The Coaching Effect Blog

Management Tips from Havard Business Review Experts

Posted by Kristi Shoemaker

September 28, 2011

Sales management tips and leadership best practices from Harvard Business Review experts.  TIP ONE: Executing on major initiatives requires sales teams that are large, diverse, and virtual. Yet, as team size grows and the group disperses, team performance diminishes. You can build collaboration withing complex teams in three ways:

  • Train employees in the right skills. Most people don't collaborate by nature. They need the right skills: appreciating others, engaging in purposeful conversations, and productively solving conflicts.

  • Help employees get to know each other. People who know each other socially are more likely to collaborate. Invest time in networking and social events to build a sense of community. 

  • Model collaborative behavior. Employees emulate what they see at the top. Leaders should visibly work together and even fill in for each other on occasion. (related blog post Collaborative Leadership in Sales Management)



TIP 2: 3 Steps to Influence Culture.  You can't just create the culture you want in your organization. Culture is not a goal, but the outcome of a collective set of behaviors. Instead of mandating behavior, influence it to shape your company's culture with these three steps:

  • Convey your vision. Define your aspirations. What are the most critical behaviors that characterize the culture you want to create? (Related blog article

  • Demonstrate how new behaviors can help the business. Nothing reinforces behaviors more than success. Work with your team to apply your ideal behaviors to a specific project that needs improving.

  • Integrate the behaviors into HR processes. People tend to do what's measured and rewarded. Use the desired behaviors as criteria for hiring and promoting. (Related blog article "Get Better Input from you Sales Team")

(NOTE:  Dr. Bret Simmons PhD will be teaching attendees of our Fall Sales Coaching Summit "How To Build a Performance Culture".  Request a copy of his PPT Deck by leaving a comment with your email address)

TIP 3: Ways to Increase Your Team's Performance - Successfully managing a team is a complex undertaking. Increase the odds of reaching your goals by doing the following three things:

  • Establish urgency. Team members need to believe they're working on something that matters. And it needs to matter today, not at a nebulous point in the future. Be sure the team sees the potential fruits of its labor.

  • Set high standards. The higher the expectations the more likely the team will live up to its performance potential. Set ambitious goals and hold the team to them. (Related article Building Peak Performance Teams)

  • Start off on the right foot. Pay particular attention to first meetings and initial impressions. How a team starts its work together often sets the tone for future interactions.

Topics: sales management resources, ideas for sales leaders

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