Mike is a Commercial Training and Development Leader. No matter what his current role has been over the years, he has always considered himself responsible for finding ways to improve sales performance. He loves doing sales transformation work.
How did you get into sales training?
I was a sales rep who outsold the rest of my office – the combined revenue from four other reps – and was promoted to manager (classic mistake, right?). Through a constant focus on training and a few operational and process changes, we crushed our office quota that year. Company leaders asked if I could help others achieve the same results. I said yes. Go figure. Twenty four or so years later, here we are. Still trying to get it right. ;-).
What role do you think social learning plays in getting salespeople up to speed?
Before I answer this, let me clarify that I’ve also been responsible for technical training, leadership development, and other training over a long career in the profession. High-level, complex, professional B2B selling is a different animal, and my remarks here are confined to that sort of selling.
Social learning isn’t anything new… a lot of learning happens “socially” and informally on the job, and has for years. The current state of quotas missed and pipelines clogged with deals that will never close, are evidence of the dangers of an undirected approach to learning how to sell effectively. I can cite times where the only people who were asking for help and sharing ideas in social communities, were the lower-middle and poor performers. That’s a dangerous situation when the blind leads the blind.
However, on the flip side, if you use top-producing sales mentors and sales managers wisely, create vehicles to capture and disseminate best practices, use communities to share what works, engage experts in your social learning, and moderate content to the degree that you know the recommendations will help reps get real-world results, it can be a spectacular win for everyone. Like with most things, execution rules. Social learning should be part of and support an effective learning system.
What are some of your hobbies?
I spend way too much time on the Internet, researching things that interest me. I talk with a lot of sales/training/enablement industry practitioners, write as much as I can, and speak at conferences or do webinars whenever possible. I still read a large number of books each year. Other than that, I’m working on getting healthier (it’s a process), hang with my family, tickle the little hairs on my Dachshund’s feet to annoy him, and occasionally binge on Netflix.
What are three of your favorite blogs on sales training and enablement?
Seriously? Gah. I share content from over 160 sources on a regular basis and I have a ton of friends in the space. Here are a few with an apology to the 150+ I don’t mention.
- If Dave Stein writes it, I read it.
- I don’t miss many of Dave Brock’s posts.
- Sales Benchmark Index is a goldmine.
- ZS Associates
- Tony Hughes pumps out great content regularly.
- I worked at Richardson and they’re a still a go-to source for me.
- ATD’s Sales Enablement Community puts out a great blog now with solid guest posters from the space.
Mike also gave us some great insights that are included in our recent white paper: “How a Knowledge Management System Empowers Your Sales Team.”
This post is part of a series of profiles on some of our favorite social business, knowledge management, employee engagement, sales & marketing, and customer support experts.