It can be difficult for different people to come together and work as a team. Different perspectives sometimes lead to friction and disagreements. Yet it is precisely these various perspectives that are the greatest strength of a good team and often produce results that are far greater than what each individual member could come up with alone. The trick is to get all the team members working together instead of wasting energy in disputes with one another. Here are some of the best ways to encourage more and better teamwork among your sales staff.
Set Specific Goals
It is much easier for your salespeople to work together as a team if they know what they are supposed to be doing and have a common goal to work toward. Therefore, you should be specific in outlining goals that you want them to accomplish. In addition to setting goals for the entire team, you should also be specific about what you want each individual member to accomplish with a detailed sales operations job description that clearly identifies the role that each member is to play on the team.
However, while your goals should be specific, be careful that you do not micromanage your team by making them too detailed. Tell the team members what you want them to accomplish, but do not tell them how they are to bring it about. Otherwise, you stifle the opportunity for creative problem-solving and brainstorming.
Encourage Social Activities
You should provide opportunities for your team members to get to know one another as people rather than merely co-workers. This may be a highly structured team-building event taking place at a local resort or an informal get-together at a nearby café. The better your team members get to know one another in a context removed from work, the more trust they will have for one another. As a result, they will be more comfortable discussing important issues with one another.
Make a Plan for Dealing With Disputes
Occasionally, interactions among team members may generate friction. This is inevitable when you have a bunch of different people working together, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. A disagreement may spark a new breakthrough. However, you need to prevent the spark from igniting a damaging conflagration of conflict. You can do that by having a plan in place by which to mediate disputes among team members. Be proactive in devising this so that it is ready before any conflicts start.
Reward Good Work
If you acknowledge when your team does good work for you, it motivates them to keep it up. At the very least, you should praise them for a job well done after the fact, but there are other ways to show your appreciation, such as small, tangible tokens. You can also try to inspire your team to do good work for you in the first place by offering an incentive for a job well done, such as a bonus, extra time off, or other suitable reward. If you are in charge of more than one team, you may pit them against one another in a friendly competition.
Team members know better than you do what is working and, more importantly, what doesn't work so well on a day-to-day basis. Ask for feedback from them on what is working well and what issues need to be ironed out. If you can create a safe forum in which team members can air grievances, such as an anonymous questionnaire, you are more likely to receive honest answers, which will be more helpful to you in addressing the concerns of team members.
Remember that the goal should not be to stifle any disagreements completely. That way, you also limit a lot of creative potential. The goal is to channel that energy in a direction that is constructive rather than destructive. Fostering a baseline level of respect among team members goes a long way toward reaching that goal.