The Power of ‘Know Your Personnel’ for MSPs
As a college football coach, Bo Schembechler notched an incredible record of 234–65–8. So, when he spoke about coaching, people listened. One of my favorite Bo Schembechler quotes is, “Deep down, your players must know you care about them. This is the most important thing. I could never get away with what I do if the players feel I didn’t care for them. They know, in the long run, I’m in their corner.”
What Michigan’s Schembechler is describing is a concept that’s especially popular in the NFL: “Know Your Personnel” (KYP). Truly knowing your personnel is the only path to showing your team you care the way Schembechler does, but it also comes with many other benefits.
Consider this: The average football team has about six receivers, all of whom have a similar skill set. They’re quick and nimble, and they have great hands. But a coach needs to determine who gets suited up to get on the field each week. A receiver who’s quick enough to avoid one team’s weak defense might not be the best fit for next week’s explosive opposing lineup.
Think about this from your perspective. Your sales team is made up of people with similar skill sets, but they’re all slightly different. When it comes to their styles, strengths, weaknesses and preferences, your sales pros can reach the same goals by following their own unique paths.
This makes each of them better fits in different situations. For example, a salesperson who thrives on face-to-face communication is a better fit to send to the upcoming MSP conference than your salesperson who prefers working on the phone.
That decision may look like a simple one, but it requires one important insight from you first: Your personnel’s personalities.
Knowing your personnel requires you to proactively engage people. To help get you started:
- Talk to your people. Like at the NFL Combine, the week-long showcase where college football players showcase their talents, observation can give you plenty of information on how your personnel perform.
- Find potential for growth. Anyone can grow out of their weaknesses, but there must be desire and the capacity to do so.
- Be flexible. As leaders, we instinctively want to do everything ourselves, but we must push that desire aside so we can entrust our team to act on their expertise.
- Prioritize self-discovery. To close the cycle, you must learn your own strengths and weaknesses so you may become the best contributor possible. Don’t go about this alone — ask your peers for feedback on your performance.
- Learn more about yourself. Even if you are in a leadership position, you have a role play. You need to learn your own strengths and weaknesses and put yourself in the right spot to be the most effective contributor possible. To do that, you need to reflect on your performance and talk to your peers about what they see in your work.
When you see 11 players on the football field moving in sync, it’s a direct result of KYP. That same synchronization can take place in business as well. To make that happen, we first need to know our personnel, and then we need to trust them to accomplish the goal we set the best way they can.
Brad Stoller is working to change how MSPs look at their sales processes. He authors articles, provides video instruction for MSP sales tips, and holds sales-related webinars to help MSP owners, managers and sales personnel. As the national director of business development at The PT Services Group, Brad has interviewed hundreds of MSP owners to develop a new way of focusing on quality, first-time appointments and sustainable, exponential growth. Follow @BradStoller on Twitter or on LinkedIn.