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How to Give Feedback to Your Sales Team

Feedback is essential to any team’s success and more so for the sales team. Without feedback, the team continues doing the same act over and over again and wishfully expects different results.

Giving feedback is not an easy task, and most of the sales managers are not good at it. From my experience of building large teams and helping a number of entrepreneurs in structuring sales processes to drive revenue, here are quick pointers on how to give feedback to your sales team.

 

Be Descriptive

While giving feedback to the sales team, relate, as objectively as possible to what you saw the other person do or what you heard him say. Give specific examples from recent past; avoid giving feedback, which is dated, as it would lead to disagreement.

 

Avoid using labels

Be clear, specific and unambiguous. Words like immature, unprofessional, irresponsible and prejudiced are labels we attach to sets of behaviour. While giving feedback, describe the behaviour, but avoid labelling them. For example, you could say, ” You missed the deadline we had all agreed to meet” rather than saying “You are irresponsible and I want to know what are you going to do about it?’

 

Avoid exaggerating

While giving feedback to your sales team, it’s best not to exaggerate things, saying, ” You are always late for deadlines” may not be true and hence will be seen as unfair. By exaggerating, you invite the person receiving the feedback to start an argument rather than looking at the real issue.

 

Avoid being Judgmental

By using words as good, bad, better, worst and should, you position yourself as a controlling parent. The usage of these control words, make the person receiving the feedback respond the way a child responds. Once the parent and child loop gets started, you end up in shutting the other person down and squander the opportunity to coach.

 

Avoid speaking for others

While giving feedback, avoid using references to people who are not present that point of time. For example, avoid making statements like ” A lot of people here don’t like it when you….”. You should avoid becoming a conduit for other people’s feedback; they need to deliver it themselves, instead of channelizing it through you.

 

Avoid using the word you

By giving feedback to another person with statements that start with you, the defense gets triggered, and they are less likely to absorb what you are saying. Take a look at these four statements

  1. You are generally late for meetings
  2. You are always on time for meetings
  3. I feel annoyed when you are late for meetings
  4. I appreciate that you come to meetings on time

The first two statements convey a parent-child dialogue, and the other two express an adult/peer relationship. Even if you stand higher in the pecking order than the receiver of the feedback, strive to maintain an adult/peer relationship.

 

Avoid phrasing the issue as a question

By phrasing your feedback as a question, you are giving a signal to the respondent that they better change their behaviour. See the difference in these two statements

  1. When are you going to stop being late for the meetings?
  2. I don’t feel good when you are late for meetings.

The statement one tends to make people defensive and angry while the statement number two implies that there is an issue that must be resolved jointly.

I have used this mantra to give feedback to my sales team; my team has overachieved results over the years. In case you need help in pumping up your sales number, give me a shout and our sales Jedi will be at your service.

29. 12. 2016|Categories: Productivity|

How Platformax Team Manages Complex Projects

At Platformax we handle complex sales improvement projects, many at times we help our clients look for a needle in a haystack to improve their sales numbers. Over the years our team has perfected a delivery process that helps us stay ahead of the pack. Through this article, I am sharing them with you. We weave the following in every project that we run at Platformax.

 

Communicate, Communicate & Communicate

Time and again I have seen that the success of the project depends on how well the team members communicate not only among themselves but also to anyone likely to be affected or interested in their activities. For example, if a team was about to collect data from a working production line, team members should notify all supervisors and operators in advance and tell them when the data will be collected. Similarly, a team studying how employees in an office use their time should explain that the goal is to identify inefficient systems and not lazy employees. By following this mode of communication, we at Platformax get cooperation from our colleagues and often get suggestions for improvements along the way.

Whenever we are implementing Platformax sales improvement projects at our client’s office, we make sure that we don’t stick to notifying people about the changes, but go beyond and explain why the changes are being done and how it will impact them for good in the short as well as long-term.

 

Don’t wait to plug the hole

Over the years after handling multiple sales improvement projects, I know for sure that when you get better at studying processes, you start unearthing a lot more problems that need to be fixed. Our approach at Platformax is to explore issues in depth and collecting enough data for solving it once and for all. However, many times, some problems are easily fixable and don’t need elaborate analysis, this is what our team calls “Platform-sense”, we fix it then and there without getting into a paralysis of analysis. Our sales Jedi recommends that our team answers these questions before applying their “Platform-sense.”

  1. What’s the worst that could happen if this solution doesn’t work?
  2. How easy is it to undo the change?
  3. Will this delay other actions?
  4. How expensive will this change be regarding money and time?
  5. How much disruption will this change cause to our colleagues and clients?

In case most of these answers tread on the downside, we don’t implement the solution in haste. If the solution is simple to put in place and can be undone easily, we give it a shot.

  

We swim upstream like Salmon

Most of the problems we see are symptoms of other problems buried upstream in the process. For example variation in the product line may be due to the variation in raw materials; mistakes in customer’s bill may be the result of errors in the original order. To make improvements that stick, you must seek out these causes and find ways to prevent them. Whenever your team is faced with a problem, mentally walk through the entire process and see if you can identify upstream conditions that could be the cause of the problem.

 

Documentation wins hands down

In most of the organisations the same problem gets solved over and over again, and every time a hero gets created. At Platformax we are lazy and get bored if we have to solve the same problem twice, to feed our laziness we have created a log of the all the problems that we encounter and the proposed and implemented solutions along with end results. This has created a treasured repository for us, and we pride ourselves in discovering and solving new problems.

 

If you don’t measure it, it is smoke and mirrors

At Platformax we are great fans of Einstein, he said, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” We are not obsessed with measurement, and we have banned people from carrying measuring tapes to our client’s office, however keeping track of where we are and what we do is a part of our core ethos.

Rarely do things turn out exactly the way you plan, and you have to make multiple changes to the process before hitting the optimum point. We monitor all our actions so that we can quickly catch errors and prevent them from snowballing into blunders.

22. 12. 2016|Categories: Productivity, Project management|