of do things their way. Right. I mean how standardized, do they need to be well so the
Nigel Green: The second principle of this book is called positioning and it's right after the planning principle. The first thing that we teach sales leaders, how to do is
Nigel Green: Really understand how to effectively plan the selling year positioning the plan is really what Nick Saban does better than in him. Bill Belichick does this better than anyone else and football.
Nigel Green: Players that come there understand it's a privilege to be there. Yes. They're good. Yes. They're the best at their craft. But this is also one of the best
Nigel Green: Cultivated cultivating environments for a football player.
Nigel Green: If, if you are a sales leader, you have a responsibility for recruiting talent to your team that want to be there because they believe in the offering
Nigel Green: That it does something for the customers that's unique and valuable if you've got a team of reps that are there because they are only infatuated with the compensation plan.
Nigel Green: Or there's not this buy in this chemistry this reason to go and do this plan that's bigger than my self-interest and motivations, you won't last long.
Nigel Green: Really good plans really good products poorly positioned poorly position by a leader that can't get the team to see something bigger than what's in it for this Commission check for this quarter. They won't last. Nick Saban and Bill Belichick understand that.
Nigel Green: Yes, you're good. But we're here to do something special.
Nigel Green: And sales leaders that can build a culture around doing something special typically get the team to perform better than a team of really, really talented.
Nigel Green: Players, you can look at the NFL and find teams that are just loaded with talent, but they never quite get it figured out because they don't get everybody on the same page, right.
Wes Schaeffer: But when they put their foot down, right, or they start positioning this, it's going to ruffle a few feathers.
Wes Schaeffer: Do you just let them go right like Jalen hurts, right, he transferred away from Alabama. He's like,
Wes Schaeffer: You know, new, new young quarterback came in, took a spot and you know they still did well obviously
Wes Schaeffer: Do you try to hold on to those or say if it's not a fit, you know, good luck at your next venture
Nigel Green: Yes, you try to hold on to them, but you also are okay with letting them go. One thing about good reps and good customers is, they all leave
Nigel Green: You stay in it long enough. You're going to have to replace your best customer lead teams long enough. You're going to have to replace your best rap.
Nigel Green: And the spirit of a leader is that you want what's best for your people, even if it means they need to go be successful somewhere else. And oftentimes, the outcome is
Nigel Green: For you to be successful. It's no longer going to be on this team we've exhausted all resources to get the most out of you and you just got to be okay with the outcome of parting ways
Nigel Green: Because what's more important is the collective the team, the business. The customers.
Nigel Green: And you have to be unwavering on your commitment to those outcomes and sometimes individual people stand in the way of achieving the big collective outcomes and you just kind of make those tough decisions right
Wes Schaeffer: Well, dirty little secret though that some new sales managers may not understand, you know, Nick Saban is great because he recruits
Wes Schaeffer: You know, he's a master at recruiting few organizations, though, that I've seen are very good at recruiting so they
Wes Schaeffer: They're scared that someone at their top person is going to leave. And the reality is usually it's, it is the top person that leaves right they get hired away.
Wes Schaeffer: Either better offer, you know, hey, I got moved from offensive coordinator to head coach, you know, and Nick Saban loses a crap ton of coaches every year and still produces. So do you get into the recruiting side of things.
Nigel Green: Well, it's almost like you're setting me up because we talked about the plan principle. Then the second principle of positioning
Nigel Green: And the third is prepare and a big part of preparation for the sales leader is recruiting and we spend a lot of time in the book talking about recruiting and
Nigel Green: It's a full-time job before Nick Saban, and it's a full-time job for sales leaders. One of the things that you'll, you'll see in the very beginning of this book is good planning means not that you have contingencies for
Nigel Green: If adversity hits you during the excelling year but it's knowing that adversity will strike, and she always strikes at the most inopportune time
Nigel Green: Coaches leave. Players leave. It's never a good time for your top rep to leave. It's for whatever the circumstances was maternity leave. Take a competitive offering. No one anticipates that it's going to happen.
Nigel Green: But the good sales leader has a bunch of talent and understands that the best people are recruited. You know, it's too little too late. When you lose a rep and you go post a job, let me let you in on another little secret. You know, this
Nigel Green: The best sales reps aren't looking for jobs.
Nigel Green: They're busy earning commissions maxing out their compensation plan and they're not looking for your job posting
Nigel Green: On these job boards. So it's up to the good sales leader to make it a part of their weekly cadence to go talk to talent and just like Nick Saban spends
Nigel Green: A lot of his weeks in weeknights and the homes of young man's trying to convince them to come to Alabama.
