- Written by Tim Knowles. Google+
- Published: 24 February 2014
We all like to think of ourselves as team players to a greater or lesser degree.
"Are you a team player?" This is an interview question that crops up with regularity. But what is a team and what effect does your team have on your marketing?
One definition of team could be “Each person knowing what each other is doing and thinking, working one with another to achieve a common purpose”.
In almost all companies there’s a percentage of staff who could be said to be “not engaged” in their work. The percentage obviously varies in each company, and the bigger the company the higher the percentage. Would you consider everyone in a high street department store to be engaged in their work, i.e. 100% of the staff love their job and are not just working there because they can earn some money?
How far does the rabbit hole go…
Disengaged staff not only cause problems for managers since they require attention to “fix” arguments and squabbles but also because they affect the superstar employees who are the ones that are bringing the cash in.
Managerial attention given to a disengaged staff means a manager cannot pay attention to the productive, engaged staff member. Over time this may lead to a decline in engaged staff as they aren't necessarily getting the attention they too deserve.
Even just one member of staff in a team of fifty can drop the team’s morale and productivity.
How does this affect marketing?
A prospect will become a customer if they like and trust you. This “trust” is established by marketing, which then causes the person to reach out for your product or service. Responsibility then passes over to the person handling the prospect. This is sales and marketing 101.
For the sake of simplicity let’s take two scenarios:
Firstly the prospect reaches out and is connected with an engaged and productive team member. The engaged staff listens to the prospects requirements and knowing their products inside out and what will work best for the prospect sells the product or service. The prospect becomes a client and goes away happy.
The second scenario is this: the prospect reaches out and is now confronted with the disengaged, I’m just here to earn money staff member. The prospect doesn't get his questions answered properly because the staff member wasn't listening – they were just trying to sell something to the client regardless of their needs. This is most likely to end with the prospect not purchasing the product.
So, marketing goes to great lengths to cause someone to reach for a product and it’s simply wasted by a disengaged staff member.
It’s not that the disengaged staff member isn't doing their job, they just don’t care which is why they achieve little and waste your marketing efforts.
If you've figured out that maybe disengaged staff exist in your team or at least think you might have, then there are of course ways you can change the situation.
Firing them outright wont work due to employment laws and unfair dismissal legislation. Besides that’s a negative flow and the disengaged staff has already brought negativity, so lets focus on the positives!
5 Ways to re-engage your staff
- Find out what their goals and aspirations are. Help them achieve them
- Introduce or re-configure your bonus structure so that an employee has to achieve a certain threshold before any bonus kicks in.
- Find out what the employees goals are within the company – do they want to be promoted? If so, give them a program with achievable steps so that they can work at the steps and get to the end result.
- Give regular product training to enhance the understanding of your products or services
- Find out what your employees (individually) want to know more about; perhaps they are a sales person but consider that they have poor objection handling. Sign them up on a course to handle the thing they want to know more about or improve.
The above list isn't exhaustible, there are many more ways – these are just the ones that I've seen work in varying industries.
Prevention is better than cure
Is there any way of determining or predicting if an interviewee will become disengaged? Well, truthfully no because that could just happen anyway – people are complex!
However, there is one key indicator I've seen that seems to bear out under scrutiny.
Now bear in mind I’m not a lawyer and I not have studied or practiced law in any form, so use the following personal observation as a guideline only and do seek professional guidance if you’re unsure.
The observation is this: what does the interviewee suggest they can bring to the company (without asking).
If the interviewee is only asking about how much the salary is or what the holiday entitlement is, they are perhaps not the person you want on your team because they are just seeing what they can get.
Even if they pepper the interview with shallow questions such as “how long have you been in business?”, “who are your clients?” or “what do you sell” it’s still a big red flashing light if they don’t ask or tell you what benefit they can bring to the team.
Building or having a better team means your marketing will be more effective – you’ll spend less and earn more so it’s a win-win situation.
Fix up your team by pointing your energy inwards and then turn the focus outwards to getting new customers, via fax marketing for example.
That’s all for this week – hope it’s been useful!
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