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Some of you may be reading this title, having the reaction, “They work for me, they are responsible for producing the results I expect!” It’s pretty much the “command and control” point of view too many managers still embrace.

Too much data points to this being entirely ineffective in leading and developing our people. Plummeting employee engagement data (not just limited to sales), increasing voluntary attrition, terrible employee sat scores (too many organization are afraid to even measure this), and declining revenue/quota performance.

We need to treat our people just like we treat our customers…….

The thought just struck me, maybe we are? Maybe because we treat our people just like we treat our customers is a reason why our sales results are so bad and our voluntary attrition is so high.

We know we are supposed to be customer centric, focusing on things that are important to our customers. Yet we struggle in doing this, focusing instead on what’s important to us.

As managers, perhaps we are guilty of doing the same. We focus on what we need, what’s important to us and not what’s important to our people.

We’re focused on getting the reports we want, accurate forecasts, getting the activity levels we think are important, telling them what we think they should be doing.

What would happen if we started focusing, instead, on them? What if we understood what their problems are, what is standing in the way of their success, and how we can help them achieve their goals and dreams?

What if we started coaching more effectively, rather than telling them what to do or expecting them to report to us, we engaged them differently, more collaboratively in helping them achieve their goals?

When you step back a moment to reflect. The principles of great sales management are very much aligned with the principles of great insight driven, solutions focused, consultative selling. By focusing on our people, helping them solve their problems and achieve their goals, we managers will achieve ours.

Reflect a moment longer. Perhaps the example we set by putting our people first will enable our people to become more customer centric in their own approaches.

There’s an interesting ripple effect (actually supported by a lot of research). How we treat/hold our employees is very closely aligned with how we treat/hold our customers. Organizations with bad employee satisfaction/engagement have bad customer satisfaction/engagement.

Perhaps the trick to being truly customer focused starts simply with being truly employee focused.