Conversation with Jon Dartt - VP Sales, Delta Faucet
In our continuing quest to learn how Sales Leaders are shaping their sales cultures, I had the opportunity to interview Jon Dartt who has been VP of Sales at Delta Faucet since 2011. And what a powerful discussion it was!
A well-respected Building Industry veteran, I gave Jon a list of 10 Ingredients of a High-Performance Sales Culture, and asked him to select the top 3. Here is what he said:
#1 is PEOPLE. It is critical to have the right people on the bus and in the proper seats. Talent provides us with a competitive advantage. We seek people with a diverse set of experiences, knowledge, industry background, and solid values. Because we operate in a global economy it is more important now than ever to have people join our team who provide provocative thinking and different viewpoints.
#2 is having a GROWTH PLAYBOOK as that ensures focus on how we are going to execute in each of our businesses. Our playbook keeps us laser focused. Within our playbook, each salesperson is responsible for developing and executing on three strategic growth initiatives that they work on throughout the year.
#3 is METRICS & SCORECARDS. All sales associates are responsible for managing their KPI’s on a weekly basis and these KPIs are published and shared broadly. They also review their KPIs with their managers on a monthly basis. If they are not on plan YTD, the associate is required to complete what we call an RCCM, or a Root Cause Counter Measure, to help change the trend. Each month we also conduct a thorough review of the company’s top 13 customers in order to stay on top of current trends and annual forecast.
I then asked Jon: It is said that organizations don’t change or transform. Only People can change. As VP of Sales, what have you done to shape the mindset of your sales managers in creating a high-performance sales culture?
Jon: 3 things – Collaboration and teamwork is first. While we reward individual performance, more important is team performance. This includes everyone on the team whether it be our customer facing associates or those behind the scene. The second mindset is Self-Development. We want our people to improve from where they are today, and especially if they have aspirations toward middle and senior management. We help them develop plans for improvement and then provide the resources for that to happen. Finally, we are driven by Accountability and Ownership. We want our managers to own their business within their markets. This ensures accountability and commitment.
Carlos: Studies have shown that the best sales organizations have “rituals.” Rituals are practices or behaviors that occur repeatedly to the point that they become habits. These are things that happen throughout the week, month or year. What are the rituals that exist in your sales organization that is part of ‘how you do things’ at Delta Faucet?
Jon: We don’t use the word ‘ritual’ as such, but if I understand the term, it reflects those things we do consistently. And since 2009, we have been very disciplined about completing monthly sales and financial reviews. It gives everyone visibility on where the business is and helps everyone understand and determine what needs to happen to narrow the gap and continue to mature and get better.
Carlos: Many leaders suggest that Values are the most important elements of sales leadership, that values are the major source of continuity and consistency in a sales force. You already shared that Collaboration and Accountability are core values. Are there others that come to mind for you?
Jon: Entrepreneurial – I believe that salespeople need to be entrepreneurial in developing their customers and in how they see and search for opportunities in their markets. I also encourage that they Challenge the status quo. We are a 65-year-old company, with policies, programs and procedures that have been in place for years. I want them to challenge current thinking as that is how we get better. And along with that, is the value of Continuous improvement as how we continually improve our processes helps take us to a higher level.
Carlos: Culture is a term that many of us are challenged to describe. Culture is primarily about behaviors. What do you believe are the most important behaviors in building a high- performance sales culture?
Jon: Being ethical in everything we do and ensuring that Delta Faucet is considered the most trusted organization to work with is critically important to us. We have honest and candid conversations with our team, our customers and suppliers and we believe that has been instrumental in the retention of our associates, the loyalty of our customers and the commitment of our suppliers.
Carlos: It appears that you have been a student of Sales Culture. What challenges have you experienced in building your Sales Culture?
Jon: We are part of a large public organization with high visibility and as a result there is a need to meet expectations on a quarterly basis. We do struggle at times with that, but we also need to look at the business on a 3-year basis and what trends may be shaping. We want our team to think about the business longer term. As shared earlier, we meet with all of our sales associates on a monthly basis and many on a daily basis. In addition to our 90 salespeople, we also have 300 manufacturer’s reps who represent us. We do employee engagement surveys to gauge the team’s thinking. We also have a council for our manufacturer’s reps that allows us to get honest feedback and enables us to be agile and flexible with the market and what our people are telling us.
Carlos: Thank you, Jon, for your insights and perspective on Culture. We believe that sales culture must be managed with intent as you appear to be. In our opinion, having a High- Performance Sales Culture is inspiring and it is the hardest thing for a competitor to copy. Thank you.