7 Things Sales Managers Can Learn from Leicester City

7 Things Sales Managers Can Learn from Leicester City

Leicester City winning the league is now a true story!

As sales managers, we can tell this story to inspire and help our teams believe in the “art of the possible”.

The leadership team at Leicester have achieved a once in a lifetime feat. Here are 7 things I think we, as sales leaders, can learn from them.

1. Have a vision. Dream big

Leicester's manager, Claudio Ranieri, believed from the start. Why else would he have insisted on a £5m bonus for winning the Premier League when he joined…?!

What is your sales team's equivalent of winning the Premier League? A big sales goal and incentive will give your team something to unite around and work towards together.

You must get everyone to believe the goal will be achieved, and the biggest believer must be you.

2. Recognise and appreciate your team

Great leaders appreciate. If we show appreciation, our sales team will respond with more of the same.

For every clean sheet, Ranieri gave his players pizza. Sometimes the little things mean a lot.

I also thought it a lovely touch mid-way through the season when Leicester's chairman bought all the supporters a beer and a doughnut to celebrate his birthday. With the fan's support, Leicester went on to win the league. No wonder Jamie Vardy is still having a party!

3. Be of character

I find Raineri to be incredibly humble. Temperate. A nice guy, a man of character.  Many times his team was on the wrong end of a decision. Did he complain or give it the big 'I am' on match of the day? No. He kept his cool and repeated his respect for the referee.

As sales managers we can learn from this. Nice guys can win and if you are a principled leader, a role model of good character, your sales team will trust and follow your lead.

4. Empower your sales team with data

Statistically, Leicester suffered the fewest injuries and scored more counter attack goals than anyone else. No fluke, this was down to methods and training advised by the leadership team of sports scientists, medical and coaching teams.

Their secret however was to not beat the players over the head with the data, but create a culture where they wanted it. Where they needed it, to help them hit their goals. They would then understand why they needed to drink beetroot juice, wear GPS vests and have the ice baths. 

Do you give your sales team they “why and not just the “what”? If not, they may not understand how you’re trying to help them to achieve their goal.

5. Focus on the team

The definition of teamwork is achieving more together than we can do alone. I have never seen better teamwork than Leicester City in my life.  Journeymen under-rated players who together became an unstoppable force.

This is especially hard for sales managers. Sales people are often motivated by money and individual success. Like footballers! The key is to unite them as a team to achieve shared goals.

Ranieri's players are proof that our greatest, most memorable and fun achievements come from achieving big things together. By working interdependently, not independently.

Is your sales team truly trying to achieve something big, together?

6. Focus on the process not the outcome

Raineri didn't entertain discussions about winning the title with his players or the media until the last few games.

One game at a time. Focus on the process, not the outcome.

It's also the best approach with our sales team. Don't let them worry about that big scary annual quota. One deal at a time and they will get there.

7. Get the right people on the bus

Leicester City have an incredible scouting system which has produced star players like Jamie Vardy and Riyadh Mahrez and these signings have undoubtedly contributed to their success this season.

As a manager, the talent you work with will have the biggest influence on your own success, no question.

You cannot be a great sales manager without great sales people and improving your recruitment is the easiest way to improve productivity by more than 25%.

I hope the story of Leicester has inspired you just as much as it has inspired me!

I can't help you act on all of these points, but I can help you to get the right sales people 'on the bus.'

If you would like me to help you improve your scouting system please get in touch ... call me on 0161 438 1930 or email mark.neilan@finlayjames.co.uk

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Photo credit - Pal2iyawit / Shutterstock.com