Here at LeadFuze, we just recently implemented a specific sales environment for our sales team.
We have a sales area that is open, but there’s some built-in privacy. They have 60″ surface areas with adjustable height desks.
On the wall are two 50″ flat screens that have our KPI’s to keep the sales culture competitive.
They are also separated from the rest of the office where creatives and engineering types will need to be able to focus.
What works for us, might might not work for everyone.
Companies are always in search of the perfect workspace ingredients to encourage productivity in their sales teams. Office layout experts measure the efficacy of workspaces from the color of the walls (apparently blue elicits productivity) to the number of plants in order to find the ideal composition.
We are going to take a look at four key elements of high functioning workplace sales team environments.
- Space: design that promotes collaboration
- Surface: height, size, and flexibility of desks
- Celebrate: visibly honoring sales team achievements
- Reward: “Gamification” leaderboards to promote healthy competition
Sales Environment: Space Invaders
For some time now studies have pointed to the potency of a clean, lean, open space which is large and uncluttered to enhance work delivery.
This open office layout trend is linked to the attributes that companies are aiming for –transparency, collaboration, equality, and openness.
In Craig Knight and S. Alexander Haslam’s “The Relative Merits of Lean, Enriched and Empowered Offices” they state:
“Space planning and design is frequently seen as an expression of managerial intent in which a building’s aesthetics are seen as an opportunity to reflect and project a particular corporate ethos and image.”
An office is the outward expression of a business’s core values and reflects its unique culture.
We only need to think of the Google and Pixar office space revolution in office design that set the current trend for Silicon Valley to create an engaged, productive workforce.
The space must facilitate “getting things done.”
However, a Gensler report uncovered a disturbing trend where workers were finding it harder to focus in environments solely geared to collaboration i.e. no private spaces.
The 2017 focus is to create workspaces that serve all of the work modes required.
We are seeing spaces for teamwork as well as areas for quiet, focused operations (quiet “cars” or semi-enclosed spaces).
Many offices have their communal sales bullring separate from the engineers or creative department “cubicles” as their jobs require a different relationship with space and their co-workers.
But at least we are moving swiftly away from cubicle farms that make us feel like battery hens in a factory coop.
Tear Down the Wall
A no-walls environment keeps the sales team together – there are no doors, so the team can speak freely with one another.
These open spaces promote cooperation and provide an environment where healthy competition and mutual appreciation can flourish.
People are way more creative when they share a space with colleagues who have the same goals and clients. They problem-solve much quicker and stay on task.
Encourage your sales team to utilize many different spaces to vary their routine and keep them on their toes and focused (lobbies, conference rooms, cubicles and lounge areas).
The sales bullring space should have great lighting (as much natural light as possible) to avoid fatigue, eyestrain, and headaches.
Dark spaces have a tendency to result in depression. Keep the room temperature between 65-68 Fahrenheit.
On The Surface
A huge trend is to use sit-stand desks with adjustable heights.
The Just Stand organization found that 78% of workers who used sit-stand desks had a pain free day.
There needs to be plenty of workspace surface area – around 60 inches per sales rep within the open environment so people don’t feel claustrophobic and cramped.
If you are only sitting all day make sure you have a slightly reclined posture sitting in your chair, to reduce lower back pain. Rest your feet on a footrest. Your eyes should be 24-36 inches from your device screen.
A lean communal office environment also means the reduction of clutter.
This is great because studies show clutter reduces your ability to focus and be productive. There are high costs associated with disorganization.
If you need to have some peace and quietness in the sales bullring, invest in a pair of noise cancellation headphones and listen to concentration boosting sounds.
Also, make sure there are plants in the space. They really help filter the air and provide clean oxygen!
There is also a range of apps that really help you to focus. They decrease distractions and keep you on track to deliver on deadlines.
Cause for Celebration
“The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.” ~ John Ruskin
A vital element to creating the ideal sales environment is honoring and celebrating individual and team achievements.
A Harvard Business Review study noted that ‘‘the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50 percent or more over the last two decades.”
In this team-driven, collaborative space we must make sure that we are praising great results.
The feel-good office is one where people are properly recognized for their achievements and are inspired to keep aiming higher.
Create a strategy for a visible accomplishment recognition –a bell or siren that goes off to signal when a salesperson has closed an important deal.
It boosts morale. Everyone loves being appreciated and valued.
Leader Board Rewards
The game is on.
Sales can be fun.
Competition brings out our very best side.
“Gamification” of sales teams keeps the energy up and motivation high. Selling is a competitive sport where winning is everything.
Top sales people push themselves to better their own performance records and exceed targets.
Runner-ups will feel challenged to push themselves harder.
Highly visible flat screens, to display sales leader boards, in the open plan office environment are excellent tools for building team aspiration.
We use WideAngle leaderboards to keep the spirit of competitiveness alive.
The sales team is incentivized to get to the top. Their very specific actions will get them there for all to see.
The Name of the Game
These more sophisticated “gamification” solution “unifies culture, creates transparency and makes performance matter.”
No more cartoons and silly avatars but a more mature and modern approach. This kind of “gamification” software ultimately gives meaning to your data.
Rewards for “winning” can take many forms and encourage excellence and glory over achieving.
“I hope the millions of people I’ve touched have the optimism and desire to share their goals and hard work and persevere with a positive attitude.” ~ Michael Jordan
These four areas go a long way to create a positive work environment where camaraderie generates productivity and fosters excellence.
But remember that even if all of these core functions are in place, you still need to make sure that you have employees who are on board to work collaboratively.
“When employees are working alongside a high density of toxic workers, there is a 47 percent chance that they, too, will become toxic.” ~ Dylan Minor, an assistant professor of managerial economics and decision sciences at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Warning: Toxicity is contagious. Successful, productive sales teams start with smart hiring choices.
Sales Space Manifesto
An ideal work environment lets sales people “be themselves.”
It is a space where employees are always told the full story with no “spin.” It’s an office that gives employees opportunities to develop, strut their stuff and a place where they can always see the path to improvement.
It’s a sales team that is proud of the company they call “home.”
Everyone’s work has meaning and no one is ever hindered by stupid rules.
The Hay group found that, “companies with highly engaged people outperform firms with the most disengaged folks—by 54% in employee retention, by 89% in customer satisfaction, and by fourfold in revenue growth.”