Podcast: Building a Culture of Candid Feedback and Consistency in Sales Leadership

Written by
Yardstick Team
May 3, 2024
A women taking notes on a glass white board.

In this episode of Building Elite Sales Teams, host Lucas Price is joined by Dana Smith, Vice President of Sales at PlanView. Dana shares his insights on developing as a leader and building high-performing sales teams through a culture of unfiltered feedback and disciplined consistency.

Key Takeaways:

  • Create psychological safety for your team to provide candid feedback by modeling vulnerability, focusing on problems rather than people, and engaging in respectful dialogue.
  • Demonstrate consistency as a leader through a regular operating cadence (e.g. weekly 1:1s and deal reviews). This models the discipline required for sales success.
  • Make decisions based on facts and data as much as possible. When you do make the wrong call, openly admit it.
  • Invest in your people starting with a thorough hiring process. But don't hesitate to "stop watering the weeds" and promptly move on from reps who aren't working out.
  • Strive to be a genuine leader who can say "I was wrong" or "I don't know." Collective decision-making informed by your team's input leads to better outcomes.

Dana also shares his career journey from entry-level sales rep to executive leader, and why he believes frontline sales management is the toughest job in any company.

Lucas Price: Welcome back to building elite sales teams. I'm Lucas Price, and I'm here to join you in learning the pillars of building high performing teams from today's top sales leaders and operators feedback. We all know its value, but sometimes it's easier to give it than to receive it. Because of that, it can be risky to give feedback to your supervisor or your skip level bosses.

Many of us don't get that feedback from those who work in our organizations. And our performance suffers because of it. Our guest for today's episode is intentional about building a culture of receiving unfiltered feedback from his team. I'm excited to be joined by Dana Smith, vice president of sales at plan view.

Dana is an accomplished executive with over 20 years of experience, leading global, best in class sales and business development teams, with It tech companies such as InterNAP, E Plus, Glue, and PlanView. Dana began his career in telecommunications as an entry level account executive and has successfully transitioned into leadership [00:01:00] positions within various industries such as data centers, data analytics, and SaaS.

PlanView is a Gartner recognized market leader in portfolio management and value stream management solutions. Dana is passionate about developing future sales leaders. With servant focused, data driven, visionary, and disciplined sales leadership. Dana, thanks for joining us today. What else should our audience know about you?

[00:01:24] Dana Smith: First of all, thanks for having me, Lucas. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and your audience I always tell people I always state that, if you ask, tell me about yourself. I start off the fact that I'm a father first and foremost.

And I say that, not lightly because I have six children between my wife and I, so father, I try to live a healthy lifestyle. And Probably a little work obsessed when I shouldn't be and need to balance that out. But like many of us in sales leadership, I'm looking for that balance.

And so I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to your audience.

[00:01:54] Lucas Price: Yeah, that's great. I'm a father of two as well. It's definitely the, one of the most [00:02:00] important things in my life. I'm a child in a family of six children. And so I have the experience of being on the other end of that, but yeah, that's a That's definitely a big part of anyone's life for sure.

[00:02:11] Dana Smith: You could appreciate the fact that, when you have a family or you have children, you're selling in externally and you have to do some selling at home too,

[00:02:18] Lucas Price: Yeah, for sure. Tell us a little bit about what got you into sales. How'd your career end up taking that direction?

[00:02:25] Dana Smith: You might find this interesting and, I try to make the story interesting, but, when I came out of college, I couldn't really find. A lot of sales positions. So I, my first job was what's called a quality improvement trainer at Xerox. So I had the pleasure of learning about Arthur Deming and quality improvement principles.

So my job was to teach sales professionals this. So I hear I am this young kid teaching these older sales professionals and I'm sitting up there trying to talk to them. About, quality improvement processes and things like that. But I was trying it very actively to try to get into entry level cells with Xerox [00:03:00] and they, they recommended that I go work for a sales agent.

So I switched careers at Xerox and I started managing or a supervisor with a third shift dispatch center. So we took calls from incoming technicians, or excuse me, from customers who needed technicians and we dispatched technicians out there. So I used to do that from 1130 at night to eight in the morning, then I would leave that job and go work for the Xerox sales agent.

