You know the saying: “Teamwork makes the dream work.” It’s a catchy statement that’s great for memes, but there’s truth to it. When individuals come together to work toward a common goal, they can use their different skills and abilities to achieve what they set out to accomplish.

Creating a culture of teamwork takes work, though. Your sales reps may not see how they can help each other or collaborate, especially if they work in many different locations. You can help encourage more teamwork by trying a few new strategies, according to Ben Brearley, founder of Thoughtful Leader.

Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today for Brearley’s ideas on building a more cohesive sales team.

1. Promote flexibility. Every team needs well-defined roles and responsibilities. However, it’s smart to allow some wiggle room. If you get too detailed in roles and responsibilities, you limit the opportunity for different reps to jump in and experiment with new ideas. To create a more cohesive team, try relaxing the rigid role boundaries and allowing team members to try different tasks outside of their wheelhouse.

2. Establish team objectives. Another way to encourage teamwork is to set objectives for the whole sales team. The key is incorporating objectives that involve teamwork, says Brearley. Try setting goals for how well your team serves its customers or add behavior goals that assess how well reps work with others on the team.

3. Look at everyone’s contributions. For a team to work well, all members must invest roughly the same effort. While some roles will be more difficult than others, it’s important to avoid situations where one person is viewed as a slacker, says Brearley. If someone on your team isn’t hitting their numbers, consider additional coaching or training.

4. Highlight dependency on each other. In a cohesive team, each member of the team knows they can count on others on their team. Brearley advises showcasing how everyone’s work impacts the work of every other person on the team. This brings to light how one person’s poor performance or missed deadlines can impact the entire group.

5. Banish the blaming. A quick way to crush teamwork is to blame others when things don’t go as planned. If your sales reps are quick to point fingers, they are likely more interested in avoiding blame than working together. Brearley says you can work to establish better teamwork by fixing the problem rather than broadcasting who caused the issue and how they dropped the ball. The best leaders do not place blame but instead take the hit themselves and work with their teams to avoid the issue in the future, notes Brearley.

Group cohesion is essential to a successful sales team. If your team does not seem to gel together, consider how you can emphasize teamwork. Look for ways you can eliminate boundaries that may be stifling your reps and think about how you can frame goals that will inspire your reps to work together. Make sure everyone is pulling their weight and demonstrate how everyone on your team in interconnected through their roles.

When you put in the work to create a more cohesive team, you will build a highly functional and supportive group that will outperform dysfunctional teams every time.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Ben Brearley is the founder of Thoughtful Leader and is an experienced leader, certified coach and MBA passionate about developing thoughtful and effective leaders.