Having spent several years early on in my career in inside sales call centers, there were a few consistant trends dispite the products, or individual companies. The most common trend was everyday more or less turning into the next, or the day before, or two weeks ago. In most call center “boiler room” type enviornments you have heavily monitored daily requirements, or metrics. Number of dials, talk time, demos scheduled, demos held, etc… These methodologies work well for the company, but more times then not; they don’t work well for the employee. Nobody wants to eat a tuna sandwich on rye everyday for lunch, why would you want the place where you majority of day repeating that same way? You wouldn’t.
So how can everyone get what they want? How does the company get their metrics met without alienating their employees?
1.) Engage Your Team
Develop a fun program based around what your salesteam wants. Sales people can only get excited about so many Starbucks, or Chili’s giftcards. If you hire correctly, you should have a team that craves engagement; most people get into sales because they want to control their own flow of income, they are social, and work hard for those fat commissions. What is often over looked, especially in large scale corporate environments; is that your team is comprised of individuals, with different motivations; they aren’t numbers, and there is no “best way” to manage every individual. Having sales managers identify these different motivators can tap into a different level of both productivity, and employee satisfaction. Employee engagement is a powerful thing, both for morale, and the bottom line.
2.) Train More Efficiently, and Make it fun
Training can be great, or it can go horribly wrong. Stuffing 20 people into a conference room meant for 10, and going over powerpoints for 2 days is so 2000. We need to remember some important things when doing training, just like when we are running demos. Potential new clients don’t sit with you in person, or on a webinar to read; they sit with you to learn, and be engaged. Our training shouldn’t be any different. Training is a sale within itself. You have your information, and you need your team to buy into it in order to achieve the goal. Using game based training tools, and a fun, competitive approach is a great way help material get absorbed.
3.) Make the office more inviting.
I’m not spend 100k per year offering free snacks to the office; but some basics definitely don’t hurt when it comes to perks. We need to remember, most employees spend more time at the office than they do their own homes, so the physical environment really matters. I had a “cubical buddy” a few years back who referred to our office as a “flourescent hell from the 80’s”. We had tube lights, gray 3 wall cubicals, gray walls, and some fake plants non-strategically placed… It was pretty bad. Keep in mind, the comment was coming from a guy was a top company performer, he was Presidents Club every year, and when it came to selling, he was straight dynamite. He’s the guy who our VP’s wanted everyone to sell like. Ultimately he left the company for a start up with a vibrant, engaging environment.
When looking into effectively removing the groudhog day scenario, it’s really not that hard if viewed realistically. Make the environment inviting, make employees feel like a people, and not like numbers, and engage them based on strengths, and weaknesses; you’ll surely see an uptick in productivity, and morale. A simple way to look at is as a manager, if you don’t like the environment, your team probably doesn’t either.