And so copiers, so that was my first foray into sales. I thought it was normal to work that many hours, but yeah, that's how I actually got into it. Trying to crack into entry level sales of Xerox, going through an agent. And then from there I moved into telecommunications because that was pretty hot in the early to mid nineties.

[00:03:46] Lucas Price: So a lot of us fell into sales, but it sounds like you knew that you wanted to be in sales and you did what you needed to do to break into it.

[00:03:54] Dana Smith: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I must have been the only eight year old who, when they had to do you know, when it was career day [00:04:00] and I brought in my older brother who was a VP at IBM at the time. And he came in, he talked to the class and my mother was a single parent, so he was a father figure to me.

And so I was the only kid probably from eight years old that didn't want to be an NFL player, didn't want to be a baseball player. I wanted to be either a Xerox salesperson where my other brother worked or an IBM salesperson. Very career motivated even at such a young age.

[00:04:21] Lucas Price: Yeah. And obviously you've had must've had a lot of success in sales because you've moved into sales leadership. Yeah. Where did that drive and determination come from

[00:04:31] Dana Smith: I believe I, I've always possessed that, that work ethic and drive just growing up the way I did where, we weren't very affluent. My father passed away early. So my mother was a single parent trying to raise these kids that very various ages. And it was a challenge for her.

So we never, I never was allowed to sit around the house. I was a paper boy. I had to paper out, handed down to me from my brothers to me. So it was like in our family for many years. Started working in high school, worked [00:05:00] throughout all the college. And so I, I can't remember a time where I haven't worked.

[00:05:04] Lucas Price: Yeah, so you always had that like, all right, this is this is what it takes to make my way and move ahead in this world.

[00:05:11] Dana Smith: Yeah. There wasn't a lot of ice cream money being given out, so we, if you want an ice cream, you better go earn that ice cream by cutting grass. Paper out or something.

[00:05:19] Lucas Price: Yeah. Thanks for sharing that with us. And then. Tell us about the transition from being in sales to being in sales leadership.

[00:05:26] Dana Smith: Sure. It's I'm going to let, I'm going to, I'm going to tell a dirty secret of mine, but I never, my career, I wasn't in sales very long before I went into leadership. I was probably a

sales rep for about a year, telecommunications, knocking on doors, cold calling. In fact, in order to get the job, you had to get a cold call close and it was a company called all net communications.

And there's many graduates of all net communications that are successful throughout the throughout business, it became frontier. Then I think eventually became part of MCI, but back in the day, it was all net communications and it was it was I guess I can say this [00:06:00] because they're no longer around.

It was a brutal, it was a brutal atmosphere. If you did not get a cell within probably a couple of weeks, you were exited out the business. So it was a daily, very transactional sales atmosphere. So if you did that successfully and I did it for successfully almost a year, went to presence club my first year there, they promoted you to sales management.

So I was a very young sales manager. From there, I just continued to try to navigate sales leadership. But I would say the, there wasn't any moment of truth. It was more initially that I don't know how much long I could do this. Cause it was a tough atmosphere.

But by being, by really forming that discipline and those disciplined habits of doing cold calling activity, following up with it doing what we call 50 points of activity a day, making those cold calls in person, as well as in, And on the phone where you're getting constant rejection, if you could successfully do that, then the company's belief was we want to invest in you.

So you can invest in others to train them. So it was [00:07:00] almost a train to trainer type of model for sales leadership.

[00:07:03] Lucas Price: Yeah, and then so you've had a bunch of jobs, telecommunications as we shared but, experienced leadership and, in many different tech related areas, eventually landing at plan view, tell us a little bit about plan view, what you're doing there and, some of the things that plan view does for its customers.

[00:07:21] Dana Smith: Yeah, I've been fortunate to have had some some great mentors. If I could name a few. Randall Thompson, who's a three times CRO had successful exits. Most recently, a gentleman by the name of Dave Frechette, who's a three times CRO, and I've worked for him for the last three employment opportunities.