Nigel Green: You got to do a lot of that even when you go on the road and you may spend an entire day with a rep that night, you need to have time set aside to interview people because adversities coming and she's not your friend. Mm-hmm.
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah, watching this you know you
Wes Schaeffer: Have this love-hate relationship with Nick Saban, because he restored my LSU Tigers to glory and then left
Wes Schaeffer: But watching these guys watching coach. Oh, you know what LS shoe. They're there in the middle of these you know CFP playoffs.
Wes Schaeffer: And you see him like fly to Atlanta, whatever. Get ready for a game and they're coordinating recruiting visits in during these playoffs. Right. And it's like, Holy smokes.
Wes Schaeffer: They're talking to kids, he'll fly off real quick. You'll see somebody bring them to the game. I mean, in the middle of going after the championship. They're still they know that that's key, right. They've got to be doing that and
Wes Schaeffer: It's true man, I just see so few doing it. But man, if you can, but you know should
Wes Schaeffer: Should they
Wes Schaeffer: Look for top talent like experience salespeople or is it better to bring in
Wes Schaeffer: Somebody with very little experience and groom them and grow them in your own system.
Nigel Green: Yeah, you. I think it's a mix of both, I think that ultimately as a sales leader, you're the curator of the culture, you're the keeper of the culture that you want to create for your team and
Nigel Green: The truth about culture is time in dilutes awareness of. So the longer that you've been part of culture, the less likely you are to understand how it really is.
Nigel Green: So it's really helpful for a leader ever so often to inject new elements to the culture to go outside of the organization and bring in fresh values and perspectives that can enhance the culture.
Nigel Green: These new additions to the team when their top players, particularly, and they have some experience that very able to come in and tell you very quickly how your culture is not what you say it is
Nigel Green: And so if a leader can foster an environment of trust and transparency, bringing in top talent.
Nigel Green: From other companies can also be very helpful. Now here, here's where it's really valuable for the green talent, those little experience.
Nigel Green: They coach everyone else up the right players and the right culture allow you to go get
Nigel Green: New people that the meat that the chemistry and meet the cultural minimums of the team. They don't have the competency, they don't have the experience, but they have all the hustle and grit that you need.
Nigel Green: The right teammates will take them under their wing and they will show the rookies, how to do it.
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah, you can just trust them, though. I mean, I've been the recipient, you know, showing up somewhere new, and some old salty dog. You know, I go on the road with them in man. They're terrible.
Wes Schaeffer: So we got to be careful who we allow to coach them up. Oh.
Nigel Green: Well, it's maybe they're terrible. I think that that's probably a separate conversation because I wouldn't want to eradicate that that's
Nigel Green: That's toxic and you don't want that in your culture, BUT IT IS TRUE WEST that the day of a new sales rep looks very different from the day of a senior or salty dog that's got it down 20-year vet.
Nigel Green: And shadowing that ribs, probably not going to be very valuable to a new rep, because the activities that she needs to do every day, you're not going to be
Nigel Green: The same that you might with 1015 years of experience. So that's where I think having a really defined playbook.
Nigel Green: Is very helpful. And, you know, we're doing Nick Saban, a lot of favorites here talking about him, but he's one of the more process-oriented people and we've talked about this in the book.
Nigel Green: That if you don't have a defined playbook for your team.
Nigel Green: Who we want to hire. What's the personality profile, what is the first day. The first week, the first six weeks. The first six months look like
Nigel Green: If that's not structured, you're really setting everyone up new whether their experience or not to fail because they're not going to do it your way. You know,
Nigel Green: Bill Belichick says, do your job, you know, just do your job and everyone knows what their job is because it's been spelled out crystal clear. And it's our job as a sales leader to
Nigel Green: And I'm literally talking about a physical playbook to have it written down standard operating procedures.
Nigel Green: Before you show up on this team to put it on their desk and I mean physically ship it to them before they start and say this is how we do it here and it's your job to train yourself on our way.
Wes Schaeffer: But a lot of times companies don't have that.
Wes Schaeffer: Right. I mean, a lot of times that great salespeople.
Wes Schaeffer: Are just getting after it. A lot of natural ability, you know, the hustle, the grind.
Wes Schaeffer: And I've just seen it over and over again. And in a way, I'm kind of thankful because it gives me a job.
