Don’t shoot your own ….!
This article sounds negative in tone and tenor, but it’s not a gripe; please see it as a reminder or a suggestion. If such things are happening in your team be the first to take corrective action. It will release valuable time and energy for real work!
While it is a satisfying pursuit, the Sales Profession is extremely combative too; often instead of directing the energies outward Sales Teams can get at each other’s throats in the desperate, often self-defeating, battle for one-upmanship. There are times when Managers get into this battle, not as a moderating influence or peacemaker, but as a player and challenger.
The Sales Function in an organisation is like a combat zone – lot of energy, bravado, action and sound. Each player is trying his / her best to shine. Every campaign won is announced with pride and celebrated with gusto and losses are dissected and the Executive concerned faces an inquest. Sales Executives are the cynosure of all eyes and often the objects of envy. They win the biggest accolades and awards. There are those who allege that these guys can get away with murder.
But Sales delivers the lifeblood of the organisation – Revenue; that makes them key resources in any organisation.
To win Sales teams occasionally resort to games against their own team – members:
- Stealing accounts
- Selling outside the allocated territory
- Grabbing stock that was booked from another account
- Spreading misinformation about each – other
- Misreporting sales data
- Stealing ideas contributed by another team-member
- Ganging up on a team member
Sales Managers should be playing Judge / providers of level playing field – they must sound the warning, call the warring parties to the table at the earliest and spell out the rules of engagement; ensure that the credit goes to the right person and every team-member works keeping organisations priorities uppermost in mind, instead of getting tangled in non-issues, ego battles or acting in pure spite.
Sales Managers need to make particular note to:
- Give credit to your team-members when you borrow their ideas
- Never be seen to be favoring one person or group
- Never promote the spread of false information
- Don’t be afraid to take action against the wrongdoer once the wrong is proven
- Always use counseling and coaching as first steps
- Have regular integration meetings and get people involved in team activities
- Constantly spell out expectation and objectively point out deviations
- Give attention to all team – members and be fair in allocating resources too
- If you give someone a little bit more have a logical explanation that everyone understands
- Be transparent and over the board – never have secret deals
Organisations and teams without respect for all team-members and a supportive atmosphere within will be ill-equipped to face the market. They will be operating in a vacuum because the prevailing feeling is that nobody can be trusted – such teams will disintegrate and business would collapse.
The enemy is out there – you are helping them by expending ammunition on your own side!
P.S: I repeat …. this message sounds bad – but I have seen teams disintegrating for the above reasons – nip the problem in the bud! Create a culture of empathy, respect and genuine appreciation for another person’s success.
Remember: People cannot win without back up – not even in individual sports!