I found myself at PlanView through an acquisition they made of a company called Clarison, which, and both of us operate in the same field was, which is project management. Strategic project management, portfolio management for companies. And with plan view, we take it a different approach.

There's many point solutions that are out there that can do one thing very [00:08:00] successful, but our ability to scale across an enterprise. And successfully connect a strategy to planning and delivery and therefore successful execution. That's really where we really thrive and separate and extend ourselves from our competitors.

It's that ability to fix that disconnect. Between a great strategy planning, putting the right people on the right projects at the right time, doing delivery of that, doing the execution, which, a lot of that's where that disconnect is and that's where we operate helping to solve for that disconnect so we can improve results.

[00:08:32] Lucas Price: Yeah, that's great. So when we talked last week, one of the things you told me, one of your key pillars for building a high performing team is getting unfiltered feedback from your team and having a culture of, really candid feedback. Can you tell me a little bit about, why that's important and how you've discovered that's important?

[00:08:52] Dana Smith: It's definitely important. It's been, it's been my personal experience that if your team is not communicating with you, what's going wrong. [00:09:00] Or what's going right. It's typically because they believe that you don't care. It does. You don't care or you can't make a difference. And neither one of those are acceptable in a leadership position.

And that's actually an old, I took that from Colin Powell. I've read that probably 10 years ago where oftentimes leaders don't want to hear what's going wrong, but that's in my opinion, that's how we thrive as sales leaders because everyone is different. Everyone's an individual. So if I want to understand how you feel, because if you're not telling me what's on your mind, you're thinking it anyway.

And when people think it and they're not able to communicate it, they don't believe that their opinion matters. It typically results in what I call passive turnover. Their full time job is looking for a job, so you don't have their full attention. And so it's, I've been. I like to use the word successful and getting my team to really give me some very difficult feedback and and, you have to absorb it and when you think about feedback, there's a difference between feedback and [00:10:00] dialogue.

Feedback is typically more formal. You could either reject it, accept it, or pass along. And oftentimes that feedback, whether or not you do one of those three things, depends upon the credibility of the person giving you the feedback. I like to try to engage in dialogue. Dialogue and to me is a conversation around the table.

It requires trust. It requires the ability to be frank in those discussions. It requires the ability to make sure that your dialogue or slash feedback is focused on problems and issues and not people. And when you can successfully do that, you typically can create a high performing team that's built upon trust.

And it's been my experience that the best performing teams. Either at a leadership level or at it with your direct reports is one where there's a lot of trust where people can feel comfortable being vulnerable.

[00:10:46] Lucas Price: How do you start to think about how am I going to build this culture? Where people are going to have enough trust, people that work for me are going to have enough trust that they can give me feedback that they can tell me what's [00:11:00] going on. Because as you said a lot of leaders don't want to know what's gone wrong.

They might have come from, all of us have probably experienced those leaders in the past. And so how are they going to come in and find, okay, Dana's different. Dana's different. Wants to know this stuff. Like how are you going to, provide the safety for them to be able to do that?

[00:11:18] Dana Smith: Yeah, good question. And there's no, no easy answer or canned answer that I think it's all situational. But I'll give you a personal experience on that or personal viewpoint on that. It starts with your own behavior, do you is your behavior? Do you exhibit the behavior of one where people feel that they could be vulnerable with you?

You won't take it to their advantage. It starts with the interview process, giving back constructive. And constructive critiquing of someone on the interview process. So to me, it starts with that day one interviewing. It starts with the type of questions you ask. How do you answer questions?

People know when you're being genuine. People know, they may not share with, share it with you that they think you're, you're full of [00:12:00] whatever. If you're a leader that's for full of a bunch of hyperbole, a bunch of euphemisms and a lot of locker room talk and then you don't hold yourself to the accountable to that standards.

Then why would people believe you when you tell them, Hey, be honest with me. Tell me how you feel. So I, a lot of that starts with your own personal behavior.

[00:12:18] Lucas Price: Yeah, no, I totally agree. I remember reading about the idea and trying this idea out and it really working of Hey, go for, when it comes to being vulnerable, go first as a leader. That really makes a difference. If you're able to be vulnerable.