Wes Schaeffer: To be that outsider coming in and giving them that fresh perspective because they that kind of planning. It's hard, right, it's like
Wes Schaeffer: I forget who it was. And Sam Snead Ben Hogan like those kind of guys like way back in the day in golf and somebody asked do you inhale or exhale on you're putting stroke. Right. And he's like, I don't know.
Wes Schaeffer: So then he just spent all this time analyzing trying to figure it out and totally messed up his game for a while.
Wes Schaeffer: You know cuz he's just was such a natural. He just did it. Mm-hmm. You know, and then to it's like why like so few great players become great coaches.
Wes Schaeffer: And almost any sport, it's, it's the those that had to grind that become the great coaches because they had to analyze so much, you know, versus just doing things naturally so can they
Wes Schaeffer: It means that where you and I come in. Is that where the book comes in to help them create that plan.
Wes Schaeffer: Because I just, I haven't seen it be all that natural for most great salespeople.
Nigel Green: It's not natural for a couple of reasons to prevailing reasons why it's not natural. Most sales leaders.
Nigel Green: To your earlier point or plucked out of a top-performing role.
Nigel Green: And there's been a lot of research to show that that's actually not the behavioral characteristics of a good sales leader. So that's the first thing that they are psychologically and behavioral behaviorally incompatible with the role of a sales leader.
Nigel Green: The second factor which is why you and I have jobs.
Nigel Green: The role of frontline sales manager up through executive sales leader Bain and company did a research on this. Of all the dollars that a B2B company invest in sales and training.
Nigel Green: Those roles received the least amount of consulting and coaching dollars invested in the fail the assumption of executives, is that
Nigel Green: Well, Nigel was a great sales rep. So he ought to know how to lead the sales team. Mm-hmm. And so oftentimes I have to do a lot of undoing and an unwinding some bad thinking with the executive team that well we hired this girl who said she knew how to lead a sales teams, you
Nigel Green: Don't know how to do it, or we're just going to go find someone else in what you hired 100 sales reps at told you they knew how to sail, but yet you want me to work with them too. So once we can undo that we realized that
Nigel Green: If you don't have to go far west to find that that the best the elite have a coach you know the best golfers have a swing coach. They have a dietitian, they have
Nigel Green: You know weight training coats. They have a psychology coach and the best executives have coaches to so why wouldn't. Why wouldn't you want the leader of your sales team who represents all your revenue to have a coach?
Nigel Green: But yet so many don't
Wes Schaeffer: I know it boggles my mind, but oh well. When should accompany
Wes Schaeffer: You know, hire from within versus bring in someone from the outside in, to lead a team.
Nigel Green: So, well, that's a very good question and I think, more often than not they companies go to bring in someone from the outside too soon.
Nigel Green: A lot of times I hear well we need, we need a sales leader and they go hire Miss dashboard.
Nigel Green: Someone that is used to sitting in the office running Salesforce reports, because they've got this big VP title, but they don't really understand
Nigel Green: Where the stage at which your company is in. And then you've got the other end of the spectrum where they wait too late, but I think most of the time they go out and hire
Nigel Green: Too soon when they, when they really what they need is just a little bit of coaching and management in the CEO needs to appoint someone on the team to do it for and let it go.
Nigel Green: But there's a, you know, they're always going to be exclusions to that rule where you need to go out and you need to find someone that has the pedigree and season experience of leading teams.
Wes Schaeffer: So are you saying so that they go outside the organization too soon. So are you saying they should just coach up their existing sales management, just to see if they can get them better?
Wes Schaeffer: You're saying in general, that's a better path and trying to look outside too soon.
Nigel Green: I think for a lot of the companies that I work with, and I'll
Nigel Green: State some clarifying or some contextualizing comments that most of the companies that I work with are mid-market. They've got proof of concept. They have a sales team in place and they have a set of customers that have done business with them year over year.
Nigel Green: There is talent on that team that can be trained to be a sales leader faster.
Nigel Green: Than going out to the market and hiring someone that doesn't understand the nuances of your space the nuances of your customer, you will spend a lot of money.
Nigel Green: And you won't see a lot of results quickly and I say that with the caveat that
Nigel Green: You know, one of my biggest successes in the marketplace came when I didn't work in an industry and was plucked out to complete a sales team that I had no experience doing whatsoever. So it can be done.
Nigel Green: But 15 years later. I'll tell you that I see more success when you can find the right person.
