The Best Sales Teams Will Be Flexible

9th Jul 2021


The major benefit to working in any startup is being able to see how every part of the business operates. And it’s become very clear to me in my own 5 years of entering & leading sales teams and having eyes and ears in other sales teams, is that Sales is usually the least innovative area.

Although Startups (and founders) may find themselves at the innovation tip of an industry with their products. In regards to business & sales operations, they’re usually far behind. And it’s simply the case of misplaced attention. The focus is unfortunately on “productivity”(vanity) metrics, instead of realised performance (x£ invoiced).

Now, why is it that so many believe their sales team should be in the office? The answer is usually an amalgamation of “well it promotes culture/confidence/team-work/productivity” or my favourite “I need to actually see my sales team doing the work.” - what “work” exactly? Calling? Emailing? Why?!

This old way of looking at the ‘sales team’ is outdated and lags far behind. It’s time to get a grip of ourselves and define the objective.

The objective of your sales team is none of the above previously mentioned vanity-metrics. Your sales teams objective is simply; ‘to move money from a customers bank to your bank’. That’s it. Next.

For that to happen, your sales personnel need to be in the most personally optimal environment possible. Remember, these are the guys and girls at the spearhead of communication and social interaction. Every single day they are communicating with dozens & dozens of people from any multiple of backgrounds and personalities. Every email, text, call, zoom, has to be constructed in a unique fashion per person whilst remaining true and honest to your own personality. Because truth & honesty win way more deals than constructs. But the execution, depending on who they're talking to, has to be tailored.

Imagine trying to do that whilst hyped up on caffeine, walking in to an office dead on 0859 with your boss looking over your shoulder. Almost childish.

You should be treating your sales team as well as they are treating your prospective clients, and therefore your prospective revenue.

If half the team are early birds and like to get up at 0500 to workout and get to their desk for 0700 so they can finish at 1600, you need to make that possible. And if the other half like start later and do intense 90 minute blocks of work followed by 30 minutes rest, you need to make that possible. Some of them are mothers, some of them are disabled, some of them are introverted (many!) and some are egotistical movie-star-like confident 20 year olds. All of them need to be facilitated in their own environment. They need to be the best version of themselves every single day. Especially if you're a startup business where the all elusive “sales” is the hardest puzzle to crack.

Do not think of this as how your sales team best want to work for themselves.

Go to them and ask this - “This year your revenue invoiced target is X. For you personally, without limitations, how would your optimal working week look like? In regards to your daily start/finish time, accumulated hours per week, which days on/off, your location, your preferred equipment, your preferred catch-ups with me, and what can I do to ensure you are happy striving to reach that defined target? Design your perfect working week for me.”

With your key performance indicator in place, which can of course be broken down quarterly or monthly perhaps. You can throw out all the useless productivity metric graphs, knowing the one true thing that matters to your business (revenue) is covered. And that your sales individuals are now in a psychological place that they have designed to best achieve your goal.

It’s a simple realisation; you want your sales team to make you money. Let them do it. That’s flexibility.

Wondering what to change in your approach to flexible working?

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