You're able to share, what your challenges where you feel like you're living up and not living up into, what you can be as a leader and what you're accomplishing for the company, then that provides the space for other people to feel like, oh, yeah, I'm allowed to be vulnerable as well. I also think as a leader and curious to have you respond to this.

One of the things I've experienced is that when I have someone who works for me, who comes in and tells me, all right, these are the problems I'm having. This is [00:13:00] where I need to get better. I feel a lot better about that person than the employee that comes in and tells me, Oh yeah, everything's good.

You don't have to worry about me. I don't need any help. That's the person I'm worried about. Not the person who tells me exactly where they need help.

[00:13:13] Dana Smith: That's exactly right. You nailed it. It's that vulnerability and we associate that with a negative connotation, . Being vulnerable. I felt the same way. These are lessons I've learned. I would probably say, over the last 10 years, my original leadership style, I was a very animated loud coach, beat you down and build you back up.

And. And thought that was the right way to do that. And that's not, you invest in your people much more than that. And I think the other thing that, that I believe the other thing that lends itself to creating a team that actually has that ability to provide unfiltered feedback is having a diversity.

If you have a lot of people on your team, like you, if I had a bunch of competitive athletes. And just all guys, we typically are not going to have a, probably a lot of [00:14:00] open dialogue, or maybe we have a little too much open dialogue, so you don't you tend to take things personal, .

So I've always tried to have a very diverse team, which is diversity, opinion, diversity, and thought and diversity in the way people go about those solution. So to me, when you're recruiting and looking for folks. Diversity in my mind is casting the net out wide to bring in a variety of different people to build that diverse team.

[00:14:24] Lucas Price: Yeah, I love that point, but I want to back up for a second there. Cause there's, I want to dig into one of the things that you said earlier. We were talking about vulnerability, which can feel a little bit touchy feely. And then. Unfiltered feedback is not very touchy feely, right?

That's like very candid and being very honest and holding people accountable and stuff like that. And so it's not. So I just wanted you to hit on that point. It's not all touchy feely. There is like a real like results orientation to this. And like, how do you hold those in balance?

[00:14:53] Dana Smith: It starts with respect. If you're going to deliver some some sharp feedback that's accurate and that's focused [00:15:00] on the issue, not the person. It's not Dana you're doing this. It's hey, I like to play back some of the conversation we had where you made a comment.

And try to better understand where you came from that comment. So when I talk about getting, and I may even use the term getting naked, . Exposing yourself. So it has to be done with a level of respect. No leader is going to have someone come in elite and probably challenge them in an unprofessional way.

In a, in an open forum. So there's a common sense element of this as well. Some of the most, I would say some of the more valuable feedback is feedback and some, and that feedback that I absorb better and that I believe others absorb better is when it's down on one. So I don't recommend in a team atmosphere, you raise your hand and talk about all the issues going on with this solution.

I have to say, if you're going to, if you're going to offer up a problem, offer me up a solution,. So I, that vulnerability doesn't mean that you throw out the window, having a [00:16:00] certain professional decorum when you deliver that unfiltered feedback,

[00:16:04] Lucas Price: yeah, I agree with that. Having that feedback, that really candid, the difficult feedback, I think, is best delivered one on one and, not airing grievances in front of the whole team. I do think that, most of the time you're right about, Hey the feedback is about the issues.

It's not about the person, I, I've heard it in some negotiating terms be hard on the issue. Sometimes it actually, sometimes it is about the person that is still delivered in a respectful way. It's Hey, Dana, my expectations for you are really high.

And you're coming short of what I know you can achieve, . Like sometimes it is a little bit personal. And I think that it shouldn't be that way all the time. And, hopefully. We're hiring people who don't need that type of feedback all the time but sometimes you do need to give that kind of feedback too.

[00:16:47] Dana Smith: yeah, one of, one of the key phrases I use. When I'm engaging a conversation where I want to get to the core of something and understand, tell me what's really going on. I'll use the word help me understand. I'm seeking to understand. So I don't start out [00:17:00] by head on just talking about, Hey and yesterday's meeting, you're very critical of this and this.

