Perhaps the hardest aspect of business communications is the timing. You’re always behind the 8-ball. So much of communication is formally announcing what people already know thanks to the rumor mill and the water cooler.
So there’s a natural pause. “Do I really need to announce to my sales team that we’re redesigning territories? They already know it.” But avoiding that formal announcement is a mistake: it’s a missed opportunity to frame the change in positive language and directly address the natural fears associated with change.
Before you talk yourself out directly communicating to your sales team what to expect with their new sales comp plan or job roles, consider making time for an “assessment phase” to do the following:
1. Send a clear message from leadership making a compelling case for why change is necessary now.
2. Gather input from the people who will be most affected by the new sales comp plan or territory redesign (or other change) through formal or informal interviews and/or mini-surveys.
Whether rumors have begun flying about an expected change, or you’ve just noticed a few fearful glances around the office, beginning effective communication early will usually garner a greater percentage of buy-in from people who feel they’ve been heard.
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