The Mystery of Human Behavior of Sales Champions & Sales Teams Decoding

If you've been in sales for a while as a Sales Professional, Sales Manager or Sales Executive, you probably know how complicated it can be to manage or be part of a team. You know it's about applying good sales methodologies and having the necessary skills to find, engage and develop more customers. But there is more, namely behavior and drivers.

Deciphering the dynamics of human behavior that leads to Champions League level can feel like unraveling a mystery. But theories from famous thinkers such as Maslow, Graves, and Beck have provided valuable insights for understanding this complex conundrum. A practical application of these theories is McClelland' s Iceberg Model which has been cleverly translated into a practical application by MyDrivesMyHabits, a Dutch company. And which we, as Sales Leadership Academy, have embraced for targeted deployment to get sales professional, sales managers & executives their teams to 'Champions Team' level.

The image below of the Iceberg Model, depicts human behavior of sales professionals and sales managers, among others, in an easy-to-understand way. The part that is above the water and visible to everyone symbolizes our behavior that others see, influenced by our environment and how others around us behave. But below the waterline is a larger, unseen part that represents our inner drives or motivations that guide our actions. The waterline, like a cultural filter, further shapes behavior as it emerges.

The Colors of Our Inner (Sales) Drives

How did Graves make tangible our motivations and, with them, gestured behavioral preferences under certain conditions? The ingenious aspect of Graves' model is how it assigns different colors to these motivations, with each color indicating a unique type of drive:
  • Purple reflects a "Tradition" focused drive. Such people value team unity and respect group traditions.
  • Red indicates a 'Decisive' focused drive. 'Red' driven sales managers tend to take initiative, make decisions quickly, and push for team performance.
  • Blue is symbolic of a 'Structure' oriented drive. People with 'Blue' characteristics prefer to adhere to procedures and maintain high ethical standards of behavior.
  • Orange indicates a 'Purpose' focused drive. 'Orange' driven sales managers are competitive, adapt quickly to market changes, and relentlessly strive for success.
  • Green reflects a 'Harmonic' drive. Individuals with 'Green' tendencies foster harmony, promote shared decision-making, and empathize with their team members.
  • Yellow indicates an 'Innovative' focused drive. 'Yellow' driven sales managers embrace change, like to think and act out-of-the-box, and view situations from a broad perspective.
  • Turquoise represents a 'holistically' focused drive. 'Turquoise' driven sales leaders consider the broader impact of their sales strategies on all stakeholders, 'and beyond.'

"And yes, it looks something like DISC, MBTI and Discovery Insights, for example, but is fundamentally different.

It goes much deeper, can predict more and is more practical to use in situations such as, for example: 'recruiting, ramping-up the new hires, individual- and sales team development, and coaching of Sales Champions & Sales Leaders'."

Colliding Colors and Harmonious Shades of Drives and Behavior

An appreciation of these colors and what they represent can be a powerful tool in deciphering the dynamics within a sales team. For example, an 'orange' driven sales manager who sets ambitious goals may cause unrest with a 'green' oriented team member who prefers consensus. The assertive decisions of a 'red' driven sales manager may clash with the broader, more holistic perspective of a 'turquoise' oriented team member.

But these contrasting viewpoints need not only lead to tension. By acknowledging these differences, conflicts can be navigated, managed, and even transformed into opportunities for growth. The 'orange' driven sales manager might present ambitious goals in a way that also promotes team spirit, in line with the values of the 'green' oriented team member. Similarly, the 'red' driven sales manager might include broader perspectives in decision making to satisfy the 'turquoise' oriented team member.

The Iceberg Model in Action 'To Get & Develop Sales Champions'

There are some additional scenarios in which the Iceberg model can be used:

Hire new Sales Managers or Sales Professionals with 'Sales Champions Potential'

Understanding MyDrivesMyHabits' Iceberg Model can be a powerful asset during the hiring process. By identifying the ideal behaviors and drives that fit the role and team culture, you can better select candidates. For example, if you need someone for a high-pressure sales environment that requires quick decision-making, candidates with strong "red" or "orange" drives may excel. On the other hand, if you need someone who can maintain harmony within a diverse team, candidates with strong 'green' or 'turquoise' tendencies may be ideal. And how important is it that drives align with those of their 'commanding officer' and the sales team? But more on that in future articles and LinkedIn posts....

'Ramping-Up' of the 'New Hires'

The Iceberg Model can accelerate the onboarding process, allowing "new hires" to contribute to the bottom line faster. When you understand a new employee's core drivers, you can tailor the onboarding process to their values and motivations. A 'yellow' or 'turquoise' driven sales professional, who values complexity and holistic thinking, might benefit from an extended onboarding period that covers all facets of the business. On the other hand, an 'orange' driven individual might prefer a more direct, results-oriented onboarding process focused on goals and strategies. In line with the previous topic, more on that in subsequent articles and LinkedIn posts....

Sales Development Programs

When it comes to sales development programs, a "one-size-fits-all" approach is far from optimal. By taking into account each individual's drives, you can create a personalized development plan that capitalizes on their strengths and works on their weaknesses. For example, a salesperson with a strong "orange" drive might benefit from programs that strengthen their competitive spirit and performance focus. On the other hand, a salesperson with a strong "green" drive might thrive in programs that emphasize team building and scoring together. The Sales Leadership Academy can easily provide these programs at the postgraduate level and in an international context, but this is sadly different at many sales education and training institutions.

Coaching (potential) Sales Champions and Sales Leaders.

Effective coaching goes beyond developing skills, it also takes into account the underlying drivers of behavior. For example, if you're coaching a sales manager with a strong 'blue' drive, focusing on creating efficient systems and procedures might resonate with them. If you're working with a sales professional with a "red" drive, coaching might be about managing their assertiveness and quick decision-making in a way that aligns with the team's goals. It is also helpful in determining which form of coaching best suits the individual, such as: motivational coaching, solution-focused coaching, provocative coaching or perhaps Acceptance and Commitment Training. How and when can you best use these? Again, more on this in subsequent articles and LinkedIn posts....

Staying Ahead of the Competition

By understanding and responding to the core drivers of your sales team, combined with the right sales methodologies and skills, tailored to your specific situation, you create the optimal environment. An environment that maximizes the potential of each individual and team to higher productivity and performance. This harmonious and optimized environment can be the difference between meeting and exceeding goals and giving you the edge over competitors, who may not use such deep behavioral insights.

More than 'Jung-based' behavioral analysis

Unlike behavioral tests such as DISC, MBTI, or Insights Discovery, MyDrivesMyHabits and Graves-based Iceberg Model goes deeper and reveals the motivations behind our behavior. These insights are a real gold mine for sales professionals, sales managers and executives who want to excel. With an understanding of their own drives and those of their team, they can maximize their strengths, reduce their weaknesses, and create a harmonious and productive work environment in line with the sales methodologies, skill set, market conditions and aspirations in place.
So, immerse yourself in the vibrant world of drives and behaviors. Let it lead you to an enriched understanding of the dynamics within your a sales team, and discover new avenues for unprecedented success in your Sales Journey to 'Champions Level' or in life in general. Unleash the power of the Iceberg Model today!

Wondering what 2 of your colors are that at least play a role in your behavior?

 Complete the free mini scan here.

But realize, this is just a very small piece of your Iceberg and there is much more below that waterline.