Your HiPos Need Help! Give it to Them

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The Sales Warrior Within | Season 2 Episode 39 – Your HiPos Need Help! Give it to Them

Andy Olen is a Sales & Leadership Trainer and High-Performance Coach. Andy works with talented salespeople, business teams, and leaders who seek empowerment, improvement, and insight. Andy’s clients strive to be the best in class.

“Good Selling, Good Leading, Good Living.” – Andy Olen

Your HiPos Need Help! Give it to Them

  • HiPo = High Potential Talent
  • Andy shares his thoughts on helping High Potential salespeople accelerate UP the learning curve as they jump into new roles.
  • Frequently, organizations promote and assume. They promote HiPo talent and assume the talent has all the skills and capabilities to be productive and successful on Day 1. That’s not the case.
  • Newly promoted HiPo salespeople need help climbing the learning curve and being successful. If they feel isolated or unsuccessful early in their new role, they may look for a return trip to their old territory, or worse… they’ll exit the organization.
  • Invest in your HiPos before promotion and as they climb the new learning curve.
  • Andy encourages organizations to build infrastructure to help newly promoted salespeople excel or partner with trainers like Andy to help build a high-potential program.

Link to Andy Olen’s website
Link to Andy’s Online Courses




February 21, 2023
Andy Olen

| 00:02 | There’s a sales warrior within each of us. My name is Andy Olen, and I’m here to help you discover and empower the Sales Warrior Within. Sales warriors, this is Andy Olen hope all of you are doing well. Thank you to so many of you who are checking in on how things are going with my 75-hard challenge. Again, this is a challenge that I started on January 2nd. No, it wasn’t a new year’s resolution, but it’s sort of just happened to start around that time.
| 00:32 | I thought it was a good time to kick it off and with the 75 hard challenge is it’s a set of rules and set of activities that you’d have to do every day for 75 days in a row. If you miss one, then you gotta start back over at day one. So here are the rules. Drink a gallon of water every day. Check. I’m about 50 days in, have made it through gallon of water every day. Read ten pages of nonfiction every day. Check on that one as well. And I’ve read some really good negotiating books, some sales books.
| 01:03 | I read a prospect theme book by Jeb Blount. I read a sales price, increased book by Jeb Blount that I really liked. I’m working on a really good negotiating book now that I’ll probably do a separate podcast on. It really aligns nicely with yes, if philosophies and trainings that I do. So I’ve had a good time reading a bunch of business books that I’m starting to spin and turn into business trainings as well with some of the ideas and concepts I’m actually grabbing a book here off my bookshelf pre suasion was another book by Robert Cialdini.
| 01:35 | You might know Cialdini from the 7 forces of influence, very helpful sales books, pre suasion is all about how you start to persuade people right from the get-go, even before you’re into your sales pitch or negotiation, how you start to pre suede and what you do in those early moments really sets you up nicely for high impact later on. So back to 75 hard challenge, 90 minutes of exercise a day, 45 minutes has to be outdoors.
| 02:07 | And that’s been fun because that’s been a good challenge in Wisconsin’s winter. Thankfully, we’ve had a pretty mild winter thus far, not knock on wood. And it’s not been too bad. I do about 30 minutes of running a day and about 15 minutes of dog walking and when I’m on the road, thankfully I’ve been in Arizona this year. I’ve been in California once or twice. I’ve been in Texas and that makes it a heck of a lot easier to get out there and be in a little bit nicer weather to get the outdoor stuff done as well.
| 02:38 | And then no alcohol. So it’s been, I guess, a dry 50 days so far. No problem with that. That’s not something I miss, actually probably feel a little bit better. And also and finally stick to a diet. So I’ve usually done like the lower carb higher protein or fat diet. I’ve done a little bit of a modification on that. And I’ve really cut sugars out, no desserts, no snacking, and so put it all together. Yeah, 50 days in, pretty good.
| 03:07 | It’s becoming habit, and I think that’s the whole goal. And I really enjoy doing it. What I’m most interested in now is what the heck to do once the 75 days is over. Do you do another 75? Do you modify? Certainly don’t want to go back to old habits. So I’ll keep you updated on that. And thank you so many for asking about how it’s going. It’s going quite well. And I encourage you to give it a shot if it’s something that you want to do to build mental toughness. And some new habits as well.
| 03:35 | Well, speaking of mental toughness and new habits, I wanted to take on the topic du jour in terms of our sales warrior community. You know, I think there’s some unfair things out there for salespeople that I want to address today. A couple of unfair things come top of mind. And I think it’s a couple of assumptions that people make about salespeople and especially and maybe very acutely salespeople who are really good at what they do.
| 04:03 | They’re up and coming stars in their business. And they’re getting ready for potentially taking on a sales management position or taking on a people leadership position. So they’re being thought of and all of those talent management meetings at the HR folks have with the senior salespeople and sales leaders that scopes out, hey, you know, Andy, he could be a sales manager someday. He’s doing well in his territory. He is showing a strong aptitude. And let’s promote him.
