Significance of sales teams’ cheerful outlook | Sunday Observer

Significance of sales teams’ cheerful outlook

21 May, 2023

The happiness and cheerful outlook of a sales team play one of the most crucial roles in the overall success of an organisation. This is the reason why the respected American businessman, philanthropist, and writer said, “Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect”. This statement contains timeless value for business entities.

The happiness of a sales team is a key factor that determines their performance and the overall success of an organisation. A positive work environment, job satisfaction, and employee well-being have a significant impact on sales productivity, motivation, and engagement. Veteran business consultants opine that there is no doubt that happy teams are always high-performing teams.

It is a culture of happiness that drives motivation and enthusiasm for action. When sales teams receive support, understanding, and feedback, they are not only happier but also clearer about their roles and what is expected of them. Therefore, most successful commercial organisations treat the happiness of their sales teams as a strategic priority. This becomes even more significant during crisis times, whether they are due to health disasters such as the Covid-19 pandemic, economic conditions, or increased competition.

In my extensive career in sales and by being on both sides of the coin, I have perfectly understood this salient factor in deriving sales performance from team members. In my junior days as a salesman, I have been subjected to praise and humiliation from my seniors and have undergone happy experiences as well as disappointing times.

As a sales manager in my later career, taking cues from considerate and empathetic superiors, I always attempted to keep my team happy in both good and bad times. Also, I have come across many failed sales managers who ignored the happiness, attitudes, and well-being of the teams they managed. A salient factor sales managers should remember is that an unmotivated and unhappy sales team can put the sales manager through many difficulties.

With that in mind, let us go over a few tips that will help you keep your salespeople happy and ready to crush their sales goals.

Well-planned process

First and foremost, your onboarding process must be extremely effective. On the one hand, a disorganised onboarding process can make the candidates feel unwelcome or stressful, and on the other hand, a well-planned process can make them feel like they are a part of an optimistic environment with inevitable opportunities for career advancement.

A well strategised induction program can be immensely effective in setting optimised first impressions that may last a long time. In Sri Lanka, while most large organisation practice this important process after every recruitment, medium and small organisations do not seem to have recognised the significance of the onboarding process.

Having an open-door policy is particularly important for sales managers to effectively manage sales teams. Through my experience, I can confidently vouch that always leaving your door open to obtain or offer feedback, professional and personal, can make a substantial difference as a leader.

Selling is not an easy job, even for the most skilled salespeople. They confront tough challenges every day that can increase stress levels, which can lead to fatigue. A good sales manager not only understands this essential factor but also provides reasonable solutions to team and individual problems. The open-door policy builds trust, which makes the team members happier at work. However, a word of caution: the sales managers must manage issues cautiously, as some of them will come up with too many problems because it is convenient for some of them to “pass the buck” to their superiors.

A common phenomenon among salespeople all over the world is that they utterly dislike administrative work. The customary feeling is that it is a waste of valuable time that can be used in real selling. (Although that is not always truthful). Hence, a good sales manager finds ways and means to cut meeting time significantly.

The salespeople can focus more on selling to produce new customers if admin time is curtailed. Hence, my opinion is to hire separate staff to minimise the workload of salesmen. Also, the sales manager can provide the necessary tools to automate and perform admin work faster.

Unwanted meetings kill utterly valuable selling time. Sales managers who have junior-level selling experience know that meetings are necessary, yet they also know how to keep them to a minimum. Too many sales meetings can be boring for participants, which can make salespeople develop a negative outlook.

That way, the sales managers can use technology for instructions and obtain feedback without wasting sales time. They must understand the most appropriate frequency of meetings to be held with the team to encourage important two-way communication and obtain and deliver useful information.

As explained in many previous articles, selling is a daunting task for various reasons. Selling entails working long hours in exhausting conditions. While they may love their job, they will likely experience burnout if they do not have enough work-life balance. Therefore, encouraging and mentoring work-life balance is also one of the most important duties of a sales manager.

Personal time

Sales managers and business owners must make sure that their salespeople have plenty of personal time where they do not have to be preoccupied by work. It is indisputable that there may still be times when salespeople trade personal time for work time. However, the leaders should make sure this does not become a common habit. It is a fact that salespeople will be more productive if they are well rested and happy in their personal lives.

Setting up sales goals is an important task in the sales process. My experience as a salesman is that sometimes companies set unreasonable and unachievable goals. No doubt the sales targets must be reasonably challenging, as good salespeople are always competitive and ambitious. However, if the goals you set are nearly impossible to meet, even your most competitive salespeople may start to feel discouraged. No one likes feeling as if they are being set up for failure.

Thus, those in management must set goals that are both realistic and achievable. These goals can be related to sales results, professional development, skill improvement, and more. Hence, the top management must make an effort to tailor the goals to each salesperson’s strengths and weaknesses and monitor everyone’s progress so you can see what is improving and what needs to be changed.

Recognition and rewards are also crucial for stimulating happiness and motivation within the sales team. Acknowledging and celebrating individual and team achievements through incentives, bonuses, and public recognition can immensely boost morale and create a positive competitive spirit. Sales contests and gamification techniques can add an element of fun and excitement, further enhancing job satisfaction and team cohesion.

It is important for sales managers to create a positive and supportive work environment that fosters happiness and engagement among their sales team. This can be achieved through a range of initiatives, such as providing empathetic leadership, offering training and development opportunities, recognising and rewarding success, providing regular feedback and coaching, and encouraging open communication and collaboration.