Nigel Green: That meets the profile of a sales leader and it's not your top performer. It's usually someone that performs
Nigel Green: You know hits plan or is right below plan year in and year out for four or five years. That turns out to be a really good sales leader that
Nigel Green: That rep. That's just a real quota Buster is not the one you want in that role because they asked for forgiveness, not permission and they leave a lot of messages behind them.
Wes Schaeffer: And a lot of times
Wes Schaeffer: Does that top producer even want that job.
Nigel Green: Oftentimes know it comes with a cut and pay it comes with less autonomy.
Nigel Green: They what they want is respect and recognition. So they take the job because they're ready for the CEO to give them an attaboy then they realize very quickly. It's a mistake and they can't play golf on Friday.
Nigel Green: And they got emails from the CEO on Sunday night saying what's the forecast for the week.
Nigel Green: And then there's a rift in the relationship. And they probably should have just stayed a producer and, you know, made a quarter million bucks a year and not have everybody busting their chops on Sunday.
Wes Schaeffer: So, but that can be kind of a
Wes Schaeffer: That's something to navigate. Right. I have to pull that top performer and say, you know, be honest with me. Right. You don't want the sales management job.
Wes Schaeffer: Tell me the truth, right, because I don't want your feelings hurt. And I want you to make more money and hope you don't mind that I'm bringing the second or third
Wes Schaeffer: Guy and making them the manager right I mean do you should you run it by them just to smooth things over you know make sure everybody's on the same page.
Nigel Green: One of the things I talked about in the book is this notion of a sales Council.
Nigel Green: What this does is it allows the leader to select people regardless of title or position in the org chart to sit at the decision-making table and help her make the most informed decision.
Nigel Green: And it's a great place for a top performer to have access to the executive team and say, You know what, I'm not your manager.
Nigel Green: But I really know what a good manager should do in this role, and I know what our customers want maybe oftentimes better than the manager. So you should listen to me, especially when
Nigel Green: When I need to be heard and so good sales leaders will do that. They'll create this council and it may not even have a manager off, you know, a frontline manager may skip down the chain.
Nigel Green: Two levels and just get the right people in the room to help them make the most informed decision. So they don't do what we've all done, which is make a really dumb management decision that's never going to flop. Yeah.
Nigel Green: Yeah, hire the wrong person. Change the comp plan or do all these bonehead decisions that if we just talked to the people we could have. We could have found the right decision pretty quickly.
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah, we tend to overcomplicate things
Nigel Green: We do, and it's our ego that gets in the way we want everyone to know that we have it all figured out. He
Wes Schaeffer: The older I get, the more I realize
Wes Schaeffer: I don't
Nigel Green: One of my favorite authors is Ryan Holliday and he talks about in his book ego is the enemy that he says as my island of knowledge increases, so does my ocean of ignorance. Yeah.
Wes Schaeffer: Amen.
Wes Schaeffer: Well, man. Where do we send people to learn more about you and get this book?
Nigel Green: You go to the revenueharvest.com so you can get this book anywhere books are sold. But if you go to the revenue harvest calm you will always get it cheaper than where you can get it at Amazon or iTunes.
Nigel Green: So do yourself a favor and go get it there, assign every copy that. So if you go buy it. It's hardcover and paperback. If you go by from the revenue harvest calm. I'll sign it send you a note.
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah so. So, does that include buggies can't get one bug via buggies in Nashville?I
Nigel Green: You know, I don't think you can get it at bikinis and I don't think we have it.
Wes Schaeffer: I mean they sell comic books at Bucky so and you saying where books are sold and don't tell me you don't call comic books, books because has books in the name.
Nigel Green: That's for a separate conversation there West tell you there.
Wes Schaeffer: Are you saying, bless your heart. Is that what you just said basically in different words.
Nigel Green: You're not as slow as you say you will
Wes Schaeffer: Man its wisdom is wisdom with age, right, I'm gonna have this one little glimpse of like being really smart. And then I'm going to peak and then that's it I'm going right back down. So I'm gonna enjoy that moment if I'm getting to it.
Nigel Green: You got it man. Go for
Wes Schaeffer: Very cool. You ever get to Southern California.
Nigel Green: Often, yes I do.
Nigel Green: I love North County, North San Diego County for those that are yeah yeah
Wes Schaeffer: Well, look me up, man. I am I'm looking for excuses to get to Nashville. So I'll let you know. Yeah, come on man, thanks for coming on the show. Have a great day night.