Create clear structure
To build a cohesive sales team, sales expert Colleen Francis advises, “Eliminate ambiguity.” She continues, “Within your sales team, ensure everyone is clear about their sales territory and about how they are being paid. Sales teams can quickly become dysfunctional when staff are expected to perform well while dealing with unanswered questions (e.g., ‘Is that my lead or yours?’ and ‘Do I get paid for this service I’m providing?’). Fill in the gray areas. Create well-defined territory agreements and compensation agreements.” Any confusion here may result in duplicate work or the bystander effect, whereby team members are confused about whose responsibility it is to address problems when they arise and all do nothing.
An unambiguous task structure minimizes chaos as team members can focus on their own projects while striving to achieve shared goals. Furthermore, this eliminates the risk that your sales reps may step on each other’s toes, which can create animosity and tension in an otherwise cooperative environment. With a clear organizational structure, your colleagues also develop a better understanding of how work is done and how their contributions make a larger impact.
Salesforce content and SEO manager Stuart Leung suggests, “Internal communication, when operating effectively, increases company coordination, drive, trust, and employee engagement and motivation.” Indeed, there is often an increase in employee happiness and team productivity when there are more opportunities for coworkers to connect and improve their working relationships. Though many of these interactions may be of the watercooler variety, some may turn into unexpected brainstorming sessions for fresh ideas to cut costs and generate more revenue. The more team members chat with each other, the more natural it may feel for everyone to share their successes, which can further motivate the team, and setbacks, which create opportunities for people to share and receive constructive feedback.
There are two additional benefits of communications, according to Leung: “Everyone involved in a project knows the common goal and it brings the ‘big-picture’ visions held by management into the minds of employees in every department. And, considering that companies with effective communication practices enjoy 47 per cent higher total returns for shareholders compared with the firms that are the least effective at communicating, improved internal communication is a goal that every organization should pursue.”
For the risk averse, improving internal communications not only helps sales teams boost their bottom line, but it also allows companies to avoid the negative consequences of poor internal communications. Leung states that the cost of bad internal communications is staggering. “According to an SMB communications study, poor internal communications cost businesses $26,041 per employee per year in lost efficiency.”
Hire salespeople with complementary skills
A surefire way to create conflict and guarantee redundancy is to hire two people with the same skillset. Many times, this leads to unnecessary overlap, too. To create that well-oiled machine with staff that consistently work together, instead of in competition with one another, sales director Brian Cuttica recommends that companies “maximize skillsets.”
Cuttica explains, “If every member of the team had the same set of skills, the team wouldn’t be as effective. Take advantage of the strengths of each team member and allow them to become an expert in that area. Whether it ranges from cold call master to financial guru, or closer extraordinaire, let each person shine. [Break] out the individual specialists and then allow those people to lead the charge on that category. This tactic lets team members excel in their roles and add the ultimate value.”
This, of course, works best when you have a clear team structure. Within your organizational chart, you may even notice a few critical skill gaps that can influence upcoming hiring plans.
Brian Cuttica’s 5 Tips to Make Your Sales Team a Results Machine
- Maximize Skillsets
- Take advantage of the strengths of each team member
- Allow them to become an expert in that area
- Let team members excel in their roles and add the ultimate value
- Divide and conquer task lists to maximize efficiency and overall results
- Establish accountability for each task to empower team members
- Ensure accountability with a weekly sales stand-up for small teams
- Encourage your salespeople to ask for help when they need it
- Let them go beyond their designated area of expertise based on their capabilities
- Manage Follow Up
- Enforce that every part of the sales cycle requires some form of follow up
- Make reliability of utmost importance
- Practice Adaptability
- Avoid a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to sales
- Pay attention to different purchase journeys and behaviors
- Be flexible, trust your instincts, and try new approaches