Transparency, training, and thanks can go a very long way
A detachment between a boss and employees is normal, but often there’s too much of a disconnect.
To create a better connection with a sales team, company leaders need to:
Be transparent with decisions and get input from team members
Hold better meetings in which many people can contribute
Encourage professional development with training
Be effusive with praise and thanks
Change how they evaluate performance
Do fun things to help people relax and bond
For the most part, there’s always been a little disconnect, a little detachment, between a boss and his or her employees. This separation can be important; it’s generally easier to tell people what to do and give feedback when you’re actually viewed as the boss and not just another co-worker.
For new businesses, often this shift is gradual. When your company first started out, you may have been side-by-side with your sales team, in the trenches with them, vying for leads. But, now that you’ve handed over the reins, perhaps that connection is no longer as strong as it once was. If you’re looking to reconnect, these tips can help you do it:
As the leader (or co-leader), it’s up to you to make the decisions. And while you can make them without any involvement from anyone else, this could be a big mistake. If your sales team will be affected, seek their input. There is a good chance that they’ll have as much – or even more – insight as you will, which can help guide you in the decision-making process. Also, regardless of which way you go, always be sure to explain the reasoning behind the choice. Keeping your team in the loop shows that they’re valued.
Have better meetings
Let’s face it: Nobody really likes meetings. There’s a reason almost everyone can relate to that “This could’ve been an email” meme. In many cases, however, meetings are essential. But if it’s just you talking for long stretches of time, your team may just tune out. Meetings offer an excellent opportunity for other people to talk and share ideas, which will keep everyone engaged. Regardless of the topic, keep your meetings short and focused. Also, think about holding them outside of the conference room or wherever you have them; new locations – like a nearby park, for example – can be a great change of pace and help spark creativity.
Offer training and development
How many of your employees see themselves as just clock-punchers, in at 9 and out at 5 (or whatever the case may be)? Or, worse, how many of them think you view them that way? If you want your team to actually want to work for you, to maximize their productivity and capabilities, you need to give them incentives to do so, and training can be very effective. Training courses will help them develop professionally and be better salespeople. This can also give them new tools or tactics to try out, which can re-energize and motivate them.
Don’t be shy with praise and thanks
It can be very easy to get bogged down with all of the daily minutiae involved in running and growing a business. But, you can’t forget that without your team, growth would be impossible. This is why it’s important to take the time to recognize the contributions everyone makes. While it is tempting to only focus on sales numbers, be sure that everyone gets regular praise for the work they do. Also, say thanks more. And don’t just say it, mean it, and tell people why you are grateful for them and what they’re doing. Money and benefits are nice, but often people just want to feel like they’re an important part of the team.
Forget the old performance evaluations
If your current way of evaluating the performance of your salespeople just involves looking at numbers, it is time to do things differently. Because your team isn’t comprised of robots, you need to also consider other key areas, including things like how they communicate, their problem-solving skills, and how they collaborate with other team members. Give them specific feedback that they can use, and don’t hold back praise (see above). Also, instead of an evaluation, it can be very beneficial to think of this more as a discussion.
You know what they say about all work and no play. And while bringing in a foosball table or a ball pit may not be an option, there are other fun things you can do for your team that can help them relax and perhaps create more of a bond with each other, as well as you. Maybe you take everybody out for a surprise lunch. Or, you bring a grill to the office, don an apron, and cook up some burgers and dogs. Have a monthly movie day where you show interesting and perhaps inspirational films (just not Glengarry Glen Ross). Whatever fun things your team likes to do, do that.
For US companies that are completely, or even just partly, remote, you might consider ordering lunch for your team and having it delivered to them. Or, know what their favorite Starbucks order is and have it delivered for a treat. This fun isn’t just for those who have the luxury of a corporate office.
Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, Zoom just launched a new app integrated into their platform that includes games you can play together. Yes, it takes more creativity with remote teams, but use your noggin and get creative. Alternatively, I bet there’s someone on your team who lives to plan this kind of thing. Give them a budget and a goal and let them use their natural ability to do this team-building fun stuff.
If you’re having trouble connecting with your team, the problem may be that you have the wrong people in place. We can help you connecting with your salespeople and make sure they get the right training so they can quickly contribute to your company. Contact Salestable AI to learn more.