Help me understand, I may not start out with, you were very critical. I may say, recap the meeting and say I like to better understand some of your comments and some of the background on that. And so I can figure out how to best address those. So it's a two way conversation. It can't be me sitting in a chair across the room from you, some of the best dialogue and that's hard nowadays.

We're on zoom. You don't know if people are being, in this digital world, you don't know if people are being genuine. I don't know if they're multitasking or reading notes or anything else. Getting that degree of genuineness and the feedback is more difficult in this zoom atmosphere, but as we become more used to this digital lifestyle, it's becoming more comfortable with people saying I'm not, I never see you in a whole year or two years.

So this is how we're going to communicate. So this is the forum. So we're going to do the best we can with this forum. So I think people are becoming more used to, open dialogue [00:18:00] over a zoom call.

[00:18:01] Lucas Price: Dana, when you think about the trying to build a culture around candid feedback and being able to give candid feedback to your supervisors. What are some of the potential air problems that, that sometimes come up that you'd advise people to avoid?

[00:18:15] Dana Smith: I, we touched on a little bit of this making a personal, I would say using a lot of words like I, me, you don't want to make it or you don't want to make it too personal. I also believe in how they, the, how they deliver it. Is it in a professional way?

I'm, no, one's going to take being attacked. I don't care if it's a report or an, or a leader, but we certainly have to have thick skin. But to me, that's just critical. It's just having a having respect. One of the one of the things I always is a mantra of mine is that I may not agree with your opinion, but I'll always will respect it.

And you have to operate from that is the guiding principle. I may not agree with what Lucas is telling me today. But as a fellow sales professional, [00:19:00] I will respect it. I'll respect your opinion, but not necessarily agree to it. And if we could keep that in mind, if we could just keep that in mind, that.

This is that person's opinion. This is that, that, if you can keep that in mind as like one of your beliefs or something you try to hold true to and understand that's their opinion and they respect it, you'll, I think you'll accept it and act on it much differently.

[00:19:22] Lucas Price: Yeah. I like that. I think that some of the other challenges that come to mind for me in this is that it, and I think these things are intention a little bit, like you don't want to have to, the result of this culture to be that we're going to keep relitigating the same issues for years and years.

Like I'm going to always come back to you and. And say, Hey, Dana, you're doing this strategy wrong or that strategy wrong, or we should change this. And you tell me, no, Lucas, this is what we're doing. And then I keep coming and, for years and years, we're always having the same conversation over and over again, I think that's a mistake where you do have to build into it as well.

Like, all right, at some point we're going to make a decision and move on from this decision. [00:20:00] And on the other hand. You could make a decision, you could get new evidence, realize the decision is wrong, and you need to be able to change it, . And that's what, and those two things are in tension, where we don't always want to have the same arguments, relitigating the same issues over and over again, and we do want to be able to change directions and change old decisions when we realize that the world has changed.

[00:20:19] Dana Smith: And, as we learn more about leadership, there's tons of books out there to help people improve. And. There's tons of enablement on this and not everyone, I don't believe you wake up and you're born a leader. I think you do. I believe you develop into a leader. Like one of the things that I'm very intentional in doing, and I've made the mistake several times is that I've said, I think I, that is a pet peeve.

And I always say, I believe who wants to follow a leader that says, I think that's the hill we should take. You want me to follow you up there? No, if you don't believe it, I'm not following you. So what I had a a sales leader a long time ago, tell me that the difference with you, Dana, and he was making a decision on a promotion.

He [00:21:00] said, the way I judged this or the way I was, I really judged whether or not who to go with. He said that if this building was on fire and you told someone follow me, they would go. If that person told them the building was on follow the building was on fire and they said, go this way, everyone would go the opposite way.

And I never forgot that, that analogy, and I thought it was really good. A lot of times you make wrong decisions. And you have to be vulnerable and admit that you make wrong decisions. Oftentimes as sales leaders, we have to make decisions or leaders. You have to make decisions with a limited amount of information.

