Sales Leadership Roundtable Discussion
I really enjoyed a round table discussion that I facilitated a couple of weeks ago. I had 8 senior sales executives join me for an open discussion. In part 1 of this two-part series, they shared how they have kept their salespeople productive and motivated over the last couple of weeks.
We all realized that we are all in unchartered waters. There is no playbook we can refer too, most of us are making it up as we go along. However, we all shared the same goal to come out of this crisis better, stronger and be more liked and respected by our clients.
What we found was that over the last few weeks, the majority of sales organizations had successfully made the transition in going remote and working from home.
This group shared over 80 tips/ideas (47 in this post) on what they are doing to navigate through this crisis. Some of the tips may be repetitive but I wanted to capture all the great ideas and gems that the group shared.
Sales Leaders Share: How we’re keeping our team productive:
- How do you manage anxiety? What do you prioritize? What do you do? Be aware that your employees are incredibly anxious as they don’t know how to fill their day.
- From a team perspective, we know that for the first two weeks people are catching up on unread emails but then it shifts to busy work.
- We are ensuring our sales team learn and are well-trained so they can emerge very successful.
- Training – We come together and build on what will happen over the next couple of weeks/months.
- We are assigning different tasks to our salespeople for which they wouldn’t have time for during their normal workday.
- Offer to pay for office equipment (i.e. monitors) for all employees to ensure their home workspace is more efficient and effective.
- Get people stable and ready. Daily training with the team has increased their productivity as we focused on them and have put their needs first while they are at home.
- Focus on housekeeping: improve their sales navigated training, getting on top of all leads, cleaning up the pipeline so post COVID-19 we can hit the ground running.
- Keep our people active, keep their minds active as we want to keep the core energized.
- Understand that people are anxious as their usual measures of productivity and success are no longer valid.
- Be flexible and adaptable as you may have some team members who are not used to working at home and have to attend to the needs of their children.
- Allow people to shift their hours, understanding that being productive can occur at different times during the day/night.
- Make changes to company culture, i.e. allow employees to use video when speaking with customers and fellow employees.
- Reshape expectations and celebrate the success stories.
- Stop talking about KPIs.
- Reset expectations of what productivity is.
- Set work parameters. Understand that working 80-hour weeks is counter-productive to one’s physical and mental health.
- Help people create boundaries with respect to their workday. Let me know it’s okay to take off a few hours to be with their kids.
- Keep them active with respect maintaining their subject matter expertise top-notch so when they return to market they will be prepared.
- Create different training camps for sales teams and customer-facing teams.
- Create in-depth training and ensure it is engaging and dynamic with different types of homework.
What training we have done:
- Product and sales training, account planning.
- Soft skill training.
- LinkedIn social selling training.
- Think on your feet messaging through training.
- Online roleplays.
- Technical product knowledge training.
- Focus on five aspects of emotional intelligence.
- Understand mental preparedness and emotional intelligence. Be aware that fear will paralyze people so focusing solely on productivity is not looking at the whole picture.
Sales Leaders Share: How they’ve motivated their salespeople:
- Check-in. Call and say “how are you and is there anything that we can do?”
- Create a WhatsApp group for customer-facing where feel-good stories are shared which helps to encourage positivity.
- Remind people that they need to look after themselves, look after their family and then look after the business. Remind them that if you don’t do the first two the third one is never going to happen.
- Do a fifteen-minute virtual playdate. People are invited to introduce their kids to their co-workers.
- Create chatrooms to have a water-cooler chats. These chats are not business-related but rather are meant for people to share their success stories as to what they are doing.
- Understand that sharing success stories are important.
- Plan a happy hour at the end of the day. Employees are asked to bring their favorite alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. This is purely social, no business talk.
- Ask employees to volunteer to support additional work projects.
- Create a daily newsletter to remind our customers about our compassionate care program.
- Create a sense of levity – have a 70s party where photos are shared and have a trivia game.
- To lighten the situation, on a leadership call our president asked us all to wear a different hat.
- Adding some “flavour” to the business day has been helpful to keep people
- We created a WhatsApp to help relay positive stories.
- Call every team member.
- Mail my leaders’ handwritten notes.
- Understand that a personal touch creates motivation as they know that you care at a deep level. People will remember phone calls. Customers and employees will remember the extra steps you have taken during this time.
- Keep the motivation and the communication open with accounts. Let them know that a financial relief plan has been created to help them during this time.
- Make a commitment to your team that as an organization you are there for them.
Feel free to contribute what you are doing that has the biggest impact in the comments section below.
This crisis shall pass so it is imperative that we understand that what we do during this crisis for our customers, employees and community will have a lasting impact when this crisis ends.
Wishing you good health always.
Great Leaders Step Up in Times of Crisis