Often, sales teams focus on a single number: the number of deals the team closed. When that number changes for the better, the team celebrates. When it changes for the worse, it can be depressing and it challenges the team to do better in the next sales period.
Unfortunately, outside influences like a viral pandemic can affect those numbers no matter how hard a team strives to meet sales goals. Monthly closings may keep the company in the black, but if the company only uses that number to measure success, it can deflate a team’s motivation when serious outside influences impact objectives.
The problem with using a single sales number is when a team cannot reach that target, the team is not focused on winning future business as much as it is thinking about past losses. Experienced salespeople know that this is thinking in only one dimension. To move past an awful month, the team must have something more than just the company’s objectives in mind. The team has to find innovative ways to move past whatever caused the sales to drop.
This article by Lisa Earle McLeod, a leadership consultant and author of multiple books on success in sales, explains how team performance and attitudes have a tremendous effect on sales. She identifies those elements as how customers benefit from the company’s offering, and whether employees feel pride in their work.
When business is down for a protracted period, a team needs to focus on amplifying other successes. If the team can measure current customers’ love of the company’s offering, the team feels validated, even if sales are low. Though the bottom line may not look great at that moment, the team can rally around stories of how much value they gave to their customers through their hard work. Feeling good about what one does for a living is important because it motivates team members through difficult periods.
Employee pride is a more difficult thing to measure, but it falls in the category of corporate culture. A company with a clear purpose can push through hard times more readily when employees believe in what the company does. Staff can develop pride in working for a company when it is purpose-driven. Those employees will often develop a strong sense of organizational citizenship, borne out of such pride. This all means the people will be much more likely to find solutions to problems and innovate beyond the call of duty to ensure the company’s purpose, which they have adopted as their own, succeeds.
If those measurements are in place and felt within an organization, along with sales targets, the company’s employees become much more resilient to change, to innovation and to crisis, like COVID-19.
Unfortunately, measuring organizational citizenship, pride and belonging to corporate culture is hard to do without intrusive in-person interviews. Thankfully, there are tools available designed to measure such things as an employee’s tendency to develop organizational citizenship and to stick with the company though thick and thin when stress levels go up.
Cykometrix, a SaaS team assessment company, can measure those for a new candidate and can also help you tell if the new candidate will be a good fit to an existing team. Cykometrix’ services can also help human resources find the best candidate for a team, ensuring the new employee won’t jump ship at the first sign of trouble. Once hired, team leaders can use the Cykometrix Pulse system to measure team effectiveness, team climate and receive training suggestions to shore up team weaknesses. The company designed its services to take before and after snapshots (Pulses) so leadership can see how the team improves. Cykometrix’ online services can therefore help teams become more effective, more harmonious, and more resilient when confronted with stressful situations.
In the long term, what affects companies most is unpredictability. We cannot easily predict when the next crisis or sales slump will come from, but now at least, we can stabilize the effectiveness of our teams.