Managing a sales team is difficult. Your people are distributed across geographies and the pace of change makes it hard to keep everyone informed with the latest information. As a result, most companies with distributed sales forces find themselves losing valuable time to conference calls when they could be making sales.
One major health care technology company communicates through newsletters and emails and has no interactive engagement. A major Fortune 50 depends on 2.5 hour long conference calls weekly, just to keep their teams apprised of market dynamics and industry shifts.
Surely there is a better way.
The problem of communication gets worse when you read the research of how headquarters and field offices view the world. In one study by Boston Consulting Group, line managers and people in the field indicated they are more pessimistic about their company’s global readiness than headquarters staff. They feel that communication tools and interconnectedness is insufficient to embrace the emerging global opportunities.
But “Headquarter bias” persists, where the C-suite feels better about their readiness to go global than the folks in the field. This is partly a product of poor feedback loops, which can plague sales teams as well.
Sales teams need to be connected with headquarters, not just to receive information and the optimistic projections being shared with investors, but to share insights from customers on the ground in a way that is manageable and useful to other field reps.
Sales people want one thing: to sell more stuff. But if headquarters is not positioning them for greatness, they will feel frustrated and without a partner to turn to.
The tools used to communicate (beyond the CRM) will determine if your team is ready for what’s next.