You’ve spent hours interviewing, training, and coaching your inside sales team to help them hit their goals. But are you truly ‘sitting’ them up for success?
While open floor-plans in offices are in vogue, we shouldn’t always succumb to every trend. (Clogs, jeggings, mullets… need I say more?)
The New Yorker, in a review of research on this nouveau workplace design, determined that the benefits in building camaraderie simply mask the negative effects on work performance. While employees feel like they’re part of a laid-back, innovative enterprise, the environment ultimately damages workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction.
- Lindsey Kaufman, The Washington Post
Inside sales reps, in particular, need to be able to make calls in a calm, quiet and controllable environment. Can you imagine prospecting while 5, 15, or 50 of your closest colleagues hold their own conversations? This makes no sense for those of who make our livings talking and listening for 3+ hours a day.
Take a look at Glassdoor reviews posted by inside sales reps and you'll find descriptions like "fishbowl," "boiler room," "Grand Central Station," and (my favorite) "like making sales calls from first row at an MMA [mixed marial arts] fight."
I'm often asked by CEOs and other Sales VPs why they don’t hear the “buzz” on the sales floor. In many cases, it’s because reps are making calls from conference rooms, empty offices, and vacant hallways to avoid the noise and disruptions. Want to get the buzz back but still keep that open feel? Here are a few quick thoughts:
- Give reps individual workspaces with partitions, but create open-space common areas so that reps can work together when needed.
- Keep the work environment professional. Sales reps work hard to build a prospect’s trust and credibility and it falls apart when the prospect can hear the grind of skateboard wheels and F-bombs in the background. (True story, sadly.)
- You can still foster a laid-back culture by hosting after office happy hours, company outings, and less formal dress code.
- Increased collaboration and communication doesn't require squeezing more people per square foot. Conduct regular town hall meetings keeping everyone up-to-speed on the latest initiatives and tout both individual and company successes.
- When was the last time your employees saw the sun between 9-5? I've visited more than a few sales floors that seemed better suited to cave-trolls that inside reps. Seat them near some windows. Outdoor views improve performance and that cavelike environment isn't helping your recruiting.
As W. Clement Stone said, "You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Are the things around you helping you toward success - or are they holding you back?" Apply these principals to your teams environment and help aid in their success.
How do you create an environment that helps your team be successful?
(Photo credit: Eric Wüstenhagen)