How do I ensure that my team is all on the same page?
How can I best help my team perform the way I want them to perform?
I have been catching up on old episodes of "Friday Night Lights" on Netflix. Last night, I watched an episode where something happened to the team's home field, and the coaches were forced to find a remote site to practice on. They had to literally build a field from the ground up. This got me thinking about something that managers need to do every day in the business world – lay out the playing field for their employees. It's important to set boundaries so that the people under you can perform the way you want them to perform.
In the working world, this means making sure your team is on the same page with not only what is expected of them, but also what tools they have at their disposal that can be used to accomplish those goals. By giving your team boundaries, it will be easier for you to not only monitor performance, but also optimize their behavior for the future.
As I have talked about before, I believe that "if it can be measured, it can be improved." Once you establish the metrics for success, and you make your employees accountable for hitting those metrics, you can monitor behavior to ensure you are putting yourself in the best position to succeed.
An important first step in making sure your team is on the path to success is standardization. In other words, you need to confirm that all of your salespeople understand the company's value proposition. Everyone on your team needs to be pitching the sale the same way, with the same features and benefits that are approved by the company.
You also need to ensure that all of your salespeople are using the same tools. In other words, you need to make sure that they're all playing on the same field, with the same equipment. This will allow you to effectively determine how to improve. If everyone is pitching the same value proposition to clients, then you can truly compare what is working and what isn't. If everyone has the same assets to offer a prospect when they are making the pitch, you can easily evaluate each prospect's reaction.
I would suggest that you have daily or weekly meetings with the team to evaluate feedback from the field after they have been in front of clients. Then, make any necessary changes.
In sports, there are objective metrics of performance – 10 yards for a first down, three strikes and you're out, a goal in soccer is worth one point. Because of these objective measures, the coaches can evaluate the performance of each of their players evenly. Imagine what would happen if two players on the same team were given different tools. It would be very difficult to determine where the disconnect was.
Back to "Friday Night Lights." If the coach let one of his running backs wear cleats and had another running back wear sneakers, how could he accurately determine the impact of the "tool" (footwear) on performance?
As a manager, you need to set the playing field for your employees. Make sure that you bring the group together as a team and that everyone understands not only the boundaries and the rules, but also your expectations of their performance and the tools that you are giving them to get there. You will quickly find the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts, as the new team mentality along with the unified focus will exponentially increase your revenue.
Allan Barmak is a national speaker and author of "The Accidental Salesperson." He leads a sales consulting and training firm which leverages his 20 years of sales experience in digital media. Over the years, he has worked with a variety of different companies across a wide range of industries, helping each of them expand their sales operations by optimizing existing revenue streams as well as building new ones.
He is available to run customized training for your salespeople to help them sell online media and can also deliver an "Accidental Salesperson" column for your paper if you would like additional content.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 597-1033.