In a perfect world, our employees would tell us exactly what they’re thinking as it relates to their work. However, that is far from the world we live in today. COVID-19 has taken companies down uncertain paths and for most it has impacted the bottom line. With things changing everyday, some companies are being forced to close their doors and some are holding on to their cash for reasons of unpredictability. This is putting extreme pressure on sales teams as they are tasked with the urgency to generate the revenue required to keep businesses afloat by bringing in sales leads.
There is this saying that if employees told us what they really thought, they would get fired. But there is a lot of truth to this saying, particularly when it comes to salespeople feeling the COVID pressure and generating sales leads or making a sell. There are probably sales things your sales team wishes they could tell you right now, but they can’t. They are too afraid that you may come down hard, may not understand or that it could cost them their job.
As a result, you’ll often get the polite versions of their pain points. They may also downplay the urgency of the problems they are facing to stay on track during these unprecedented times.
So, the next time you see them, talk to them and look carefully for these hidden messages.
“Please help me bring in sales leads”
When it comes to generating sales leads, filling up the funnel, nurturing leads, closing leads, most salespeople don’t want to give you the impression that they’re in over their head. Especially now when they are grateful for working.
This is particularly true of younger employees who may be in their first sales role. They want to give the impression that they’re a keener. Or they may unfairly blame themselves for struggling because they don’t know any better.
They want to give the impression that they’re hungry for sales wins. Your sales team is also up against the new pandemic “normal” and because companies are conservative with their budgets right now, and some are not spending much at all, they are having trouble to stay on track and meet or exceed the new sales quota.
If this is their first sales role, this is the only system they know. Bringing in a company that specializes in sales training could be massively helpful. If your team is doing everything “by the book” and still struggling, maybe it’s time to add to the book. You could also consider the help of a lead generation company, to hunt down those sales leads for them and all your sales team needs to focus on is closing the sale – in this case they no longer need to spend research time on finding new leads.
“I expect a raise with my next yearly review”
The traditional model of yearly reviews saw managers reviewing employees and discussing yearly raises/ bonuses at the same time. However, a lot of companies have moved away from this model… and alienated a lot of their employees in doing so. This is what is now called Performance Without Pay.
As managers, we can try to shift the narrative with statements like, “These reviews are merely an opportunity to help you do your job better. There’s no need to worry.” But it doesn’t change the fact that employees still find these reviews incredibly stressful. In fact, about 1 in 4 employees cry afterwards.
It is likely in your best interest to reward them at the same time you review them.
“I don’t actually hate meetings”
There is a very common myth that most people hate meetings. However, recent data says otherwise, with the MIT Sloan Management Review releasing a study that reveals that:
- 69% of employees rated the productivity of their meeting as “good” to “excellent”
- 16% rated it poor or worse
Of course, people still hate meetings with no agenda or no output. Think of it this way: People hate meetings that could have been handled with an email. But they like meetings that save them having to deal with seemingly endless email strings.
Always ensure that your meetings have both an agenda and follow up steps.
Employees can’t always tell you these things. However, savvy sales team leaders can learn how to look beyond the feedback they receive to figure out what their employees are really trying to say.
Mastering this skill can lead to a happier sales team and better sales leads numbers.