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Use Sales-Team Guidelines to Reduce Conflict & Uncertainty

Let’s talk about creating sales-team guidelines so that you can reduce uncertainty, frustration and sales-team conflict. When rules have been agreed on and documented , you will reduce sales-team conflict and reduce the amount of time you spend being a referee.

Minimize Conflict, Uncertainty and Frustration with Sales-Team Guidelines

As an example, consider the four-way stop at an intersection. We know what the agreed-upon rules are. If you arrive to the stop sign first, you will have the right of way. On the other hand, if it is a tie, the person to the right has the right-of-way. Those rules minimize frustration, uncertainty, and collisions. Now, let’s be honest. There’s always someone at a four-way stop that’s aggressive. Or someone who is passive. You know the people that tell you to go when it’s really their turn? That creates uncertainty. You’re going to have that on the sales team too, but you’re going to have some guidelines to direct people. That way you don’t spend time blowing whistles and directing traffic.

Agree to the Guidelines

What I’ve noticed is many companies have not created any sales-team guidelines. The number one reason is that it takes time to reach agreed-upon guidelines. For instance, you need to have multiple meetings, get feedback and buy-in from your team. You want these rules and guidelines agreed to so they’re not challenged and people follow them. In addition, it helps new hires to jump right in and be on the same page as their peers.

Another reason we don’t have written guidelines is that we tend to verbalize them instead. Or we may send out emails. However, the problem with this is that we may send out a few versions of an email and then we find ourselves scrolling down our emails, finding the latest version and then sending it again. Now your team is confused and they have their own interpretations of your guidelines. And the problem gets worse.

Create a Written Document

Take the time and document your guidelines. Once you take the time to create a document in writing with your guidelines in place, put it on a shared drive. You could use Google Docs, Office 365, Zoho docs or whatever your company uses. Only one manager should be able to edit this document.

Let me give you an idea on some general guidelines you might want to cover. However, you may have different ones at your company. You may need guidelines about territories and lead distribution. You will want guidelines in the case of two companies that merge. How will that situation be managed? Which products can be sold by different reps? There are pricing decisions, boundaries around pricing and many more specific to your company.

In summary, if you want to reduce sales team conflict, frustration, and uncertainty then hang up your referee’s whistle and jersey and go ahead and create your sales team guidelines.

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Rene is the President of Sales Manager Now, a company that provides fractional sales management services to small and family-run businesses. He has twenty-seven years of experience in sales leadership, coaching, and consulting. He is also the author of the Part-Time Sales Management handbook and is based in Auburn, California.

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