Is there a gap between your intentions for your sales team and their performance?
I’m guessing you feel that way at least sometimes. It’s a frustration we hear a lot.
Sales leaders continually seek solutions for so-so sales performance in new marketing materials, developing new sales scripts, improving team motivation, implementing the latest thought leadership and best practices to improve sales, among other solutions, but they come up short. They get beat by their competition month after month, and it’s incredibly disheartening.
They just might be chasing the wrong solution.
Over decades of conversations with sales leaders, I have found that the cause of much of their problems is how they are communicating within their own organizations. In other words, internal communication is lacking.
I’m not alone in this assertion. Renowned sales coach Jack Daly devotes a whole section in his program that explains ways to communicate better with your sales team that will improve their performance.
The main issue is this: Your sales team needs to internalize your message, not just be able to repeat it or give it cheap lip service.
To internalize it, they must deeply understand and feel it. So, if you are not translating that message effectively, you’ll never be able to achieve the goals you set for the sales team. You’ll just constantly spin your wheels and grasp for straws: the next new marketing solution, the next team building technique, the next piece of new advice that you hope will improve your numbers.
Stop the madness.
Companies with internalized messages are communicating effectively and have these 5 things in common:
1. The company strategy is well-known and integrated into the daily routine.
Every member of the sales team understands exactly what the company is working to achieve and how it plans to get there. That’s essential because the sales team is at the front lines of the effort to reach that goal. If they don’t win, no one does.
Winning teams have studied the company's strategic plan and have individual quarterly and annual goals that tie into the company’s key initiatives. The sales team embraces the plan enthusiastically, thus the commitment to participating in driving new sales.
Messaging is purposefully delivered, encouraging, and repeated often and in various formats to capture and inspire as many employees as possible. The content is engaging and useful, and its impact is tracked to measure the effect.
2. The team is aligned with company culture and values.
Culture is at the heart of what a sales team does, and successful teams exhibit behavior consistent with their company’s clearly-defined culture. The team and its leaders have a common way to explain lessons and share successes. Good work is acknowledged and celebrated among the team, not selfishly guarded by individuals. The team has learned to embrace an “abundance” mindset.
3. Leadership is engaged in each salesperson's success.
Success starts at the top and then moves its way down. Instead of observing from a distance, leadership teams in winning organizations are deeply engaged with the sales staff. Leadership is involved in regular sales coaching and will do what is necessary to make sure their team is successful -- even accompanying them on field visits if necessary. Company and individual metrics are regularly shared and discussed, and success and failure are learned from rather than forgotten. Leadership celebrates strong performance.
4. Communication between sales and management is regular and robust.
Beyond sales coaching, leadership also gets regular time with sales team members for discussion, questions, and feedback. These interactions allow for deep two-way communication and encourage better information sharing. Metrics allow everyone to be on the same page. They also allow issues to be quickly identified and solved. As a result, individual and team performance grows and improves.
To that end, sales meetings are efficient, effective, and practiced. They don’t waste time or create bad practices. The facilitator starts and ends the meetings on time and follows a clear agenda. In the end, there are actionable takeaways and measurable follow through to track progress.
5. The sales team is continually training and learning from other's success.
Great sales teams don’t allow their members to work in isolation.
Best practices are absorbed and integrated into training and culture, starting at onboarding. The sales team has a process to ensure marketing materials are used properly and thoroughly.
How you communicate with your sales team impacts how they perform. When you’re ready to get help in this arena, give us a call.
Sales management expert Duane Cashin has lead award-winning sales organizations and trained sales teams for companies of all sizes. He’s earned membership in Presidents Club and Circle of Excellence, successfully built and sold his own multi-million-dollar business, and enjoys sharing his passion for sales.