| 04:31 | And here’s the unfair thing that happens to so many promoted salespeople. They go from individual contributor to sales manager, but team, you know, and sales warriors out there. I see this also in senior sales leaders too, that some of these unfair things happen. And let me tell you what they are. Once promoted or once you’re seen as top talent, it’s automatically assumed that you, the salesperson, the high potential salesperson, the newly promoted sales leader, is really good at business finance.
| 05:07 | For example, that you’re really good at negotiating, for example, that you’re really good at setting goals and building strategies and building account plans that you’re really good at that. That you’re really good at managing people, that you’re really good at hiring, that you’re really good at hitting your numbers and forecasting that you’re going to keep delivering the same above plan performance or above quota performance that you have delivered as a highly successful individual contributor salesperson, you’re now going to take that excellence and perform exactly the same, if not better, with all these skills with all these competencies at the next level.
| 05:50 | And that is ruthlessly unfair to really good salespeople. And it’s probably, and I’d have to study this. I’m going to use my, I’m going to use my belief here. It’s probably one of the biggest things that drives down new, higher retention or new promotion retention.
| 06:08 | So if a salesperson is promoted to manager, and if that manager is dissatisfied with her or his role in job, isn’t enjoying it, wishes they were back out there as a salesperson, wishes maybe to join another team, another company in depart, I think one of the reasons that drives people to that is that it is just assumed that their masters of all of these different business skills and they have these skills locked down. And that they can perform at a high level on all these different things.
| 06:39 | And the reality is there’s a learning curve there. They need attention. They need help with those things. They need to be taught most likely the financial acumen that a sales manager needs. They need to be taught how to structure a really good goal set for the year, the quarter, how to build strategy. You know, it’s a strategy is one of those words. It’s like, you know, if people laugh and joke around at that hope is a strategy. Well, we all know hope is not a strategy.
| 07:08 | But when I listen to really accomplish salespeople, talk about what their strategy is, it usually sounds like a goal or my strategy is to become number one. Well, that’s a great goal. What are you going to do? What’s the blueprint for success? How are you going to create value for your customers and what resources do you need to do that? Because in what I just described there, that’s strategy. But if you’re never taught that, if no one’s taking you under their wing to teach you that.
| 07:36 | So if you don’t have the right mentorship, it can be really, really difficult, especially in that first three months, 6 months, 12 months of being a newly promoted sales manager. And it’s a time where the business expects big things of you, and by the business, I mean, the people that promoted you. You expect big things as well. You’re excited. You run into that job, ready to go, fired up, and all of a sudden, so many high flying, really strong salespeople hit this wall.
| 08:06 | And the unfortunate part is it’s just assumed by many around you that you already have all these management and business skills locked up when the reality is, you need more help with them. You need more training. You need more mentorship and guidance and coaching. You need safe places to go to to talk to people about what does this mean again? How does this impact my thought process? Why should I think about hiring this external person versus promoting an internal person?
| 08:36 | And all of these things are sitting out there. And a lot of a lot of sales people are a lot of leaders, business leaders will react to what I just said. Well, say, hey, that’s why there’s a sales director there, or there’s a leader there who promoted that person. And that senior more senior person is just going to coach and guide that person. Well, I hope that’s the case. I hope that the person who promotes you builds a coaching plan for you where they sit down and they teach you how to do these things.
| 09:05 | Ideally, they would have even taught you through example and inclusion before they promoted you, but I hope that they’ve worked with you to teach you and they continue to work with you and create a safe environment for you to be able to ask questions and to show some vulnerability that maybe you don’t have all the answers all the time and you need some help. The worst situation that really can lead to dissatisfaction, lack of engagement from that newly promoted manager or that new even worse at newly promoted manager wanting to go back to her or his old sales job is when they feel isolated when they feel alone and nobody’s helping them learn.
| 09:44 | And all of a sudden and they know this that at some point they’re going to be in a boardroom meeting, they’re going to be asked to persuade the CEO or who knows a very, very senior business leader. And persuade them on why they’re forecast is right or wrong. And if they don’t have the fundamental practice or skills to issue a thoughtful forecast, both mathematically sort of build it up and think through it. And also to communicate it effectively, that could be a really difficult moment.
