By Brad Barker
This is something that gets kicked around a little in most industries. It is very rarely defined or articulated. I get to see a lot of sales teams in my role and often I see teams that are performing well in some areas and not so well in other areas.
When I work with sales teams, I am often brought in because something is not quite right. It is not that the people, products, leadership, or company are bad. In fact, most people I work with want to become great at what they do and want to excel. They just don’t have the ingredients required to strive for excellence.
There are 5 things that I look for in any organisation when I am looking to introduce a culture of high performance. All are equally important, but without one of them the program does not reach its potential:
1. Skills training:
There are many areas for your salespeople to trained in. The most important aspect when it comes to training is it must be repeatable and accessible. The training needs to be the baseline by which all activities and behaviours are referenced. If a person has not been trained in an area, then at the end of the day they are guessing or just using their best judgement.
Coaching is the timely reminder of things that have been taught and not embedded to be unconscious behaviour. At SG Partners we often see effective training carried out, but the skills not implemented.
People rarely adopt training without coaching.
They attempt to execute the learnt skill, but then feel awkward or uncomfortable with it. Often salespeople just go back to what is comfortable. Coaching is helpful for feedback, confidence and reinforcement. Without coaching there is no embedding of a new skill, particularly skills that are complex.
3. Accountability Framework:
Once organisations have introduced a new skill and have embedded these behaviours, it’s important to hold the team accountable to continue with the new skills. An accountability framework generally consists of regular scheduled interactions with the team, discussions surrounding performance and continual improvement. These can be one on one sessions, group sessions or a combination of both depending on team sizes and dynamics.
4. Measurement and Review:
Measurement of new skills positively influences sales team behaviour. It is human nature to pay attention to what is being measured and monitored. To maintain a high performing team, it is important to have 2 or 3 core measurements to monitor on a consistent basis. On top of this, I recommend having another 2 to 3 other metrics to measure during periods where you are looking for change.
Leadership is the driver behind any high performing team. A good leader is a someone who will drive the culture, not settle for substandard performance, expect their team to follow through, confront where required, coach where necessary and most importantly - hold the standard themselves.
If you are looking to develop a high performing team then assess these 5 areas. If any one of these 5 keys are missing, you will struggle to get a high performing team.