We have found that building a thriving sales team starts with a focus on the foundation. As Stephen Covey famously said, ‘the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing’. This advice has never been more true than right now, but it’s also easily overlooked as we are busy pivoting to new technologies and adapting to ever-changing restrictions. It’s worth taking the time to revisit the foundational principles that will help you thrive now and in the post-COVID world.
Connecting Work to Purpose
As your sales team experiences a shift in how they operate, it’s more important than ever to help them explore how what they do at work connects with their unique strengthens and purpose. Your most effective sales leaders will operate at their highest potential from this foundation. They are engaged, willing to work on new opportunities, and often serve as change agents. Employees who are avoiding tasks or focusing on tasks that aren’t of significant value will halt progress and create a pain point for you as a leader.
Ensure your sales reps are in the right role
As sales have shifted to a virtual work environment, it may require restructuring teams, re-imagining territories, or realigning responsibilities based on each team member’s unique strengths. Don’t assume your sales reps are in the right role just because they were successful last year. Evaluate adjustments that you need to make to set each person up for success in a virtual environment.
Align reps with the organizational culture
Great employees who don’t fit your culture will drain the organization, the team, and the leader. Crisis and change tend to spark an evaluation of values, priorities, and goals. Perhaps your company has done the same. As we continue to evaluate our lives, it’s essential to make sure your people align with your organization.
How do you identify whether your team members are aligned with the culture? You observe how they work, how they live the organizational values day-to-day. And you ask them. Invite them into a conversation, asking them to share how they interpret the values and demonstrate them at work. This both opens to the door for you to make sure they understand your companies’ values and dialogue about how their values may have changed over the past six months.
Rally around a common goal
When it comes to goals, lack of clarity will lead to confusion and disengagement among your team. Your company has likely made a shift in its goals over the past six months. Have you taken the time to rally your team around a new or revised goal? Does every individual understand how their position contributes to the goal? Your team needs to have a clear understanding of your common goal, and they need to feel like they are contributing to that goal. As a leader, it’s your job to connect the dots for your team regularly.
Create shared experiences that inspire
Remember the big company sales meetings where everyone came together and left excited about the year’s goals? The feeling of endless possibility when it came to your sales? The excited chatter around the coffee bar? The brainstorming that happened over a glass of wine at happy hour? Creating environments for people to get away and connect for a few days used to go a long way toward inspiring individuals toward a shared goal. Right now, this is on hold, but it’s still vital to create shared experiences that inspire. Encourage creative thinking across your team. Allow them the space to discover new ways of cooperating, solving problems, and working towards a common set of goals.
If you’ve found that your annual sales meeting will be virtual this year, it’s time to start thinking about creating a memorable virtual experience that will accomplish your goals. Your team cannot sit through eight hours of Zoom presentations and leave inspired. Your team needs a shared experience that’s centered around relevant content. Now is the time to begin that process.
As you lay the foundation and create the right experiences, you’ll find your team has the tools they need to thrive, no matter what changes 2020 may still have in store for us.