The past few years have brought great uncertainty to both our personal and professional lives—from the fallout of the pandemic to the current volatile economic environment due to record levels of inflation. The heightened uncertainty in the workplace has posed a challenge to sales leaders; however, uncertainty is not limited to a pandemic or economic environment. Sales leaders will find themselves leading through uncertainty throughout their careers, during times of restructuring, acquisition, leadership changes in the company, or changes in products and technology, to name a few.
Sales leaders of the Atlanta Sales Leadership Community recently asked: how can a sales leader successfully lead through times of uncertainty?
The first key to successfully lead through uncertain times is communication. In fact, our panel of sales leaders recommended over-communication during uncertain times. Over-communicate by increasing frequency of check-ins with team members, engaging one-on-one or in smaller groups, and over-explaining new information to your team. Tell stories, give context, and repeat information multiple times to avoid confusion and bring your team on the journey with you.
Communication also involves transparency. Without all the information, sellers will be left to fill in the blanks themselves. This will lead to the spread of inconsistent and inaccurate information among your team and among buyers. Share with your team regarding both current factors impacting the business as well as predictions for the future.
The second key to successfully lead through uncertain times is empathy. Amid uncertainty, team members not only need to hear from you, but they also need to be heard by you. Each person and team will require different management during uncertain times. Seek to understand and address the unique challenges of your team. By also acknowledging your own challenges, you can create a sense of trust and camaraderie among your team. Honestly acknowledge the challenges during this time of uncertainty, but also encourage your team that you will overcome those challenges together.
The third key to successfully lead through uncertain times is positivity. Focusing on what you can do rather than what you can’t do will enable you and your team to creatively overcome new challenges. You may need to pivot from the normal ways of doing things. In the midst of uncertainty, consider: is there a new, different, better, or even old way of doing things that could work during this time? For example, if you cannot hit your numbers due to circumstances beyond your control, how can you succeed in other activity-based metrics, such as how often you interact with buyers? This creates an opportunity for you to become better partners with buyers.
While creativity in the face of uncertainty is necessary, instilling a sense of normalcy is also important. Once again, focusing on what you can do will create stability in your team. Reinforce the greater purpose, reminding yourself and your team why you do what you do.
We hope these three keys will help you navigate current and future times of uncertainty in your sales organization. For further information on leading through uncertain times, listen to the full dialogue of the Atlanta Sales Leadership Community. For more information on the Sales Leadership Community or how SOAR Performance Group can help your organization, visit soarperformancegroup.com.