In today’s work environment, every employee seems to be looking for the next best thing. The sales industry in particular sees a turnover rate of nearly 12 percent! With competition for promotions, raises, deals, and more, it can be easy to forget about the glue that holds the workplace together: teamwork.
Creating a positive, team-oriented workplace helps to improve employee retention, morale, collaboration and sense of self-worth. But how can you cultivate that environment in a market dominated by constant innovation, fast-paced growth and the sustained demand for more, better, and faster?
The answer is that you make team building a top priority and get all of your salespeople involved. Here are some of the top team building activities for sales reps.
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Some well-thought-out and intentional team building activities can break the ice and unlock positive conversations and momentum for your sales team. Here, we’ve broken down the team building process to identify key skills and strategies along with some activities to help you improve each area. Try out some of these ideas to get the ball rolling.
Clear communication is crucial for a positive team environment. It helps everyone feel on the same page, ensures all members are working toward a common goal, and helps prevent confusion and stress.
A good, old-fashioned game of telephone doesn’t just lighten the mood and bring you back to summer camp days. It can also help to drive home the importance of clear communication and the consequences of misconstruing messages.
To get started, line your teams up, give the first person in line a phrase to say, and have them whisper it in the next person’s ear. Participants should continue whispering the message down the line, all the way until the last person repeats the phrase aloud.
Often times, the original phrase morphs as the message gets passed along the chain. This sort of process and outcome provides a great opportunity to talk about how directions, feedback, and information get distorted when people don’t communicate clearly.
Active listening is not only a major part of communication and teamwork, it’s essential to an effective consultative sales process. Especially during contentious encounters, people tend to talk past one another, so wrapped up in thinking about what they want to say that they don’t even listen to the other person’s point of view. Employing active listening skills helps team members become more empathetic and generate collaborative, innovative ideas with full input.
Activity: Pair Up & Practice
Partner up different team members for a conversation, and every five minutes rotate partners. Think of this activity as speed-dating, but for active listening. When in pairs, advise participants to employ the following active listening rules: 1) Pay attention, 2) Show you’re listening, 3) Paraphrase and repeat back what you hear, 4) Provide feedback, and 5) Defer judgment.
To test listening skills, have the listener repeat back to the room the key points of the speaker. After the activity is over, gather the group back together to reflect on how it went, how each active listening rule was used in conversation, and how the use of these rules changed the conversation for both participants.
Presentation skills factor heavily into team dynamics. The ability to distill ideas and craft a compelling argument is an essential skill for salespeople. Encouraging presentation practice helps to improve this skill and boost overall team morale.
Activity: Create a Pitch Challenge
Create teams of 3-4 people and challenge each member to create a sales pitch for an office supply on their desk—in five minutes. This is a quick game that challenges creativity and requires everyone to think on their feet, deliver with confidence, and hone their sales skills.
Performing these rapid-fire pitches can help to get everyone comfortable with presenting while providing opportunity for feedback and improvement.
Underlining all of these skills is a fundamental sense of team camaraderie. Respect, understanding, and appreciation of teammates helps everyone work toward common goals. In a sales team, reps will have individual quotas, but they also need to be aware of overall team goals. Building teamwork can help to foster a sense of accountability while providing opportunities for higher performing reps to train others.
Working together on a project for a good cause is a great way to remind team members that they are part of something bigger than themselves, driving home the necessity of everyone’s individual contribution.
Activity: Get Involved in your Community
To build general teamwork and goodwill, consider scheduling quarterly team volunteer outings. These can involve anything from building a home to working in a community garden or volunteering at a homeless shelter. These sorts of experiences highlight what’s possible when a whole team comes together, and they can be a great way to build friendship and respect outside of the work setting.
In the end, the activities that improve team morale can also improve the skills needed for successful sales. If your employees can master these fundamentals, that success will translate to your bottom line. Improving your teamwork can result in wins for your salespeople, your clients, your workplace culture, and your organization at large.
Is your sales team falling behind performance expectations? HireDNA offer sales performance evaluations to uncover skills gaps in your team, and we deliver advanced training through a customizable cloud-based learning platform to improve performance.
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