As a sales leader, you can count on the fact that there will be constant change. It's all around you — in technology, the economy, your team, and industry conditions.
At times, it can seem impossible to prepare for and navigate the sea of changes you face, but successful sales managers adapt and adjust, and even embrace the changes.
Whether the change is a small adjustment or a seismic shift, leaders have the ability to reduce uncertainty and smoothly maneuver the tumult of change.
Changes Facing Today’s Sales Leaders
One of the biggest changes facing leaders today is the advent and expansion of hybrid work.
For most organizations, this is a completely new way of working with no history from which to build upon. What are the new norms? How can we be sure that everyone has what they need for the work environment they are in? Uncertainty for managers, as well as those they lead.
In addition to accelerating the new ways in which we work, the pandemic has given people the opportunity to mentally inventory how they view work and what motivates them.
Mindsets have changed and priorities associated with work/life harmony are assessed through a new lens creating new dynamics between sales leaders and their people. The new demands of the work force may cause mangers to adjust their leadership style, interact with their direct reports in a new way or adopt an entire new approach to recruitment.
So, new ways of working together, new employee expectations, what other changes are sales leaders facing?
Probably one of the most difficult to wrap or heads around — virtual selling. Managers have to manage their own expectations, take seller comfort, experience, and learning curves into account, AND help prospects and current accounts adjust to the new way relationships are cultivated and maintained.
Cultivating Change from Challenge to Opportunity
Change does not have to be painful, in fact, changes present opportunities to improve and strengthen.
When it comes to working through change in our professional lives, we can approach the challenges above as an opportunity to build stronger bonds with our salespeople and clients, and overall improve organizational outcomes. Consider these ways in which you can help others see change as less of a challenge:
- Begin with the WHY. When we understand the reasons for the change, and the positive outcomes it will bring, it can be more palatable to step outside our comfort zones.
- Communication, communication, communication. You can’t communicate enough during a time of change.
Group and individual communication are important. Townhall meetings are a good way to reach everyone and keep them on the same page, but be sure to incorporate discussions on changes, as well as the impact into your Individual Focus Meetings.
Measure effectiveness by utilizing two-way communication, including pulse surveys.
- Provide ongoing training as it relates to the change. Consider appointing internal change advocates or champions. Give people the opportunity to ask a peer who is well-versed in the ongoing change, coupled with easy to access training and resources, such as FAQs.
- Be empathetic to others and utilize grit to overcome your own challenges. Allowing yourself to see things from multiple vantage points will help ease others through the tough ties, but it can take its toll on you! Call on your grit, digging deep into your spirit of perseverance with your eyes on the long-term goal and future state.
Control the Change, Don’t Let the Change Control You
In the end, we can’t stop changes from happening, but we can stop them from becoming a negative force.
Change is inevitable and constant, but it is not impossible to overcome. Be transparent, communicate often, and build trusting relationships with your people. When we listen, act, and share – we control the process, instead of IT controlling US.