Is a team greater than the sum of its parts and does it even matter?
It’s not unusual for a sales team to rely on a couple of star performer to achieve its target. The company’s happy, the super sales stars are earning their bonuses and if the underachievers are lacking drive and ambition, well that’s just how it is. As long as the targets are hit, it ain’t broke so don’t fix it. Training can wait until tomorrow, because today, it’s not a priority.
So now it’s tomorrow and one of your stars is moving on, your market’s being disrupted by a new player and your key product has been edged out by a competitor’s better technology and design. In any ‘wait until tomorrow’ scenario, any of these factors will put you at risk if you don’t have a consistent sales process. You’ll find it difficult to minimise the damage to your competitive edge and suddenly your targets won’t be so easy to hit. So, how do you introduce a consistent sales process and get the whole team performing to mitigate these risks?
The simple and obvious answer is training. The whole team needs to know exactly what’s expected of them and how to deliver it. They must be trained to use a consistent and successful sales method based on your actual sales results.
In any team, whether it’s sales, sporting, creative, research or rescue, the key to success is consistent known behaviour, leading to the achievement of a shared goal. Introducing a defined sales process when your experienced sales people are already getting the results you want can be awkward. It’s tempting and much easier to let them do their own thing, but it’s a short term, high risk strategy.
When you’re identifying your sales process get your sales team involved. Deconstruct how your star performers achieve their results. Give them to opportunity to show leadership and mentor your under-achievers. Introducing a sales process they recognise and understand, will demonstrate the value of training for the whole team.
Training is the key to successful team work and even the most seasoned professional needs to hone their individual skills, keep up-to-date with market changes and be free of bad habits to be fully effective.
Regular communication to explain why, as well as what the company goals are, will motivate the team. They will understand the importance of their contribution to the success of the business, if they know why they’re being asked to achieve targets and what those targets mean to the company.
A great team knows the rules, knows what they’re aiming for and trains hard to put in a winning performance. Preparation, analysis, commitment and a culture of trust and camaraderie all create a positive culture. Working in a supportive environment will contribute to increased performance and the team will achieve greater results than each individual could manage on their own. A great team has no weak link or star performer, it has a mix of skills, experience and recognises how different assets create a winning environment.
In the vibrant, competitive, usually extrovert environment of a sales team, there will always be differences in ability and personality clashes, but measuring sales performances and rewarding and recognising achievements, will start to illuminate the value of consistent work practices. A balanced team that allows each person to focus on individual goals and leverage their strengths, will ensure any weaknesses will quickly be covered by someone else.
In other words, a well-run team is always greater than the sum of its parts. And yes, you have arrived when your sales team work as a confident unit using a consistent process to achieve your sales targets and increase your growth and profit.
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