Working in sales does not always have to end up with the most aggressive members of the team sending their quieter counterparts to the wolves. The days of a competitive workplace are quickly fading into a collaborative sales environment. In the age of information availability, it just doesn’t make sense for one salesperson to handle the full responsibility of managing client lists, new leads, product updates and information, sales figures, and productivity results; it would be both inefficient and ineffective. In order to get everything cataloged and analyzed, a team working together is necessary to minimize losses and maximize your profits. But how does a company move from that “dog-eat-dog” mentality into the “teamwork” realm of doing business? Here are 10 tips that will help your employees work as a team resulting in a smooth flow of satisfied clients streaming through your business.
1. Share information
Your team will only benefit from each other’s information. Sharing ongoing project information, pairing your top sales person with a new employee, and discussing what worked and what failed as a team will help keep everyone on top of their game. These discussions can often lead to a client connection you did not know an employee could foster.
2. Hire people who express a team outlook on their past experiences
When interviewing potential employees, try to stay away from those who talk about their previous experiences as being internally focused. Do they describe their successes as if they personally beat their co-workers to the punch? Or do they offer their skills and successes as a team effort, using “we” statements?
3. Make the goal for competition an outside source
When there is an outside company you can use as a benchmark for success the team will see them as their competition instead of each other. Weekly meetings to gather information, sales results, and ways to improve sales will help focus attention on collaborative efforts.
4. As team dynamics change be sure to change your leadership style as well
Companies both large and small seem to constantly be shifting employees to different areas, changing job descriptions, or creating new job families. With that in mind, your team may add new members, have new responsibilities, or require updated sales training. Your management style needs to reflect these changes by changing with them. Recognize the fact that employees might need more from you to be able to do their job in a collaborative fashion. Working with them through changes will ensure they stay on task together. You are the best mentor for your team through your own behavior.
5. Define individual roles while keeping the team goals intact
Well defined roles still need to exist in a collaborative environment. People have to work independently to maximize their productivity, so giving them clear roles with responsibilities clearly defined will help ensure the teams work is not redundant
6. Human resources can be a valuable asset
HR can be beneficial when working in a large company. They are trained to screen potential employees and help roll out and promote training programs throughout the organization. Utilizing their resources can help you foster that collaborative effort.
7. Foster a sense of community within the company
When people feel they are part of a bigger community they are more likely to seek out another’s opinion or help a coworker over a hurdle. This sharing of skills and knowledge is what a collaborative workplace is all about.
8. Make sure your employees know how to work together
It might sound simple: make sure they can work as a team. But this is a factor that can easily be overlooked. Some things that help ensure that teams can actually be productive when working together include: members being able to appreciate each other’s contributions, having the ability to creatively use problem solving skills, and effectively communicate with each other. There are training seminars available to help employees learn how to use their skills to enhance the team’s performance.
9. When building your team think about previous working partners
Having fresh eyes is always good for a project or team environment, but having everyone come in as strangers to each other can hamper the collaborative effort in the onset. Valuable time can be wasted as everyone tries to learn independent work styles and overcoming their reluctance to share knowledge. Placing a few members on your team who have successfully worked together in the past will help set the tone and mentor others on how a successful team works.
10. Finally, executive support of a collaborative environment is essential
For any program or policy to be effective everyone must commit, from the top executive down to the newly hired intern. Management sets the tone for the team and ultimately holds the key for success of a collaborative environment.