Putting an Under-performing Sales Team is in the Spotlight
A couple of years ago, I was facilitating a sales meeting with a new client. With a history of mediocre sales performance, the sales team was complacent and had worked its way into a multi-year sales slump.
Early in our sales improvement process, the sales manager mentioned that in years past, she had a manager who made all of his sales reps answer the “help me/hurt me” question at the end of each month. In other words, the sales rep was required to announce to the rest of the sales team whether their individual performance “helped” or “hurt” the success of the team/company that particular month. (Fun, huh?)
The manager's approach was poor, but his intent was correct. He was trying to create visibility and critical dialogue around sales strategy, activity, and performance. His ultimate goal was to create traction, momentum and consistency. It didn’t work, however, because he humiliated everyone on his team, clearly.
How about you? Do your sales reps answer the “help me/hurt me” question, although not in that way?
In order to perform consistently, you’ve got to have a sales team strategy in place that:
- makes performance visible
- creates critical dialogue
- shares best practices
- fuels continuous improvement and growth
If this process is missing, you ain’t growing.
Using a Simple Formula for Sales Growth
In creating a high-performing sales culture and team, a sales manager must create team-wide visibility regarding both individual and the collective team's performance. This has to be done weekly and monthly.
A visible performance review creates positive peer pressure, and it also provides the individual sales reps with the opportunity to learn from each other, in other words, participating in success modeling. When someone performs well, their sales results along with a couple key metrics, are visible to the entire team giving others the opportunity to learn from the top performers.
You simply can’t optimize performance when the critical details that created either the desired or undesired result aren’t visible; complacency and mediocre performance becomes the norm.
A new client once initially described their corporate culture as a place where “it’s ok to suck”. And suck they did; their company was in serious decline. To turn that around and to create the growth machine they are today, we created a healthy corporate culture that valued transparency, self-reflection, and critical dialogue. It’s no longer ok to suck at this company, and they now attract and retain the top talent within their industry and geographies.
Their collective sales performance is stellar. And to ensure complacency never creeps in again, they’ve baked this simple formula into their corporate DNA: Visibility + Communications = Traction (up or out).
My career path started out at IBM before moving on to start, build and eventually sell two technology service companies. From there, I’ve been a global channel development partner, and personal/corporate achievement coach helping leaders and teams break through to the next level.
If you or your team needs help breaking through to the next level of performance, or if you have a friend who’d appreciate having access to me as their personal and/or corporate achievement coach, please reach out for a free discovery call or email me at email@example.com.