| 10:15 | And there’s a lot of fear for salespeople to go into that moment feeling ill prepared. And so it’s interesting. I share this with you because if you’re a hiring manager and you’re going to hire and promote sales talent, really, if you’re going to promote any talent, don’t assume just because they’ve been a great individual contributor that they have all the skills to perform at the highest level at the next level.
| 10:40 | Make sure that either you or your organization has the infrastructure and support apparatus in place to really help out this talented newly promoted leader as she or he climbs that critical learning curve, give them the skills, give them the perspective. Most importantly, give them the time that you dedicate to helping them find and create excellence and really within that to build the confidence that they can get up in front of any group, any situation, and be able to navigate that successfully.
| 11:16 | It takes some hard skill development like business acumen and financial acumen for salespeople or business people. It takes an understanding of what cross functional partners do. So what do the lawyers do? What are the finance colleagues do? What is the marketing team do? So they can successfully partner cross functionally. It takes time and effort to teach them how to build a proper set of goals, how to think about strategy, how to build account plans if that’s a part of the sales culture that you have, which it would be for most companies.
| 11:48 | And also in that very, very vital world of performance management, of coaching, of hiring of maybe firing. They need help with that. And there are two ways to deploy that help. One is that you have within the walls of your organization, the infrastructure to do that. You have the mentoring, the coaching, you have the development programs, you have the models to do that and they work. Second is to outsource some of that. And to complement your internal programs as well.
| 12:18 | And that’s where I find myself, I like to think adding a lot of value for companies is that I’m doing more and more leadership development programs. Some of them are two days. Some of them are 12 months long with training on an ongoing basis. And I’ve seen a lot of different high performers get promoted into leadership roles and be more confident as they step into it. There’s always going to be a learning curve, but you don’t want it to be horribly steep.
| 12:50 | You want to round that out a little bit so that the trek up that learning curve and the summit at the end of that learning curve are at the top of that learning curve is achievable, that they can get up to the top without being out of breath or without injury. You want them to get up, it’s going to be hard, but you want them to get up there successfully. So as you think about things like performance management, as you think about things like forecasting, financial acumen, as you think about critical thinking skills, as you think about cross functional team management and relationship building across the enterprise.
| 13:26 | As you think about enterprise level thinking, which you expect from your sales leaders, how are you either as a sales professional yourself developing that for yourself or how is your organization deploying that critical infrastructure to help out these Uber talented people that are really the future leaders of that organization and that enterprise? And if there’s any way I can help, I’d be happy to.
| 13:50 | And it’s really fun to see really talented people develop, learn new skills, and jump into promotion, sales management, sales leadership roles, feeling a heck of a lot more confident and ready to go because they have the foundations. Nobody assumed that they just knew it and we’re going to figure it out on their own. They were supported. They were guided. They were empowered with the skills. And that’s really, really critical. So if you’re again a high high flying salesperson, ensure that you have the skills when it’s your turn to get promoted.
| 14:23 | And make sure that you find those skills, you develop those skills, you work on those skills, or that your company helps you with that. And if you’re an HR leader or a sales leader, does your organization have that critical infrastructure to help your top talent succeed when they answer the call for promotion when they answer the call to take on more responsibility? We want more people wanting to move up in the organization. And all the goodness that that creates, we want people to succeed when they move up as well.
| 14:53 | So either build that infrastructure within your organization, give that support, don’t just assume that high flyers and high potential folks know how to do it, ensure that you teach them and you spend the time and you invest in them. It’s one of the best investments you can make to help those rising stars feel confident and feel more productive earlier in their promotion. And I think that gives a lot of loyalty back as well that they’re going to be very loyal to the organization and to the cause as well.
| 15:23 | Always happy to talk about these topics. You can probably sense the passion that I have for leadership development, opportunities. If you want to learn more about my leadership development opportunities, I would be happy to share these with you. . You can always reach out and contact me, or look at my web page, , and there’s a whole page dedicated to leadership development there as well.
| 15:46 | Invest in your people and never assume that they have all the skills to make them great at the next level, but if you give them a little bit of help and guidance, they’re going to rise to the moment and everyone’s going to win as a result of that. Team, it’s always great to share thoughts insights and passion with you on The Sales Warrior Within podcasts. I look forward to talking with you real soon. In the meantime, and as always, my name is Andy Olen. Thanks for listening in. Good selling. Good leading and good living.