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Effective communication improves performance in disparate sales teams

Author: Jon Zeslawski

A major stumbling block for many dispersed and disparate sales teams is often the ability to communicate effectively - to be able to set and review targets, share ideas and to work together to improve the overall customer experience. Developing this communication is a common challenge for many managers of ‘virtual’ teams and no mean feat when you consider the complexities.

Imagine a team of 5 sales personnel, working together but meeting only once a month and occasionally visiting the office. This team is part of a region of 5 other similar teams and this region is just one of 10 throughout the UK. Yet they are expected to work together to deliver exceptional customer service. Now picture a similar scenario occurring in the support team - poor team communication, lack of structured meetings, siloed individual workloads and targets - resulting in an inconsistent approach and often variable level of customer service.

We understood that these teams needed to communicate every day; and not just talk, but have meaningful, data driven and fact-based discussion about their team performance displayed in a visual format for all to see and understand. Using principles developed as part of the 'Unipart Way' we designed, developed and implemented daily performance meetings. These 'Communication Cells' empower each individual in the team to discuss ideas and concerns, display accountability for team performance, as well as an open and honest view of what is expected of them. Most importantly however, they are empowered to solve problems at their own level and to drive innovation as a team.

Our challenge was how to make this successful across multiple locations, when traditionally we would have a physical display board right at the Gemba. To overcome this we met the teams in their space, virtually hosting the performance board in the cloud, meaning every member of staff could access it every day for the 15 minute team meeting. As a result of using the 'communication cell' technique the teams are now far more engaged, displaying a higher morale and are continually out-performing other teams and organisations with consistent upward trends for KPI's. Most importantly however, their customers are now receiving consistent exceptional service in light of these changes.

By applying the principles of the ‘Unipart Way’ and delivering the tools through modern channels we were successfully able to improve the overall performance of those disparate teams, an achievement I know would be of significant value to many managers in the sales environment.

The Unipart Way: performance improvement that sustains

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