How to create Safety in Sales Orgs is a piece that really sums up what we, as a company, have been exploring during the craziness of 2020. Vladimir Lenin famously is quoted as saying There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen. 2020 is one of those years where decades happened in 12 months. Where we find ourselves is in an entirely new landscape of digital demos, with a lot of emotions, during a pandemic, and with an erratic economy. Work, for many, has been a safe space, but in sales, so much of the training guidelines are around scarcity, challenge, and inadvertently making the audience feel bad. We challenge our clients to sell a different way in 2021.
How to create Safety in Sales Orgs and Selling
The first step in creating a safe space for sales and selling is identifying what makes an unsafe sales and selling environment. We touched on these briefly, but here are some examples of what can create an unsafe selling environment and where communication can be stifled.
Unclear Hierarchies, Roles, Duties, and Responsibilities: When leaders assign different roles and therefore expectations to multiple teams or individuals, then expect competing solutions, the environment is unhealthy. Confusion leads to competition where it should not exist. All should be working towards common goals, using the same metrics.
Frequent Communication Breakdowns: Miscommunication is the death of productivity. Some issues in communication exist because management and individuals are not supported in communicating in healthy and balanced ways. When healthy communication is not actively worked towards in organizations, unhealthy communication can flourish and be a norm. Unhealthy communication includes passive aggressive, aggressive, and passive communication rather than direct and fruitful dialogue.
Frequent turnaround is a result of both poor communication and unclear boundaries in organizations with regard to responsibilities and duties. Frequent hiring and firing is an HR nightmare and consequently leads to more insecurity in jobs.
How does a Safe Sales Environment Look?
Safe Sales Environments are typified by organized roles and responsibilities, the assessment by established metrics, and security in the organization and the individuals role within it. But how do you go about doing this?
- Structure: Leadership needs to create at least a dynamic structure of duties and responsibilities for teams and individuals. Teams and individuals need to feel that their performance of these will be rewarded and that their place in the organization is secure.
- Communication: Non violent communication should be instituted and DEI training implemented. Non-violent communication is typified by using I statements, taking accountability for your own work and contribution to work, and absolving blame on events or team members. Communication within the structure should be frequent and transparent. DEI training and other sales trainings or retreats should be regularly offered for the entire organization.
- Culture: Form a normative language through the whole organization to communicate by. Sometimes to create a safe selling space and environment, it is useful to go on retreats, or hire coaches to check in and assess the health of the organization.
How to create Safety in Sales Orgs and How does this affect sales?
When an entire revenue organization displays symptoms listed above, it becomes apparent in many areas of a sale. If an individual does not foresee stability in the present position, they may not sell for longevity, they may just go for the quick sale. It is similarly apparent in a demo or presentation when an organization is not structured and prospects are unclear on features of a product or how their sale will proceed. Lastly, without proper training, your audiences may be inadvertently excluded in presentations and portions of the sales cycle. This damages your reputation permanently.