High-performance teams are the foundation for successful organizations, driving innovation, productivity, and profitability. Corporate team building is crucial to create and sustain these teams. Teams have potential for success, yet many face challenges like trust, collaboration, change, and obstacles. Success relies on enhancing cooperation, accountability, teamwork, and leader's role in corporate team building.

My mission is to empower individuals, teams, and organizations with the tools and knowledge to activate their full potential. By sharing real-world anecdotes, practical advice, and actionable takeaways, I aim to inspire and challenge attendees to overcome perceived limitations. Together, we can enhance teamwork, overcome challenges, and achieve success. In this article I will share the challenges to sales team building along with some recent examples of how I helped sales teams activate their potential.

Team Building Challenges in Sales Teams

Building a strong team is crucial for any successful business. However, it's not always a smooth journey. Organizations often face various challenges when it comes to forming effective teams. Here are some of the most common team building obstacles and how I approach them. It's important to note that each organization has unique hurdles, and understanding these challenges is vital for a successful engagement. I tailor my keynotes, workshops, and coaching sessions accordingly, customizing my work to address their specific needs.

Team building in commission-based industries, such as real estate, financial services, automotive, software and retail sales, can present a unique set of challenges. Here are the obstacles I have encountered the most often:

  1. Competition versus Collaboration: In a commission-based structure, employees are often driven to compete for sales, which can create a competitive environment that inadvertently builds “silos” which prevent team cohesion and collaboration.

  2. Lack of Trust: The competitive nature of commission-based industries can also breed a lack of trust among team members. They may hesitate to share successful strategies or client information with colleagues who could potentially use it to their advantage. Individuals develop a mindset of scarcity which crushes trust and collaboration.

  3. Uneven Earnings: In some industries, commission-based sales team often deal with cyclical earnings. If sales teams are fractured, these uneven earning cycles often lead to high turnover in sales departments. The lack of team focus leads to a mindset of short-sighted earning focus.

  4. Burnout: Sales is a mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding job. The pressure to meet sales targets requires teams to handle stress and develop stamina. If team dynamics are lacking, individuals take on too much stress which can lead to poor morale and lower performance, often resulting in burnout.  

  5. Geographic Dispersion: Sales teams in commission-based industries are often scattered across different geographic territories, making regular face-to-face interaction and team building challenging. Lack of team connection leads to loneliness which often prevents people from performing at their best.

Example: Industry Leading Logistics Company

Problem: Inspiring a Sales Team to Excel in an Industry Downturn

Overview: The logistics industry is inherently cyclical, making it crucial for sales teams to possess deep industry knowledge to successfully close deals and move freight. Training logistics sales personnel is a time-consuming process, making it imperative to retain them for a company's competitive advantage. My objective was to motivate the sales team to remain focused on client care initiatives, even though new sales and commissions were months away. Additionally, I aimed to enhance their individual mindset and foster a stronger team dynamic.

Outcome: I collaborated closely with the President/COO and the Chief Marketing Officer of the company to grasp their conference objectives and incorporate the themes of other speakers. The keynote I crafted seamlessly blended elements from three different keynotes—Unstoppable Mindset, Teams, and Culture.

The first theme, known as the "mindset horizon," set the foundation for two additional themes that utilized powerful tools like the Focus Funnel and the CARE loop to overcome the challenges of a downturn. I emphasized the importance of leveraging factors within our control to change our individual and team directions. The result was a tailored 75-minute keynote that left the President saying, "That was EXACTLY what we needed."

Example: Top Commercial Real Estate Company

Problem: How to Encourage Cross-selling Opportunities within the Sales Team

Overview: This renowned and industry-leading commercial real estate company has successfully established sales channels in three different market verticals. However, over time, their global sales team has inadvertently created operational silos, resulting in a lack of information sharing and collaboration on deals. Recognizing the need for a change, the executive team saw their annual sales kick-off as an opportunity to not only set new quotas for the year but also, and perhaps most importantly, shift their mindset towards embracing cross-channel selling. By doing so, they aimed to enhance the overall service provided to their clients, ensuring they receive the best possible experience.

Outcome: We conducted a series of pre-briefing calls to ensure a precise understanding of their industry messaging and the desired actions for their audience post-presentation. I crafted a keynote with two main components: mind-setting and teaming. The flow began by helping the sales team recognize how their habits were hindering company performance, guiding them on habit change, and finally emphasizing the importance of cross-vertical collaboration to better serve their clients. This 90-minute keynote concluded with a standing ovation from 350 attendees who proclaimed it the best they had ever experienced. Notably, the executive team has observed an increase in collaboration since then.

I understand that keynotes alone cannot solve all the major issues within an organization. However, when crafted properly, they have the power to broaden the audience's perspectives, provide them with new tools, and inspire them to take that challenging first step towards new directions. Taking that first step can be daunting, especially when people have become accustomed to the comfort zone of mediocrity or the mindset of "we've always done it this way." Personally, I fully commit to delivering impactful sales keynotes, going "All-In," as I believe they initiate a snowball effect of positive change. Pairing a "killer" keynote with subsequent coaching creates a potent recipe for empowering individuals, teams, and organizations to become unstoppable!