We are in an inflationary period and it’s not surprising to see the economy heading for a recession. Higher prices and more cautious customers, coupled with an increasingly competitive market, makes the job of selling much more challenging. And as the world continues to change at a fast pace, it is critical for any business to continually review and adapt its sales strategy to ensure it stays ahead of the competition. Sales managers, with ambitious targets to meet, might succeed in boosting sales through increasing pressure on sales people in the short term but this is not a viable long-term strategy. It’s become normal for sales teams to work long hours, which is detrimental to their work-life balance.
This insightful article by Cath Everett in Raconteur looks at why a more holistic culture with emphasis on well-being is so important to sales; it is about the people, not just the product. The article argues why you should care about your company’s culture, and gives some pointers about how you can start creating a positive culture from the outset of your business and grow it over time. For example, Carl Day, chief sales officer at managed service provider Apogee, ‘focused on teaching his sales managers how to get the best out of their team members by adopting more of a coaching role, finding more constructive and personalised ways to motivate individuals’.
Coaching is a more structured way of helping sales team members improve, and it’s becoming more and more common for sales managers to engage in coaching their sales managers and sales teams. Ashlie Collins, the founder and CEO of Humane Startup, believes coaching can help in ‘unlocking what’s standing between them and achieving their goals, most of which resides in the unconscious’. Managers who engage in coaching are now noticing that it’s not just the sales team that benefits from it, but also the entire organisation. By developing a culture of learning and continual improvement, managers and their teams are seeing significant improvements in productivity and quality, which leads to improved bottom line results for the business.
However, detecting the early signs that sales people are less motivated is difficult, especially if sales are still on track. Pete Evans, co-owner of sales training and coaching provider SalesStar UK, thinks ‘The crux of it is that managers need to understand their people and what motivates them, but too many aren’t spending enough time on this …’ leading to ‘The problem then is that they don’t know where their teams are facing challenges.’ Evans advocates that leaders of sales teams create a culture based on trust and psychological safety. In other words keep an eye out for signs that your sales team is under too much stress, and do what you can to provide support and help them through it. ‘Keeping and eye out’ can be achieved in a number of ways including walking the floor and talking to people but this may not be practical for dispersed sales teams.
But, now there’s an alternative. Data can be collected digitally, and in real time, alerting you to any emerging trends which indicate a downturn in motivation before its reflected in your sales figures. Tensense is an early warning system for your business. You can watch a short video here.
Photo by Andreas Klassen on Unsplash