Sales Team Engagement –Red Flags and Early Warning Signs

I am often asked about the common challenges of sales team engagement and maximizing sales team performance.

Sales Team Engagement, Employee Engagement

Given my experience as a senior sales leader. I am 100% confident that that world class results are directly correlated to high levels of engagement.

Identifying and addressing engagement issues early is critical to accelerating high-performance sales teams.  Sales Managers who address engagement red flags avoid expensive and often unnecessary retention issues dramatically increasing their opportunity to maximize business results.  These red flags appear up to 52 week in advance of an employee making the decision to leave the organization.

Given the competition for sales talent in addition to the cost and productivity loss of turnover, it is critical to identify minor engagement issues before they become costly and disruptive to your business.

We have developed the following ten “Red Flags” to identify the warning signs of a loss of engagement within a sales team:

Top Ten Sales Engagement Red Flags:

1.            Sales Performance (Results) – Sales attainment or activity is recently declining, without rationale

2.            Sales Performance (Predictability) – Results have become inconsistent and trending downward

3.            Attitude – A noticeable shift to a less positive approach toward their team, work or goals

4.            Absenteeism or Less Availability – Frequent nonattendance or avoidance of personal contact

5.            Lack of Focus / Distraction– A recent lack of concentration on day to day work or goals

6.            Work Patterns – Working erratic hours or a noticeable change in standard routine

7.            Communication – Information sharing with stakeholders has become infrequent or forced

8.            Feedback – Commentary from customers or fellow teammates has become concerning  

9.            Participation – Collaborative involvement in solving business challenges has slowed or stalled

10.          Responsibility – A deflection of blame onto fellow team members, managers or customers

Bonus Flag:

11.          Jealousy – Behaviors of overt or passive envy regarding other’s accomplishment.

Addressing Red Flags

Gallup in their recent book “Its The Manager”, pointed out some incredible data:

Managers Account for 70% of Variance in Employee Engagement

DRIVE Engagement has recently posted a blog called Employee Engagement Measurement – More Than A Survey that covers Continuous Engagement Management that you may find helpful as you look to address engagement red flags within your organization.

We would recommend 5 forums / tools to immediately measure and address engagement issues before they become expensive and disruptive:

One on One Meetings – These personal meetings offer a highly effective quick response or “triage” opportunity.  Issues can be addressed immediately by a direct report manager who is familiar with the employee.  Addressing issues confidentially, directly, empathically and without assumption will ensure the effectiveness of these meetings. 

Sales Team Meetings – For issues affecting multiple team members, an open forum sales meeting provides an opportunity to gain a collective insight and address issues.  It allows you to take the “pulse” of the team and issues that may be affecting their engagement.  Again, avoiding assumptions and judgement is critical.  An open format to share concerns will often reveal issues so you can develop strategy to address early.

HR Interviews – In the blog referenced above, we discuss confidential interviews, led by the HR team.  If feedback from one on one or team meetings are not diagnosing the core issue affecting engagement, these meetings are a solid next step.  These meetings must be organized collaboratively with sales leaders but must not break the confidentiality of the employee  They can then share their findings and suggested remedies through the use “themes” or common concerns if a larger group.  This information will help implement solutions before they become costly or disruptive.

Pulse Surveys – These are smaller customized surveys that can be delivered quickly and easily to any group.  They can be customized to ask confidential questions related to the issue at hand.  Confidentiality and action is critical to their success.  Remember:  You are asking teammates to take perceived “risk” by answering the survey so you owe them recognizable action and communication to address their concerns

Engagement Survey – We always suggest a formalized Employee Engagement Survey to verify the state of engagement throughout your organization.  We recommend the Gallup Q12 its proven reliability across the globe.   Although these surveys are normally delivered to the entire workforce, Sales leaders have the opportunity to receive results, specific to their team.  The survey defines 12 critical areas for maximizing employee engagement and business results.  Action plans can then be developed, including the forums, above to ensure sustainable engagement results.  DRIVE Engagement partners with organizations to convert survey results into sustainable action plans for leaders and teams.

Attracting and retaining sales teams is a difficult challenge for all organizations.  For those who do not focus on and address sales team employee engagement issues in their infancy, the road is very expensive and business results are never able to reach their potential.

Looking to start or jump start the engagement journey within your organization?  Start with the information above and with the team that has a direct connection to revenue and profit.

We look forward to hearing about your success!  Contact us if we can assist you.

All the best,

Dean Hannon

Founder and Head Coach

DRIVE Engagement Training and Coaching

[email protected]