High performing sales cultures are born from teams that operate like a well-oiled machine. If you want your sales team to perform at high levels, you must focus on improving team dynamics.
How well your group works together has a direct impact on how well your organization meets its goals.
This post will outline the strategies you can take to strengthen the self-awareness of your team members, resolve conflicts, and enhance team cohesion—which will ultimately help improve team performance.
What Causes Poor Team Dynamics?
Poor team dynamics can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Personality conflicts
- Unhealthy culture
- Ineffective coaching or management
- Poor role fit (having the wrong person in the wrong position)
With a few adjustments and strong leadership, an unhealthy group dynamic on a sales team can be resolved. Here’s how to get started.
One: Assess Your Sales Team
Although your organization is working towards a common goal, you must keep in mind that each team member is an individual with a unique set of strengths and weaknesses—as well as behavior styles and motivators that drive them to fulfill their roles and responsibilities.
The challenging thing for sales managers is to pinpoint exactly what’s holding their team back from performing well both individually and as a group. This is where assessing your group members can really be beneficial.
Work to truly understand each of your salespeople on an individual level, and evaluate how their personalities and characteristics play out in the group dynamic.
We suggest using the Sales Team Insight Report, a tool that assesses each of your team members and highlights key competency trends inside of your sales team.
This “birds eye view” of your team will allow you to:
- Identify team dynamics that are preventing success
- Train your team to play to strengths and compensate for weaknesses, and
- Uncover how to get more out of your existing team members
You can learn more about the report and how it can benefit your organization here.
Two: Establish Clear Roles and Expectations
Many team conflicts arise out of unclear boundaries.
It’s critical for sales leaders to establish and communicate expectations with their sales reps early on, and enforce them on a continual basis.
Firstly, be sure that you know exactly what a role requires for success before you hire someone to fill it. Then, be sure that you make your expectations clear during the onboarding process.
It’s also possible to re-establish roles and expectations with your current team members, if necessary.
If major interventions are needed, work to gain support from your organization’s leadership team. Communicating your company’s core values and expectations from the top down will carry more weight.
On an individual level, work with each of your reps during one-to-one meetings to create an agreement on roles and responsibilities. You can follow-up with a coaching plan to make sure positive changes are being made.
Three: Create a Culture of Communication and Support
Oftentimes sales teams can harbor unhealthy competitiveness and knowledge hoarding. Work to encourage a culture of collaboration on your sales team.
You can achieve this by:
Incorporating Success Sharing - Carve out a dedicated time in your sales team meetings for reps to share a tip or strategy they were successful with. Have a different rep share each week and keep the stories on file for future onboarding efforts.
Sharing Competitor Research – Task each of your reps with a different competitor to keep up with. Each week or so, have your team members share any relevant information they’ve uncovered.
Build a Team Charter - Team charters are documents that are developed in a group setting that clarify team direction while establishing boundaries. Having your reps give their input will help keep them accountable to the agreement.
Four: Encourage Social Bonding
Teams are like families. When they play together, they stay together.
Encourage social bonding opportunities by arranging team volunteer activities, investing in an occasional “happy hour,” and organizing regular outings that promote team building.
The Brooks Group’s sales team recently devoted ½ a day to playing laser tag, for example. Everyone got some fresh air and exercise, plus the chance to let their competitive nature run wild!
Five: Identify and Address Problems Before They Escalate
Even the best designed and managed teams will have bad days. Conflict resolution begins by identifying opportunities for conflict before they escalate to an organizational problem.
Watch for problem behaviors such as information hoarding, bullying, and mean-spirited competitiveness, and address them before they escalate.
Reward collaborative behaviors like information sharing, supportiveness, and cheerleading each other’s successes.
Six: Enforce the Right Behaviors
In most cases, even historically difficult employees can become solid team players with effective interventions from a strong leader.
However, if you have an employee who consistently causes problems, take it up with them early and make clear the behavior you expect from them. Document everything and be willing to remove them from the team if they demonstrate unwillingness to grow and adapt to the positive team culture you have established.
By taking these steps to improve your sales team dynamics, you can make your workplace more fun and productive, while consistently meeting your goals.
If you’re looking for an organized and effective way to get the most out of every member of your team, the Sales Team Insights Report is here to help.
The report will give you critical insight, including:
- Why your “hunters” won’t “hunt” and your “farmers” won’t “farm”
- The right way to structure your sales team for success
- How to enhance team communication skills to streamline your business efforts
- Which team members fit the ideal behavior style required by your sales positions
- And much more!
Hear from one of our clients on their experience using the report to improve their sales team's performance:
Published on February 15, 2019