Although sales is often thought of as a solitary profession, the development of teamwork is important for a number of reasons:
To provide for social interaction
To share knowledge & experience
To work on large customer opportunities
To utilise the full range of skills of each team member
To develop sales and customer strategy
To create opportunities for motivation and personal development
But throwing people together does not develop a team. Team development normally proceeds through specific stages that needs to be facilitated by sales management.
First Team Development Stage – Forming
In the initial stages of team development, sales management needs to establish clear ground rules and responsibilities that give the team its sense of purpose.
These management actions will help to remove the inevitable confusion and anxiety that normally exists as team members first get to know each other.
Second Team Development Stage – Storming
In this second stage of team development, sales managers need to calm any disagreements and smooth out the jockeying for status and position that can occur.
Management therefore needs to spend time addressing any concerns or issues and to stress the advantages of teamwork in increasing overall sales performance and in providing opportunities for individual development.
Third Development Stage – Norming
In this third stage of its development, the team has begun to settle down and to establish its way of working. Sales managers can now begin to exploit the increasing cohesiveness of the team and explain how it should move towards the achievement of specific objectives.
Fourth Team Development Stage – Performing
When a team has reached this stage in its development, it can handle even greater levels of pressure and performance and should be stretched for higher levels of achievement.
Sales management at this stage of the team’s development should push for even more opportunity and information sharing and should create even more important sales projects for the team to work on.
Fifth Team Development Stage – Decaying
It is common for teams to lose their effectiveness over time. This is because individuals come and go and due to changes in the sales and customer environment.
Such changes provide management with the opportunity to reinvigorate the team with new members or to set it new tasks and objectives in order to renew team effectiveness.
Good teamwork within sales can bring together all the talents within the group to maximise sales performance and to provide the motivational opportunities of personal development and social interaction.