Sales team development takes work, discipline and empathy. It takes work to meet with potential sales candidates. It takes discipline and self-awareness to execute a consistent coaching cadence. And empathy is important in learning how to work with each member of your sales team.
Add one more item to the list: Building and developing a sales community.
I had the good fortune of learning the power of community growing up in a small town in Iowa. At the time, I didn’t realize I was learning important principles for developing sales teams.
This small farming community modeled generosity. For example, it was not unusual for a neighbor to lend a hand to their fellow neighbors during harvest. In case you are not familiar with the farming industry, harvest is the equivalent of a salesperson achieving their year end sales goal. Salespeople bring in business, farmers bring in the crops.
On more than one occasion, I remember my family helping a neighbor complete their harvest, “hit their sales goal” by lending an additional set of hands and/or equipment. They didn’t do it for recognition. They did it because they believed that when everyone did well, the entire community did well.
The same can be applied to sales. A strong sales community is comprised of salespeople that are generous. Veterans mentor the new hires, giving their time and wisdom to help them ramp up quicker so they can achieve their sales goal. The company enjoys increased revenues because they are not relying on one super sales star.
A generous sales community creates a team of super sales stars.
In my small community, it wasn’t unusual for a person to stop by your home for a cup of coffee. I don’t recall people calling ahead to set an appointment in order to drop by. And I also don’t remember these conversations being hurried and harried.
Now, you might be thinking that these people didn’t work very hard. Or, maybe they had too much time on their hands.
These individuals worked hard, put in long hours and long days---sometimes six or seven days a week.
However, people in small communities recognize that being in a community means putting in the work to build relationships.
The same is true in sales. Now, we hold a lot of conversations around the importance of relationships. However, my observation is that we are often not walking the talk. Many of us are proudly wearing our busy badge, which impacts the ability to build relationships.
- Salespeople and sales managers book themselves with back-to-back video meetings. Because the clock is ticking, conversations are cut short. Both parties leave the meeting feeling like they were part of a transaction, not a meaningful conversation.
- When face-to-face meetings are held, salespeople and sales managers show up early to the meeting. It’s a great time to connect and catch-up. Instead, tablets open and all focus is shifted to the conversation happening on a small screen.
A chance to build community is wasted.
If you want to build consistent revenues, lower turnover, build a strong sales community.
A salesperson that is part of a community isn't as likely to start looking for another job. They know and like their fellow team members. Turnover decreases as does the associated cost of attrition of clients who are tired of a new salesperson showing up every year.
A salesperson that doesn’t feel rushed in conversations is more open to asking for help or advice. The additional wisdom and support provided helps the salesperson close more business.
A sales team that gives their full attention to their colleagues make others feel valued and important. Who doesn’t want to be part of that sales community?
Build your sales community and you will build revenues.