Dysfunctional: the word comes up in conversation every day, usually in relation to families, reality show contestants and celebrities. But what happens when the word is applied to your sales team? When a dysfunctional team is preventing you from getting the results you need to move forward, for example, how do you identify the root cause of the problem, eliminate it and transition into a functional operation?
As it relates to your sales team, dysfunction may be inherited or be something you’ve created inadvertently, but the important thing to understand is that it can be identified and fixed. Here are five ways to spot it:
1. The company isn’t focused on sales. If product management, development and engineering are the main focuses of your company, and the CEO or head of sales has a background in finance, product management, or development – not sales and marketing – the company as a whole may not be sales-focused and that may trickle down to your team.
2. The team isn’t focusing on numbers with visible reminders. Take a minute to look around. Are sales targets written on the walls, on whiteboards, tacked to cubicles? If not, there’s a lack of focus on those numbers for your team, and that’s a problem.
3. The sales group doesn’t know their projections. Ask your sales team and managers to define their sales projections. Specifically, what they’re working on and what’s closing soon. Question them on their revenue forecasts and margins. If they can’t give you simple, concise answers, they’re not functioning smoothly. In fact, the topic of hitting targets, bonuses, and commissions should be frequently discussed within the team. If it’s not, they’re not focused on selling.
4. There’s no sense of urgency. Get a feel for your sales team at the end of the month or quarter. Activity should be almost frenetic at this point – your team should be on the phones and selling. If reps are taking 90-minute lunches or doing a lot of chatting at the water cooler when hitting their targets is on the line, you’ve got a problem within the team.
5. Your sales room is a high school cafeteria. Of course, dysfunction comes in the most obvious of forms as well. Much like high school, gossip and rumours on the sales team can lead to nothing but trouble, and means that the team is off focus. Playing the blame game is a problem as well: when your team is blaming shipping, support or finance for their losses, you need to root out why they’re not accountable.
If your team is hitting its targets and acting legally, morally and ethically, does it necessarily matter if someone’s a bit quirky or has some strange work habits? Perhaps not. But in all other cases, it’s important to root out the source of the problem so your team can focus on its purpose: selling and results.
As the founder and president of Engage Selling Solutions, Colleen Francis helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.
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