How to Create a High-Performance Sales Environment…

 

What sort of performance environment do your sales managers and sales leaders create for the sales teams in your company?

 

The performance environment present in your company will have a major impact on the performance of your sales people. The performance environment that exists will be heavily influenced by the behaviours and practices of your sales managers and sales leaders.

At Mentor Group our experience is that sales people perform best when their working environment has the correct blend of support and challenge.

The following model articulates how differing levels of support and challenge create four basic types of environment:

  1. If low levels of challenge and low levels of support are provided, then it is likely that an “Apathetic” environment will prevail – in short no-one really cares! Poor performance is accepted and rarely challenged in this sort of environment.
  2. If high levels of support but low levels of challenge are provided, then a “High Comfort” environment will exist. A “nice” place to work (perhaps), but performance is likely to be poor and the organisation will face risks in tougher more demanding market conditions. In this sort of environment, average levels of performance are tolerated.
  3. If there are high levels of the challenge but low levels of support, then a “High Stress” environment exists. This sort of environment is unlikely to provide sustainable levels of performance and higher levels of employee turnover and employee absence are likely to be consequences.
  4. If the optimum balance of high support and high challenge are provided, then a “High Performance” environment will exist. This will bring out the very best level of performance from your sales team as it simultaneously encourages your sales people and sets clear and challenging expectations about the required level of performance for them. This is a stimulating and dynamic place to work!

Take some time to consider the environment your sales managers and sales leaders have created for your sales teams. Which quadrant do you think exists? The quadrant may vary from team to team depending upon who the sales managers or sales leaders are, however broader organisational practices, provisions, processes and procedures will also play a significant role in shaping the performance environment.

 

What action do you need to take?

Do you need to increase the level challenge given to your sales people? For example, do you need to have more robust business reviews, pipeline and forecast reviews, more stretching targets or more tightly defined performance metrics?

Or do you need to increase the level of support given to your sales people? For example, do you need to provide them with training, coaching, new equipment, better back office support or less burdensome administration?

You can also flex the levels of support and challenge you are providing via regular coaching activity. Coaching can be used as both a driver of support and challenge and should be a regular feature of how your sales teams are managed.

In any company you don’t get the level of standards and performance that your sales people are asked for. You will get the level of standards and performance that are tolerated by your sales managers and sales leaders. It is the day to day behaviours of your sales managers and sales leaders, that your sales people experience on an on-going and regular basis, that will define the performance environment that exists within your company.