Has your business recently expanded into a new marketplace? Are you keen to promote your brand within a different region of the world? These are two of the most common reasons why a foreign-speaking sales team may be required. The only potential problem is that it can be difficult to integrate these individuals into a standard workplace environment without a bit of preparation.
For example, one stumbling block may involve overcoming a potential language barrier. In this case, technology can play a powerful role. There are now countless language learning apps which can dramatically improve basic linguistic skills (such as holding a conversation over the phone) within a short period of time. Notwithstanding these options, there are other methods to consider. Let us examine some tried-and-tested approaches if you hope to streamline the transitional process.
1. Create an Open and Welcoming Company Culture
Fostering and encouraging a positive workplace environment will provide several bespoke benefits including:
- The ability to improve teamwork.
- Productivity will be enhanced.
- The company will enjoy lower turnover rates.
- Employees will feel comfortable expressing any concerns with management.
This is even more relevant when discussing foreign workers who may be unfamiliar with the goals and mission statement of your organization. With the proper orientation and by illustrating that they are a part of the greater whole, they will begin to feel as if their services are valued. Furthermore, such an open mindset can help them to more readily adapt to what may sometimes be perceived as a frenetic environment.
We are not only referring to the overall company policy from a top-down perspective in this sense. Their co-workers should likewise be encouraged to develop friendships outside of the office. This type of peer bonding helps to foster a more cohesive workforce and as a result, levels of motivation will remain high throughout the day; particularly when difficult challenges arise.
2. Provide Clarity and Insight from the Beginning
Managing an international sales team can be challenging for even the most experienced professionals. While a learning curve will always exist, there are several additional ways in which these individuals can be consolidated into an organization. One of the most common methods involves displaying a results-oriented mindset. In other words, clarification is required of them. Examples can include call volumes, sales margins and when they may be required to come into the office early.
It is also wise to provide incentives. After all, a motivated sales professional will always perform at his or her best when the “going gets tough”. Weekly bonuses for reaching sales targets and an in-house leaderboard are two common methods which have already been employed by countless organizations. This is why the phrase “motion and emotion” is rightfully associated with the modern sales environment.
Of course, it may still be necessary to overcome specific cultural and linguistic hurdles. This is simply a part of the transitional process. There are nonetheless plenty of ways to ensure that your new employees are capable of adjusting to whatever their careers have in store.
3. Appreciate the Fact that Mistakes Will be Made
It is a foregone conclusion that foreign sales teams will require a fair amount of time before they become comfortable within a new environment. As a result, managers need to accept the simple fact that mistakes will occur. To put this observation into perspective, even the most well-oiled teams will make errors from time to time. However, a new salesforce may also be afraid that management will take a harsh approach. This can lead to hesitance and ultimately, it will increase the chances that further errors are encountered.
The best way to avoid this downward spiral is to explain that supervisors are aware of the challenges that a team will face. It should likewise be noted that mistakes are excellent methods to clarify shortcomings from the beginning. Once these have been identified, the appropriate action (such as providing additional training courses) can be taken. Mistakes are simply a part of the overall process and they should be taken with a grain of salt. Companies which convey this sentiment to a new sales team will likewise enjoy higher retention rates and ultimately, an impressive return-on-investment.
One final point should be stressed here. This once again involves the driven nature of the average sales professional. Regardless of cultural differences, mistakes can often make an individual feel as if he or she is not fit for the position in question. This perspective may be exacerbated even further when we remember that adapting to a new work atmosphere is stressful for anyone.
This is why management should create an orientation window during which more targeted training can take place. Not only will employees be better prepared for what is in store, but this is an excellent method to catch any small errors before they have an impact upon the business itself.