I don't have a lot of data. I have to make a decision today with the information that's given to me. So that may be more anecdotal based and those are, you may be wrong, but if you are wrong. You have to admit you're wrong. And then, okay, now let's get to more factual based decision. So if your decisions are based on as often as possible, if they're factual based and data driven based, they're more apt not to be challenged, even if the result is not the desired result.

But the [00:22:00] journey that you decided to go on was one that everyone agreed made the most sense. I have this saying, if all you have to bring to me is opinions, then I'm, and no facts, then I'm going to go with my opinion rather than yours. If you can't bring me facts and just opinion, why would I'm going to go with mine, trust my own opinion.

So you try to make as many decisions based on facts. So that people feel comfortable as a team to say, okay, we, let's regroup. We didn't get the desired results. Let's do analysis and see where we went wrong with this hypothesis.

[00:22:29] Lucas Price: Yeah, I agree with all that. I always also tell people, though, maybe you have the same experience as me with this. Maybe you don't. But I always tell people, though, I like when you bring me strong opinions, even strong opinions that I disagree with, because sometimes I don't really know what my opinion is until I hear some other people's strong opinions.

And then I'll be like, Oh, yeah. Or even Oh, no, I don't agree with that. I was 50 50, but when you explained it, I realized, which side of this fence I fall down on. So I think those having strong opinions around me as a leader is really valuable [00:23:00] to me, even when I don't agree with them.

[00:23:01] Dana Smith: Yeah. Yeah. And someone with very strong opinions, that's a window into their personality. This goes back to knowing what your people are thinking. I want to know what's on the mind of my salespeople because I, I don't mean this in a derogatory way, but. How do you get into someone's head?

How do you put yourself in their head to under, and you have to know them and you have to, or how do you know someone, someone by when you talk to them, engage in dialogue and you know something about them so you can better understand their thought process.

[00:23:30] Lucas Price: Tell me a little bit about the importance of discipline and consistency in sales.

[00:23:36] Dana Smith: Yeah. Lucas, you've been a sales leader to me. Frontline sales management is frontline leadership. Period is the toughest job in the world. It's toughest job in a company or one of the toughest jobs. And I believe frontline sales management is the toughest job in the company. And the most successful frontline leaders I know are very, have a disciplined approach to when they have one on [00:24:00] ones when they have dual reviews.

They have an operating cadence that shows consistency. We get pulled in. It's into so many different things by so many different people. We can really feel like stretch Armstrong. But you have to, one of the most important words you could say as a sales leader is no, I don't have a lot of rules, but the few rules I have are non negotiable.

One of those is be on time for meetings. The other one is make my meetings. I don't ask for much of your time. But when I do ask for your time, I want to have that you, I want you to be consistently available. I know things happen. I know people have appointments. I know they have customer face appointments, but if you know that I'm consistent when I have a one on one it's not a surprise that it's Thursday at one.

So why did you set an appointment through there? Or if we have a deal review. And it's on every Tuesday at two o'clock that's in your calendar. So , I have an operating cadence that I pub, I don't, I published in a form that it's in their calendars all the time. They know where their one on ones are.

And so that, that [00:25:00] consistency. Is very important in that operating cadence. Another area where a discipline and consistency is very important is inspection let's boring, it's boring to talk about medic on every single deal, this is my fifth one on one and I'm going through, walk me through who the economic buyer is.

Tell me what the, how'd you identify the pain and why it's important who the competitors are. And so you imagine it's really easy to skip some steps there. I've never served in a military and I really respect the people who do, but the people that are in the battle, the front line, it's the sergeants that are in a foxhole.

It's not generals and colonels and officers, the sergeant, that's the toughest position, that front line, right? So you have to be consistent in your expectations for people in order for them to understand what's necessary to be successful. And when you're not they sense that, they start, you find yourself start changing one on ones a lot.

You find yourself starting to move meetings to accommodate people. And once you start doing that on a consistent basis, It's very hard to [00:26:00] pull back. It's very difficult to pull back.

