In sales -- perhaps more than any other profession -- team building is crucial for long-term success. Salespeople are held to high standards, deal with regular rejection, and work long hours. Over a sustained period, this is a surefire recipe for burnout.
So, how do we keep picking up the phone and sending emails day in and day out? A lot of personal fortitude and the physical and emotional support of our coworkers.
Your family and friends likely don’t understand how you feel after your third “No” of the day (Before 10:00 a.m.). But the salesperson sitting next to you? They get it.
A close-knit sales organization can elevate team performance and increase employee tenure. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Sales leadership must invest time and resources into team building exercises.
Make it a priority, lead by example, and you’ll start to see a better, stronger sales team. Here are a few of my favorite team building exercises.
Team Building Exercises for Sales
1. Family adoption
A quick Google search of “Adopt a Family” should reveal organizations in your area that will facilitate support of a family in need.
Whether it’s a monthly financial donation, clothing drives, or a call for school supplies, this allows your team to support something greater than themselves. It’s also a reminder some things are bigger than your quota.
Your sales team might occasionally feel they haven’t seen the sun in years -- especially at the end the month. Once close of quarter or month has passed, block out a morning or a Friday afternoon and get outside.
Check the National Park Service website to find nearby trails, and get to know your teammates outside of, “How many demos have you booked this week?”
3. Team-led activities
Your teammates likely have varying interests. Tap into them by starting smaller group events. Have someone on your team who’s a runner? See if she’ll lead a weekly lunch run for interested salespeople. Is your top rep also a yoga teacher? Have him lead a 4:00 p.m. vinyasa to help everyone unwind -- and take themselves a little less seriously.
Bowling is easy for large or small groups. And with a resurgence of trendy bowling alleys, you should be able to find a cool venue that lets you rent a few lanes and open a tab.
5. Escape rooms
Want to get to know the personalities on your team in a hurry? Book an escape room. You might experience some eye rolling when you pitch the idea. But the moment you enter the room each person’s true tendencies kick in, and you’ll learn some surprising team strengths.
I’m going to make a generalized statement here: Salespeople are competitive. It’s part of what makes us so good at our jobs. Drum up interest for a sales or company-wide softball team in your local league.
It will positively channel everyone’s competitive spirit while giving teammates a chance to get to know each other in a new way. Plus, nothing’s better than post-game happy hours.
7. Binge watching
This is one of my favorites -- and one I do with the HubSpot Sales Blog. Once a year, my intrepid editors pick a show (Most recently: “Stranger Things”), block off a few hours in a conference room, order pizza, and binge.
It’s one thing to talk about a show over coffee the next day, it’s another to experience it together in real time.
Learn to cook a meal, take a collective kick-boxing class, or give paddle boarding a try. Experiencing something new together opens different channels of communication and deepens relationships in a way the run-of-the-mill company happy hour cannot.
9. Volunteer work
Reach out to a local nonprofit or charity and offer your team’s services for a day. Whether you’re stocking shelves at a food bank or delivering meals to those in need, pulling together and helping others reminds coworkers to also help each other.
Invite the team into your home or rent out space at a local park. There’s something inviting and fun about getting together to grill good food, drink beer, and hang out. Keep things relaxed and invite everyone bring their favorite yard game.
By getting to know your fellow salespeople outside the office, you’ll find it easier to develop strong professional relationships as well. It’s 2018, and people want to know who they’re working with.
These activities help you forge relationships that make every day better at the office and beyond.
Originally published Jan 23, 2018 7:30:00 AM, updated January 31 2019