Thursday, May 17, 2007

Who Would You Rather As A Salesman - Maverick or Goose?

David Kurlan at Understanding the Sales Force has an excellent post on mavericks in your sales team.

If you recall some earlier posts here and here, one maverick I managed taught me more about selling than the hundred others.

David's ideas on managing the maverick work:

I would want the maverick to know that as long as he performs and behaves he can do his thing. As soon as the performance fails to meet the expectations, he'll have to fall into line like everyone else. I would also want to make sure that he isn't around the office when the other salespeople are there. I wouldn't want him at meetings or group events.

I would add a couple of other points:

  • Mavericks love a challeng and love to challenge. They will challenge every boundary and push others to do the same. Its the others that you need to watch. Mavericks can make members of the support (operations, finance, HR etc) team uncomfortable.
  • You need to communicate clearly to the rest of the team that the maverick has the license because of their results and not the reverse. They need to be aware of that while its not the 007 licence, you still need to earn it all the same. They must also clearly understand the circumstances in which it gets revoked.
  • You need to watch them like a hawk. Strangely, no matter how black and white your polices on pricing, fulfillment and service might be - they still manage to discern avalable shades of grey.

Mavericks are good. They're our internal entrepreneurs and they can pioneer new markets, channels and drive the business further. But sometimes every silver lining has a cloud.

Maverick or Goose - are you a risk taker?

Jason Wenn