This week I was in New Delhi, India working with the sales leadership team at Microsoft’s inside sales digital center. The team was eager to learn new skills, and frankly surprised me with all the sales methodologies, books, podcasts, etc. that they consume on the regular basis. But what caught my attention most was their upfront transparent view on sales training, and its ability to enhance sellers’ careers (knowing full well that some sellers then become a flight risk).

Are you strong & bold enough as a leader to recognize you’re helping people move up AND out of your organization?

Two quotes that have stuck with me over the last few years (I’m paraphrasing):

1. John Chambers – ex. CEO and Executive Chairman, Cisco: “It’s less of a risk to the business if my sales professionals becoming digital and leave, then doing nothing and stay.”

2. Justin Shriber – VP, LinkedIn Sales and Marketing Solutions: “My responsibility as a leader is to make people better when they leave to organization then when they came in.”

These are bold, yet strong leadership statements. I can’t tell you how many weak leaders I’ve met over the years that would shy away from these type of conversations.

They would be the first people to say to me, “I’m afraid that by giving my salespeople these skills, they’re more attractive to our competitors.”

Guess what—these are the same leaders I see change jobs 6 months later.

Stop kidding yourselves! The average Northern American & Western European sales professional will keep their job for only 2.5 years, and have 11 job changes in their career.

The days of getting hired at IBM at 21, and retiring with a gold watch at 60 are over. We’re in the era of increasing the yield and throughput of your sellers while you have them on your mission to the moon.

In fact, astronauts are a great analogy. On almost every mission into space, the crew changed.

Do you think NASA would say, “I’m not going to fully invest in these astronauts’ development for this mission because all they’ll do is leave and become Sputniks or commercial airline pilots after?” That’s obviously flawed logic.

My advice to sales leaders today is: while you have this team, maximize it. Maximize it to not only drive revenue potential, but also think about a secondary benefit… future recruiting.

Top talent knows top talent. If you create a great environment for learning & development, more talent will be attracted to your team.


Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

Leave a Reply

Login First!

Related Blogs

Mar 18, 2020 8:00 am
Critical First Step: Leadership Communication Plan

When sales enablement, marketing or sales leadership decide to roll out a skills and competency-based training program, they often overlook a critical first step. They will typically reverse-engineer time periods where sellers are best suited for learning, such as the summer months, down times between quarters, or in preparation for Q4. They execute training programs … Continue reading “Critical First Step: Leadership Communication Plan”

Mar 10, 2020 8:00 am
Mission 100%: Learning Is The Ultimate Leading Indicator To Success

It’s interesting that as you grow and evolve in business, you see in hindsight mistakes in the way you communicated the value proposition of your product or service. And I confess that I made a giant mistake in the way I boasted about our certification process. Let me first explain the process, then the mistake … Continue reading “Mission 100%: Learning Is The Ultimate Leading Indicator To Success”

Mar 3, 2020 8:00 am
Leadership Training Has Gone From: Nice To Have, To Absolutely Critical

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to a podcast. It was talking to sales leaders, discussing how leadership development has moved into a critical state. In most companies, too many sales leaders are new to their role – and fresh to management. The company has spent a lot of time, money, and energy … Continue reading “Leadership Training Has Gone From: Nice To Have, To Absolutely Critical”

Feb 25, 2020 8:00 am
Post-Sales Kickoff Prospecting Slump? Now What?

We’re approaching the end of sales kickoff season. Companies have brought their sales teams together, and have started planning new go-to-market strategies. They’ve added new product features, benefits, and new territory plans to their sales bags. With the best companies (unfortunately, most companies don’t do this enough), there is a new skills-based learning deployed at … Continue reading “Post-Sales Kickoff Prospecting Slump? Now What?”