In my experience there are 7 principles that underpin a successful high performing sales team. They are often missing when I start to work with an underperforming sales team and my mission is ensure they are firmly in place by the end of my training programmes. I'm going to give you an overview of each one today then dive deeper into each one in later blogs.

Sales organizations are built on rules: both internal rules and adherence to their customers' rules. Obeying these rules is good -- and has made many companies successful over the years. But when is it right to bend, or break, the rules?

Psychologists have been arguing for years about the interaction between nature and nurture and the importance of these twin factors on your ability to achieve (or not) in your life. They will probably be arguing for many, many more. In my experience, as a motivational speaker and author, there is no easy answer to this question...

So what's the easiest way to evaluate (and train and improve) your inside sales reps? Just ask Phil Emery. He'll tell you, "it's all on tape..."

Today as you face a day of cold calling or prospecting, I hope that you, too, remember the crucial lesson I learned all those years ago. That no matter how discouraged you get when cold calling or prospecting, never give up - because the very next phone call you make can change your day, or your career.

Try this powerful technique during your next interview. You will be amazed by how well it works. Simply give them an objection, then sit back, listen and observe.

The best way for you as a business owner to manage your sales manager is to make sure they monitor, grade and coach their reps through the sales cycle and offer specific, effective sales skills and techniques for their reps to improve. And the best way for you to manage this is to add a section to your dashboard called "script grading adherence percentages." Remember, until you know how your sales team is performing during the sale, you won't be able to effectively change the other metrics that measure their performance after the sale.

And finally, make sure you measure (and reward) the actions that drive sales. Remember, it's how your sales reps handle the brush offs and smokescreens and stalls that determine how successful (and empowered) they are more than how much time they spend on the phone.

How do you propose to increase your leadership efforts during this weak economy and challenging sales environment? Remember your team will learn by your example and to coin a phrase: "monkey see, monkey do".