[00:26:02] Lucas Price: I love that on a bunch of levels. One of them is that, when I've had bosses. That have been very have been inconsistent or canceling one on ones at the last minute. I've hated it You know, I always come to those one on ones with something important and so I don't like it when i've had bosses that are moving it around and so I try to understand that my employees are going to have that same perspective where it's like I it's a resource for them to be able to do that.

And so You know, having that consistency is a really important thing for them. But, and then modeling that consistency, I think like one of the things about sales is that the rewards and sales can be very inconsistent,. Like I'm going to go to work today and I'm going to work all day and I'm not going to close a deal.

But if I keep doing that by the end of the quarter, I might get my three deals or in a different type of sale, I might get my two deals at the end of the year, or whatever it is. And so the rewards and sales are inconsistent, but you have to keep doing the work every day, even the days that you don't get the reward [00:27:00] in order to get the rewards.

And so modeling that consistency as a leader is like showing a salesperson what they need to do in order to get their rewards.

[00:27:07] Dana Smith: I'm not perfect at this by no means. If any of my employees watch this podcast, I hope they don't think I'm saying I'm perfect there. But I would say that I strive to, to achieve that. I make a conscious effort to do that. And what's really interesting is that if you're one on ones or not and I guess I can say this it's, it's 2024.

If you're one on ones are not necessarily a colonoscopy where they're walking in that they think, they're actually looking forward to. I have some of my sales people that well, darn it. I really have a lot. I need to talk to you about today. I want to get your opinion on this. This, and this, your people have to find value in your leadership.

Or if they don't find value in your leadership, then you're just a manager. And, I believe I learned very early on that you manage processes, you lead people, you have to lead people. And that's not a, an A to Z thing. There's a lot of twists and turns leadership takes. And it's not managing [00:28:00] workflows or managing processes or, product development or something leading people is inherently difficult.

[00:28:06] Lucas Price: Yeah, Dana, lots of great stuff in our conversation today to start to wrap us up here. What are a couple of takeaways that you have?

[00:28:14] Dana Smith: I would say number one, invest in your people. And that starts with the hiring process. Sure. You're bringing on the right people with a very fulsome thorough hiring process that involves a lot of eyeballs, because if you hire the wrong people, today's world we have sales enablement, elongated sales cycle.

So it takes about a year to figure out whether or not someone. Can do the job when I came up in sales, you just went through sales training, spend, and that was it,. Making sure that you invest in your people. I would say number two is that, and this is another thing I advocate. Don't water your weeds folks.

And when I say don't water your weeds, when you've identified someone that's not going to be able to be successful, do them a favor as well as yourself and make a decision very quickly. So don't water those weeds. I would say third on [00:29:00] this is is be a very genuine leader. There's nothing wrong with saying you're wrong.

There's nothing wrong with saying, I don't know, because if you really solicit a lot of input from a lot of your teammates and you make it a collective decision with, they feel comfortable, give me that feedback, you'll make far better decisions. And then I would say lastly as I, I'll quote one of my former CROs, Randall Thompson. You can't change your people,

[00:29:23] Lucas Price: That's some great information. I really enjoyed our conversation. I have some great takeaways from our conversation as well today. Really like the emphasis on people have to learn to become great managers.

You can help them develop that emotional intelligence.

[00:29:36] Dana Smith: great leaders, not managers.

[00:29:38] Lucas Price: That's right. And then the importance of the consistency and having that operating cadence, demonstrating that consistency to your salespeople and, being there as a resource for them, expecting that type of consistency from them as well.

So those are some of my takeaways from today's conversation, Dana, where can people find you online?

[00:29:56] Dana Smith: Please look me up on my LinkedIn. I have a lot of connections. I value every [00:30:00] connection. This is a digital world where, this is typically, this is how we're going to meet people through connections. I value forums like this. So I really appreciate you having me as a guest on your podcast, Lucas.

And I wish you and your listeners and viewers all the best.

[00:30:14] Lucas Price: All right. Yeah. Thanks for joining us and to our listeners. If you enjoyed. This episode of building elite sales teams, please leave us a five star review in your podcast app, and you can find more of our content online at yardstick. team. If you have any feedback for us, you can connect with me on LinkedIn.

Thank you for joining us.

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