By Pete Honsberger
Herding cats. It’s a phrase that applies to someone tasked with bringing together a group of independent thinkers and getting them to behave as a group.
Whoever came up with that phrase was probably a sales manager.
If your company has cats, they’re in the sales department. Salespeople are frequently on the road, working alone. But they’re still your employees, and you’ll want to get them together from time to time. There are new tactics to teach, best practices to share and awards to hand out – and a cultural booster shot can help keep morale high.
That’s when you dangle the catnip – a sales retreat. A few days at an appealing location to recharge the batteries. But how can you get the most out of the very limited time you have with your sales team?
Start at the end
Nail down the desired outcomes of the retreat in advance. Whether or not you plan a formal agenda, make sure you have firm answers to the following questions: “What do I want my people to have learned by the end of this?” and “What do I want them feeling passionate about?” Build all of your activities with those two questions in mind.
Stoke the competitive fire
Salespeople are competitive. Whether it’s against each other for company bragging rights, or beating the snot out of the competition, salespeople want to win. Use that to your advantage throughout the retreat. Introduce statistics that show members of your sales team how they’re stacking up against each other, and within the industry. Even if you’re having a great sales year, point out competitors that are doing just a tiny bit better than they are. It drives competitive personalities crazy to know that something is just out of reach. It’s a supreme motivator.
Create a roadmap
Develop a clear road map for how your team will use the lessons learned at the retreat. These lessons should take the form of actionable items that take the “why you should do this” and turn them into a “how you’ll do it.” And set goals that need to be accomplished within a given time frame. Do you want to increase sales by a given margin within the next 12 months? If so, state that, in crystal clear language, along with how your team is going to make it happen.
Build in downtime
Yes, you want to teach and share and improve. But it’s also called a retreat for a reason. Don’t schedule your people to death. Give them some free time to decompress, shoot the breeze and recharge. Remember: You want your team walking out energized, not exhausted.
If you’re thinking about planning your next sales retreat, CultureShoc has the resources and expertise to make it fun and crazy productive. Visit cultureshoc.com or call us at (844) 336-SHOC for more information.