Simple fact: All organizations want to grow. But it takes people — a company’s number one asset — to really make that happen.

High-performing teams are the game changer. Unfortunately, very few organizations take a step back and look at how to build them. Focusing on market growth is one thing; discovering and delivering amazing performance from employees across the board is quite another. Here are a few clear-cut ways to help both your sales team and your company achieve the high performance and growth we all want to achieve.

The vision for an organization starts at the top. At Salesforce, we use the V2MOM methodology to help create a vision and the plans that will make it real. V2MOM stands for “vision, values, methods, obstacles, and measures,” and everyone at Salesforce is encouraged to write his or her own V2MOM plan.  

At the beginning of each year I organize a sales team kickoff. I make sure to include not only my direct employees but all essential supporting personnel, as well. This is when we collectively define our version of the corporate vision, one that aligns to and supports the company’s overall business goals. We ask ourselves several questions:

  1. What do we want people to think and how do we want people to feel when they see our team in operation?

  2. What are our growth levers and what will make us successful?

  3. What values do we want to live and be recognized by?

  4. How will we hold ourselves accountable?

Getting everyone together to brainstorm is incredibly important. The core goal is to answer the question “What would ‘awesome’ look like?” By working as a group, every member of the team has a voice and stake in this vision and our values. Everyone is passionate about our goals because they had a role in creating them— and will have a role in making them happen.

The vision can also create a sense of healthy competition. We might want to be the fastest-growing team globally. The way we do this and accomplish it will shine through — it could be through our fantastic collaboration or innovative approaches with customers. We want to build this reputation, and nothing is better than providing a sales team with a competition.

Remember, everyone should know his or her role and how it helps to execute on the team-built vision. Set clear expectations for what needs to be achieved, and who is accountable for what (and why).

In a high-performing team, the status quo is never enough; you always have to strive for more. Most employees feel much more “alive” when they are developing and progressing in their careers. Create a learning environment by challenging them to step outside of their comfort zones. You can make this happen in a number of different ways as you build a high-performing team. Pose simple questions such as "What else could you try?" or "If you were asked to stretch to 15% of this number or increase your output by another 10%, what would need to happen or what support would you need?"

Make sure your team feels challenged, both individually and collectively. You can have a great vision, but you also need to reach for the stars — in a realistic way. If employees feel overwhelmed, they’ll never perform to that “next-level” capability. You can’t just dump a challenge on someone and leave. Ensure that coaching is a fundamental part of your culture. Employees need support during their development, and when that support exists you have a true team environment.

High-performance teams truly understand the value of collaboration. We know that when individuals collaborate, they can improve performance and be more efficient. Together you can become much more efficient by reducing the amount of individual effort. Peer collaboration is great because it feeds the experience and expertise of individuals to the larger group.  

Individual and team success are definitely intertwined. As an individual you can hit your number, but if it’s to the detriment and expense of other people, this isn't OK.

Celebrating individual and collective success is critical. An important trait within highly performant teams is the ability of colleagues to truly celebrate with their peers in times of success, even if they themselves aren't experiencing individual success. If you aren’t focused on building a high-performance team, the following scenario is pretty common and inevitable. As individuals join an organization with the best intentions, a huge amount of energy, and the desire to give so much to the company, they may work very hard and do well, but don’t quite make their goals. Or they narrowly lose the top spot to other colleagues who are successful, but take shortcuts that will affect the customer in the long run, exclude core team members from the sales cycle, or even close deals not strictly within their territory.

After seeing this type of behavior, the energy of the new employees begins to fade and they consider engaging in the same “bad behavior” as their co-workers. After all, it appears to be quicker and easier and doesn't seem to have an impact on those individuals’ career progressions. Here’s where you begin to lose the goodwill, focus, and collaboration so important to your team’s success. Don’t reward bad behavior. Instead, ensure that performance is not just rated on metrics. It’s not just what you do; it’s how you do it.

I’ve had to place “high-performing” employees on coaching plans because their actions were disruptive to our customers, the business, or the team. By coaching and supporting an employee to use better tactics, the entire team can be more successful. At the end of the day, we all want to look and see a top team that’s changing the game, and then say, “This is what success looks like.”

In a high-performing team, the status quo is never enough; you always have to strive for more.”

Damilola Erinle | Area Vice President, UK and Ireland, Salesforce (Formerly)
 
 
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