Every sales cycle naturally involves ups and downs. However, if your team is showing a pattern of negative energy, then the downs may seem more frequent than normal. Allowing such an atmosphere to persist unchecked could be detrimental to your sales and organizational success. Making your sales team a desirable place to work and having a culture of contagious energy helps build momentum. There are many warning signs to detect if your team is in low spirits. Here are some common indicators of low morale, and what can be done to remedy these issues.
1 . Negative Chatter
People grumble when they are frustrated or acting in a passive-aggressive manner. If a pattern of destructive conversation is occurring in communications between team members, something is amiss. Keep your ear to the ground and pull aside a key facilitator to understand the source of discontent. This can stop the behavior and help you figure out which specific items need to change.
2. Missed Quotas
Failing to achieve quotas can be frustrating, and it can cause fear for employees who are underperforming. If this continues, talk to your team. Understand the reasons and then adjust the quotas to reflect market realities. Moreover, ensure that a good amount of analysis is conducted before setting quotas. This will help your sales team become involved in the process, and they will consequently realize that the new quotas are indeed achievable.
3. Too Many Rules
Salespeople are highly tactical and love freedom. They want a framework within which they can freely operate. If your team is frustrated by too many rules, reevaluate these limitations to see which can be removed. Try to establish the minimum amount of restrictions to build a more liberated working environment.
4. Lots of Complaints
Checking in with HR to hear about complaints from unhappy salespeople is a great way to make early corrections before things get ugly. Do this regularly to tap into the pulse of your team and address issues in person. Keep an open relationship with your HR managers to make communication quick and informative.
5. Poor Data Collection
If salespeople are not capturing information in your CRM, this could in fact be a form of protest. Having to record this data is sometimes perceived as pointless and excessive effort. To avoid this, provide positive incentives for fully captured deal information and records. Tout the benefits of this during team meetings and demonstrate how this facilitates closing sales (and earning commission).
6. Blaming and Criticism
Listen to the language used during sales meetings. If accusations are being thrown around, become a problem solver and bridge the gap between the blamer and the blamed. Deal with each piece of criticism specifically and bring parties together to overcome them. It’s a good idea to ensure total buy-in by having your salespeople agree that the resolution works for them personally. But don’t stop there. Keep listening after a solution has been achieved in order to see if the resolution truly made an impact.
7. Energy Drain
Your staff is only as productive as they are happy. If energy is low, initiate group events like dinners or bowling nights for everyone to relax and socialize. Sporting events and happy hours can foster camaraderie and allow people to connect with one another as friends. This will drastically improve team morale.
8. Job Hunting
There is something wrong in your company if employees are searching for other opportunities. Ensure your compensation and benefits are competitive by benchmarking against other organizations in your industry. You should also be upfront and ask your team what they like/dislike about their jobs. They can help you to help them by directly explaining what would keep them from seeking work elsewhere.
9. Tension with Marketing
The sales and marketing departments of your company should work hand-in-hand. If your sales team is not giving feedback to help marketing create supporting materials, or if they aren’t using the materials provided, there is severe misalignment among your teams – and money is being wasted. Do everything in your power to ensure that each department is on the same page. Creating a more intimate environment by having marketing work more closely and responsively to front line sales, customer conversations and engagements will help boost team cohesion.
Sales management must be vigilant to be effective. With foresight and continual engagement with your sales team, issues can be fixed early and even prevented altogether. Stay alert to the warning signs described above and your team will remain happy and productive in perpetuity.
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