Times are tough and you need to be clever to stay in the game.
Unfortunately more and more these days companies are looking into cutting back and become a leaner more efficient place to be.
Often cutbacks can be simple and it means you no longer get the nice post it notes, or the free fruit has been stopped.
Unfortunately however sometimes even more drastic measures are taken and the employees take the full force of the financial situation. When a managing board decides to take the action to slim line the staffing, it's quite often done to the detriment of the ones who stay behind.
Of course in these circumstances some people are lucky to keep their jobs; but with less manpower usually doing the same work the company can suffer even more.
The bottom line isn't always due to numbers, but down to training, or rather lack thereof.
Recently an ex-colleague of mines' sales force was almost halved overnight because the company wasn't performing as they once were. It would seem that no one was asked if they needed more support. No one was given the opportunity to learn extra skills or enhance existing ones. Just axed.
Surprisingly the following month the figures had not improved and the board was perplexed. Why? Often you need to invest in your teams, not reduce the salary packages.
We all realise that it can often 'roll downhill' when things start to go wrong for a company. But looking at and more importantly looking after the foot soldiers can be done is a variety of ways.
Companies that don't invest in a simple thank you' will suffer in the long run.
At Christmas some firms tend to offer some sort of reward; a bottle of wine, an early dart even meals out. Something that makes them feel appreciated.
Come Red Nose Day the office can be littered with funny outfits and Children In Need and Sport Relief events also have the same effect.
Both large corporations and small firms will get involved with this; but those who don't do suffer. Even if they don't realise it. We are all human as cheesy as that sounds; we all need a virtual hug from our employer occasionally.
The output by any given employee if they feel appreciated is always going to be to the benefit of their co-workers and then of course the company as a whole.
So why the blind spot? Why do so many management teams look at the figures but not necessarily the facts. Does the key to executive bathroom give them blinkers?
Unfortunately in a lot of teams, the General may not have been part of the infantry so they don't understand the tools required to do the job effectively. If you haven't ever done the job then how can you coach people to do it better right?
If you are a manger of any team, but particularly sales, try these ideas on for size:
1- You can start by asking, shadowing, following and see that learning happens both ways. Having an aerial view is great, but you can't see the detail. Flying over the Hoover Dam doesn't show you the work that has gone into it now does it.
2- Understand that the call time is less important than the actual call. Adding a time limit to your teams call times in an attempt to serve more customers can easily result in poor customer service.
3- Call volume counts for nothing. Many sales teams have a target number of calls to make per day. However make this a priority over actual results and half your team will start focusing on how many receptionists they can call and not decision makers.
4- Do you know your team at all? Are they married? Kids? Dog? A keen para-glider? If you don't know much about them chances are you have no idea what drives them.
5- Inform them of any changes or promotions before the public knows. If a customer tells your team what offers are on before you tell them then they are on the back-foot straight away.
6- Ask for input. How are you actually doing? You may do their one to ones and appraisals but it can help to run that both ways. Just don't hold a grudge if you ask for honesty - you well get it! Be brave
7- Actually have time for your team. Too often a manager will say they are too busy to help or listen right now. If you are not there to assist then why are you their manager at all?
These may seem obvious but do you really do them?