You are asked to build or lead a Sales team to increase revenue or sale productivity. Now what?
As a start, you will need budget and people. Once you have these resources allocated, I am sure you will be tempted to create a plan that will address all the issues you are hearing from everyone that now knows you are leading this team. This approach may work in the short-term but will you be setting yourself up for success? Most likely not.
Instead your life will be reacting to the latest noise or complaints. You will also be at the mercy of your stakeholders preconceived perceptions of what you should be doing (e.g., send more sales meetings to the field) versus the objectives and goal you have been asked to drive (e.g., only create meetings for the field team for fully qualified prospects).
Instead of jumping straight into fire-fighting mode, I recommend that you create a strategic direction for yourself, your team and your company.
Here are the questions you need to answer to ensure you are in alignment with your sponsor and stakeholders:
- What is the ultimate mission of my team?
- Who are my stakeholders?
- Which users will be using my services and products?
- How will my success be measured?
- Who will determine whether my team has been successful?
Having clarity on these questions is also important in getting your team excited about the task at hand and helping them see the linkage between their daily activities and the success of the Sales team.
There is a simple tool for capturing the answers to the questions above. That tool is called a team charter. Here you will find a blank, downloadable template and an example.
Sounds easy, right? It is a bit harder than it looks as it requires coordinating with your sponsor, stakeholders and team. First, your sponsor needs to sign off on the scope. Then, your stakeholders need to have input on your deliverables and acknowledge the final set of services and products you will be providing them. In an ideal world, both the sponsor and stakeholder input should be a two-way dialogue. Next, your team needs to understand the scope and should help shape it. Lastly, you may need to tweak the capabilities of your team based on their skills and the agreed upon scope.
I have used the charter template the past seven years for several teams and projects. Often times, my initial kickoff meetings have been received with some skepticism; however, after working through the process the sponsor, stakeholders and team have always been energized with purpose and clarity.
If you don't currently have a team charter, you are not alone. A majority of teams do not take the time to create one. Have no fear — you can start today. It will not only make your team more productive, it will make your company more competitive as well.
Get started now with the straight-forward template. An energized team, satisfied stakeholders and a happy sponsor are your reward to follow.
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