Here are three of the most common reasons for a sales team to lose focus, along with some suggested fixes.
When a sales team loses focus, it can derail all of your short- and long-term sales goals. As their manager, it’s your job to minimize distractions and find ways to keep your sales team focused. Unfortunately, you have many distractions working against you. It would seem that we live in an age of constant distractions, and trying to reduce them can be an uphill battle. However, if you take a methodical approach, it’s not that difficult to find reasons that your sales team is losing focus. Once you’ve identified those reasons, fixing them usually only requires small adjustments to your routines. Here are three of the most common reasons for a sales team to lose focus, along with some suggested fixes.
Your sales team probably deals with dozens, if not hundreds, of distractions every day. Telephone calls, emails, text messages, and other distractions all demand their attention. Every time they respond to one of those distractions, they’re pulling their focus away from what should be their core objective-closing sales. Studies have shown that every time a worker is distracted from a task, it takes them longer to re-focus on the task when they get back to it. How many of those distractions are directly related to sales? If they’re like most people, most of those distractions can wait.
And wait they should. As the sales manager, you should establish a policy the business email is only used for business. No cat pictures; no food drive notices; no advertisements for Girl Scout cookies-save the personal emails for personal time. The same goes for texts and telephone calls. As for business communications, set aside a period of time each day to respond to non-essential emails. By dealing with tangential communications during a set time, your sales team can spend the rest of the workday relatively distraction free.
Loss of focus can also be caused by setting distant goals. Your sales team, like most people, will work better with smaller, more frequent goals. Long-term goals are great for the company, but individuals need gratification that is more frequent. Working for weeks or months, only to realize that the goal still isn’t in sight, can be disheartening. Once a sales team starts to lose heart, losing focus will quickly follow.
Try breaking your goals into weekly, or even daily, chunks. All of the individual goals should still build toward the long-term vision of the company, but they can be viewed in smaller parts. That way, your sales team will always be able to see a real, tangible goal coming into view. This constant gratification will motivate them to work toward those goals and, before they know it, they’ll be right on the brink of achieving the long-term goal.
Sales managers tend to wear many different hats. Like many managers, you’ve probably had additional responsibilities added to your job description over the years. That’s fine for you, but it can be a distraction to your sales team. If they see you in a different role throughout the day or week, it can be hard for them to know which role to emulate. You’re their leader and their example to follow. If that example seems fragmented, it can cause them to lose focus on their responsibilities.
While it’s not always possible, you should try to be a Sales Manager at all times when your sales team is around. The better the example you set, the better they’ll be able to follow it. Try to handle your other tasks during times when your sales team is otherwise occupied. Put aside a set time to deal with as many other responsibilities as possible, and let your sales team know that during that time, you’re wearing a different hat. When that time is up, return to your sales team wearing only your sales manager hat.
Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.