Top sales experts from across the U.S. participated in a recent Sales Leadership Summit the Center for Professional Sales at the Naveen Jindal School of Management tailored to industry professionals looking to move into sales leadership roles. Dr. Howard Dover, director of the center, hosted and emceed the daylong event, which featured keynote speakers, workshops, executive briefings and a panel discussion.
“This is the first time we have done a multi-speaker event of this magnitude,” Dover said. “Dallas is the fifth-largest sales city in the country. This event was important to show that top speakers will come to Dallas to engage with our sales leaders. It further shows that when top speakers come to DFW, sales leaders will invest their time coming to learn.”
More than 100 people — primarily sales professionals — attended the summit in the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center. Programs were keyed to frontline sales managers, sales directors and salespeople looking to move into sales leadership roles. Topics included coaching, recruiting, inclusion, building successful sales teams and creating a winning sales culture. “Creating an Inclusive Sales Organization,” specifically adding more women to sales teams, was the subject of a talk from Lori Richardson, president of WOMEN Sales Pros.
“We used to go to conferences where all of the speakers were male,” Richardson said. “About five years ago, I realized that there are still many male-majority sales teams. Bringing more people into the fold who are not like you isn’t enough if you don’t socialize them. It’s about feeling welcomed and included.”
Following up on her comments, Dover said there is a need for individuals in sales management to understand the reasons for the low number of women in sales. “We have some, but not enough,” he said. “In the collegiate space, we will tell you that women are the top performers.”
Elay Cohen, CEO and co-founder of SalesHood, spoke on the topic of developing a winning sales culture. He has written two books on the topic.
“What we did as a company is to really invest in our people,” he said. “Making sure each employee has the same message about the company, or messaging alignment, is important. You should also have a coaching culture, metrics in place to identify things that top performers do to win, and celebrate the wins.”
Members of the audience took the stage to assist bestselling author Jill Konrath with her skit illustrating the reasons some potential clients may not be returning a salesperson’s telephone calls in a timely manner, or at all.
“Potential clients are overwhelmed at work, and they need salespeople to do something fundamentally different,” she said. “The way we’re working isn’t working anymore.”
Dover conducted a Q&A with Greg Lewis, the managing director of strategic sales and marketing at Texas Capital Bank and a member of both Dover’s industry advisory board and the Jindal School’s advisory council, on the topic of recruiting. Using baseball analogies to illustrate his points, Lewis said that, when it comes to building his bench, he believes in looking ahead.
“I meet with a lot of people, and some may not be ready to be hired for a couple of years,” he said. “You need to create your own sampling pool. Start anticipating now, and think about who you’re going to hire in the future.”
“Banking is becoming an old industry, and our customers are changing. We have to bridge that gap, and that’s why we work with UT Dallas and others. We’re looking for people to take over those relationships.”
Other keynote speakers were Jason Jordan, partner, Vantage Point Performance; Dr. Leff Bonney, associate professor, Florida State University; Angela Chapoy, merchandising director, Lennox International; Rob Jeppsen, founder and CEO, Xvoyant; Dr. Stacey Schetzsle, associate professor of marketing, University of Tampa; Scott Weinhold, messaging expert consultant; Jim Dickie, co-founder and independent research fellow, CSO Insights.
“I think we all came away from the summit with an understanding that sales management requires planning and strategy,” Dover said.
— Glenda Vosburgh