Some Additional Thoughts....


Some additional thoughts…

In my work with sales executives from corporations large and small, I repeatedly see that team rewards are easily overlooked in favor of individual incentives. And while individual incentives are critical to the success of any sales organization, most companies are not fully invested in supporting the team environment.

No man is an island, the poet noted, and that’s true in corporate sales as well. No sales rep can sell anything without the support of someone else in the organization. The question is this: Does it make sense to create a team from the group of people who help make the sale? The short answer? Yes. Here’s an example:

Teams can be short lived. One of my clients created teams that included sales reps, sales engineers, account managers, customer service people and representatives from accounting for a short burst of high activity. They acted as a team for only 45 days and their accomplishments more than paid for the meeting time and effort they put into clarifying their roles for their project.

Teams benefit from respect. Several years ago, Google embarked on a lengthy investigation into what made the most effective teams. They believed they were on an adventure to invent a new wheel or to unlock a secret code that no one thought existed. Hubris aside, the exploration they made under Project Aristotle generated a list of key components found in the very best teams. Read about them in the Inc. article called “Google Spent 2 Years Studying 180 Teams. The Most Successful Ones Shared These 5 Traits”. To save you some time, the most important overriding aspect of what makes teams really whir is respect.

Respecting the other people on the team for what they bring to the table is fundamental to a successful team. Sales reps must acknowledge that they could sell out the warehouse, but they need accounting to actually get paid for it. Accountants have their own knowledge set that pertains to certain aspects of the sales process and the customer experience. Teams can benefit from this sort of diversity and respect.

And, of course, respect for diversity is also critical. Teams compiled of only successful, young white men are more likely to fail than teams that include gender and ethnic diversity. This isn’t some ivory tower finger shaking, it’s simply what happens when diverse groups become teams in the real world: they are more successful than those who are not diverse.

Finally, remember that not everyone is the same and that each person’s effort and the rewards they earn will be different. Companies with strong socialistic or egalitarian principles fail to reward team members differently. These firms believe that everyone on the team should be rewarded at the same level. While this may work in strongly socialistic places like the Nordic countries and Minnesota, the rest of the world excels when each member is rewarded in line with their role. Sales leaders tend to have higher risk and are rewarded highly, while the account managers have less risk and are rewarded commensurately. Don’t forget to involve your sales managers in your team rewards, as well. Managers play a critical role in the effectiveness of teams.

Check out my podcast, Behavioral Grooves, if you’d like to stay in touch with my weekly messages on linking behavioral science to work and life. Or subscribe via your favorite podcatcher.

Sales & Marketing Management is the leading authority for executives in the sales and marketing field.

Sales & Marketing Management is owned by Mach1 Business Media, LLC Minneapolis, MN.

Connect With Us

Sales & Marketing Management invites YOU to take an active role by joining the SMMConnect community.

Take advantage of your complimentary membership at SMMConnect.