Get Your Sales Team Humming

Humming?  Just functioning would be a  good start, right? 

Well actually, we need a functioning AND a humming sales team.  And yes it is absolutely possible to have a team that is positive, optimistic and proactive during COVID-19 and well into the recession, and it takes a solid leader to make it happen…

 

Here’s how:

 

ONE: Address the elephant in the room

Fear, uncertainty, doubt or resistance to change needs to be named.  It shows up through inertia, poor time management, lack of activity, consistent failure to achieve results, refusal to implement tools that will help…so pay attention to the behaviour as well as their speech patterns.  Naming and discussing these feelings/beliefs directly starts to diminish their impact and opens up the opportunity to introduce a more empowering perspective.

 

TWO: Help your team to reframe beliefs that no longer serve them

Once the belief, behaviour or thought has been tabled, invite the team member to state how this belief system is getting in their way of doing what they must to generate results and be effective.  Ask them to write down the limiting belief on paper so that it’s out of their heads and in front of you both so that metaphorically, you can now start to tackle this together.  Ask them to now write a reframe that offers a perspective that is empowering, energising and resourceful.

 

For example:

LB: If people are going to continue to work from home, how am I supposed to meet with them even after restrictions are lifted?  I used to go to their office but I can’t exactly meet them at their home.  Not sure how the business thinks I’m supposed to hit my targets if I can’t even sell in person.

RF: With so many people continuing to work from home, I can use Webex to full advantage by enabling us both to still have a face to face sales meeting.  In fact, I can probably meet with more people like this than I could with all of the travel time involved with face to face appointments.  If I met with 1 more person a day via webex, I’ll be able to hit my targets in no time.

 

THRE: Create a culture of celebration, creativity and action

Task your teams’ reticular activating systems to look for specific examples of success, their impacts and value delivered to the business and to the customer.  This sets the team’s focus to go looking for positive examples to bring back to the team, and in so doing, sets them up for implementation that will deliver better outcomes.  Celebrate at team level, celebrate at individual level and reinforce this culture in ways that are meaningful to the individual: recognition, a card to the person, a small gift delivered to their home.  Highlight uses of initiative and proactivity.  Reinforce the resulting value.

 

FOUR: Establish and reinforce team and one on one meetings across a range of platforms, and including business and social focuses

Team meetings can focus on performance, direction, targets, coaching and updates.  A standard, regular platform for delivering this will reinforce the business nature of this meeting.  Using alternative platforms for a mid-week coffee catch up or a Friday dress up drinks on Zoom or Teams distinguishes the focus between work and social.  Same goes for one on one meetings.  Having a clear delineation between work and social matters in a time where working from home (WFH) is the new norm.

 

FIVE: Scaffold their approach with skills for the new world

If we want our teams to perform in a world where they can’t visit prospects and customers just yet, we need to scaffold their sales toolkits with new skills.  Help them develop proficiency in new ways of working such as phone prospecting, video based selling and processes/techniques to uncover/grow/present value to customers in a world where budgets are tighter and there may be less businesses to sell in to.  Playing the numbers game in a world of reduced numbers can lead to discounting which is a race to the bottom.  Teaching your team to communicate well at a more highly skilled level will matter.  In fact, it could be the difference between client retention and leakage, the difference between profit and loss and the difference between keeping people or laying them off. 

 

SIX: Identify and anchor models of excellence across the team

Everyone has something they do well that is kind of unique to them.  Discover what it is for each team member, the value it brings to the team/your business and your customers and start to highlight them.  Encourage members in your team to reach out to these people when they need a model of excellence in that area.  For example, one sales person may be the best question constructor that uncovers more opportunity with less questions, while another might be the rapport building king or queen.  Others might be admin gurus or software wizz’s.  Everyone matters.

 

SEVEN: Reset KPI’s to measure behaviours as well as outcomes

What are you measuring right now?  Is it the number of prospecting calls made a day or the % of prospecting calls that result in a scheduled appointment?

Are you measuring the quality of questions to the % of opportunities that increase revenue or generate new sales? 

Are you measuring the % of webex conversations with existing vs new opportunities?

You may want to drive a new behaviour which might be prospecting calls, so measuring quantity may be a good move, but be careful.  Just because someone is saying they’re making the numbers, doesn’t necessarily mean they are: are there really that many customers not answering??  If it’s about % conversion from call to meeting, that will drive the number AND the quality.  Think about what you’re measuring because it may unintentionally be driving a behaviour that won’t lead you closer to your goal.

 

Support that team by going there first.  Be vigilant and disciplined about the way you show up to them: listen, hold the space, demonstrate your own reframes and highlight their positive impacts.  Be the change you want to see in them.  That’s not a meme, it’s all too real.

 

 

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