Effective internal communication is the key to a successful sales team, but many teams struggle with it. This can lead to missed opportunities, like losing a big account because team members were not informed about a change in the client’s needs.
It also damages performance, causing sales reps to fall short of their targets because they were not given the right resources and support. The team ends up spending more time trying to align their efforts than actually selling.
As a sales leader, you know that these communication breakdowns can cripple your bottom line. So how do you communicate with your sales team for better results?
1. Use more visuals in your messaging
If you want to get your message across, start leaning more on visuals. You can start by incorporating images, charts, or infographics into your communications — whether that’s a presentation, an email, or an onboarding document.
Visuals help to simplify complex information and make it easier to understand, which in turn helps us remember it more easily.
For example, a graph or chart can make it much easier to understand trends or statistics than a list of numbers in a spreadsheet. When clients give our SDRs training documents with a lot of visuals, we’ve found that they pick up the material much more quickly.
Visuals help to break up long blocks of text and make them more visually appealing, making it more likely that your team will read and engage with the content.
More importantly, visuals catch our attention more than text, so we’re more likely to pay attention to them in the first place — and that’s essential on a fast-paced sales team.
2. Keep consistency between messaging channels
Internal communication on a sales team relies on multiple messaging channels, but consider these two main categories:
- Instant update platforms for quick notes and one-off messages. These tools might be Microsoft Teams or Slack, but could also include WhatsApp, text messaging, or phone calls. These instant channels are great ways to quickly keep everyone on the same page. These platforms usually take priority in communication because you can cover a lot of ground there.
- Static places for documentation. These are spaces like OneDrive, Google Drive, or SharePoint, where you can store detailed documentation to share with team members, such as sales guides, product information, or training materials.
These static spaces are less frequently touched, so old, outdated documentation is not always prioritized for updates when changes are made in the “real time” collaboration platforms.
We’ve found that clients who have inconsistent messaging channels often experience confusion and misunderstandings among their sales team members, leading to missed opportunities and decreased productivity.
For example, if a sales rep has conflicting information between a manager’s verbal instructions and written documentation, they might send outdated product information to a lead, or use inaccurate positioning. This can lead to lost sales, or angry clients who feel lied to when you fail to deliver on promises made in the sales process.
Make sure that the messages you convey in these platforms are consistent with what’s written in the documentation stored in static places like OneDrive or SharePoint. You shouldn’t be conveying a message in a Slack channel that’s inconsistent with what’s written in the documentation.
This will help to ensure there is no confusion or miscommunication among the team.
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3. Be clear and concise — don’t give a lot of fluff
Get straight to the point, don’t make them search a message to figure out its purpose.
When a sales manager sends a long-winded email to the team with multiple points and no clear action items, team members may struggle to understand the manager’s intent and end up taking the wrong course of action — or just outright ignore the email.
In moments when you don’t have access to visual aids, try to paint a picture for your team: use examples or analogies to make yourself more clear. This also makes your points easier to understand and remember.
4. Find ways to encourage the keep the team to reference static assets
With static assets (like sales guides or training materials) you’ve usually spent more time putting the information together and dialing in the messaging, so the content is better and more complete than what they might find in a Teams chat. Be sure to leverage that.
How can you do this?
- Create a centralized location for everything, such as a SharePoint or OneDrive folder, where all of these assets can be easily accessed by the team. Don’t make people hunt around for documentation across different platforms.
- Include links to these resources in your instant update platforms (like Slack or Teams), so sales reps can easily access them with just a few clicks. Some teams have an open Slack channel purely for VPs or managers to add a small collection of links in a single place.
- Add links to the resources in any relevant messages, such as linking to a product document when mentioning a product update in a message, or linking to a training document when encouraging the team to review a sales skill, like building rapport.
5. Adapt to how your sales team likes to be spoken to
Many salespeople have a kind of “shiny object syndrome,” always looking for the next great thing. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does mean it can take more to sustain their attention.
if you’re using a dry, formal communication style or sending long, dense documentation to the team, but the team is more responsive to visual aids and a conversational approach, team members may quickly lose interest and fail to retain the information being shared.
Be aware of this and adapt your communications accordingly.
6. Regularly communicate goals, targets, and feedback
While everyone can agree “what gets measured gets managed,” don’t forget to communicate those measurements.
Without regular feedback, a sales rep may not be aware that their approach to leads or closing deals is not as effective as it could be. For instance, when we speak with teams who have been measuring a high number of new leads but few of those are becoming SQLs, oftentimes their team needs to direct more energy to further qualifying existing leads, or perhaps being more targeted with cold calls in the first place.
Make sure the team is clear on concrete goals and provide regular reporting on the key metrics of progress towards those goals. If a sales rep needs to put in more effort to reach their target, getting quick feedback helps them adjust their efforts accordingly.
You have to show them this performance over time, consistently. Whether it’s every week, or every few weeks, you need to consistently keep them on target.
7. Use instant channels for urgent updates
Sometimes it’s an update to a product or service, or new features you’re releasing, or a system outage. Some updates require prompt communication.
Make sure you cut through and get your point across to everyone quickly — whether it’s an all-hands meeting or a message that everyone will see. Instant, all-team (or all-company) channels are made for the types of changes that can’t be missed.
This is especially true for really critical issues like a security breach, or if a customer got hacked. Make sure everyone knows immediately, so they don’t unknowingly contribute to further issues.
Communication breakdowns can cause confusion, expensive mistakes, and demotivation across your team. This results in lower performance, damaging your company’s brand, revenue streams, and overall growth.
By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that your sales team is well-informed, motivated, and has the necessary guidance to grow your business more effectively.
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