Having coached and consulted with ISO owners for eighteen years, I have seen behind the curtain in small to medium-sized sales organizations in the payments industry. Most ISOs have aggressive goals for their organizations:
- increasing their monthly deal count,
- retaining their existing merchant base,
- growing and training their direct sales force
- building their referral partner channel
- attracting and keeping productive sales agents
They focus hard on achieving these goals month to month and quarter to quarter.
However, the biggest challenge for each of these organizations is this: growing leaders within their group and empowering these leaders to move the organization forward. The developing ISOs, PayFacs, and Fintechs I work with are entrepreneurial organizations. They typically are led by a core group of two to five individuals who are driving the organization. Most of the time these leaders are also the team that is executing the entrepreneurial sales plan. As with most small organizations, each individual wears several hats.
Often one or two persons in the leadership group are the top salespeople or deal closers for the organization. And unless those persons can identify and develop leaders and replace themselves in that role, she/he/they will not move the organization to its critical goals of:
- growing its sales acumen beyond the core group and
- freeing its top people to direct the organization, not manage deals day-to-day.
What leadership is
A leader is organized, answerable for developing and achieving goals, and does what needs to be done with the tools at hand. The unofficial mantra of the US Marine Corps is “improvise, adapt, overcome.” This is the mindset of a leader. We never have enough resources, enough time, or enough great team members to make our goals happen easily. We have to step up to the challenge every day and take responsibility for hitting the target.
Sometimes this means working long hours. Often it means digging deep to come up with the funding to get the tools you need. In every case it means to sacrifice.
Identify and develop leaders
Leaders emerge. Leaders are put into challenging situations and take charge. Watch your team in different situations and look for the qualities of leadership. It’s always easier to train someone with latent leadership qualities than to try to make a leader out of someone who just isn’t stepping up.
All managers have to be trained on how to lead – and how to develop other leaders.
Training and empowering leaders
A small number of every group will have the qualities we are looking for: initiative, insight, taking responsibility, moving the team forward, and achieving the objective.
At Field Guide, we have an outstanding program for leadership training. This program is proven to work. If you see your organization in the gap between where you are and where you need to be, you might want to talk with us about leadership training.