Recently, Yahoo ordered all its remote, “work-from-home” staff members back to the office. Why has this technology giant decided to prioritize face-to-face interaction? Because recent studies show that while remote workers are significantly more productive, they’re not nearly as innovative or collaborative.
We certainly want our sales teams to be productive, but innovation and collaboration are also important. Sure, you can schedule video meetings and teleconferences. But as Google civil engineer David Radcliffe put it, “You can’t schedule innovation.”
Game-changing ideas and strategies often happen when colleagues bump into each other in the hallway and engage in an impromptu conversation. And there’s no virtual water cooler around which your remote team can gather to brainstorm new ideas.
Yes, collaboration. We can think up one great idea after another and develop innovative strategies, but if we don’t have cohesive teams with whom we can collaborate and bring ideas to fruition, why bother?
Collaborating with strangers? Collaboration is this decade’s buzzword, according to a 2011 report from marketing research group CSO Insights. As business continues to move at an ever-increasing speed, successful sales teams are no longer made up of lone wolves. Teams who willingly share information and ideas and who work well together can bring in bigger deals than any one individual. But when your salespeople have never been in the same room, it’s hard to develop the key relationships that enable effective collaboration.
Get the gang together. I have a virtual team, but I get everyone together — in person — at least twice a year. We strategize about everything from prospecting to marketing to how to add more value for our clients. We laugh and sometimes argue. And, more important, we get to know one another without all the technological barriers. That way, we’re no longer working with strangers; we’re working with people we like and respect. And that’s the key to successful collaboration.
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Joanne Black is a professional sales speaker, sales webinar leader, and author of “No More Cold Calling: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust” from Warner Business Books. Visit www.nomorecoldcalling.com. © Copyright 2011 Joanne S. Black. All rights reserved.