Isolated: Connect with Virtual Teams to Avoid Fraud
In July 2021, the Salesforce company released the results of an important salesperson survey. More than 250 sales representatives were interviewed. The three main points of the study were:
- Many sales representatives will continue working remotely.
- Companies can do more to support hybrid teams with training.
- The buyer’s journey has become longer and more personalized.
I have intentionally italicized the second key finding because it addresses why Virtual Training Associates (VTA) is so highly focused on virtual instruction on ethics, sexual harassment avoidance training and other key programs that do not address this issue of “support” would be to miss a major detail.
To make our case in this post, I wanted to share just a few more specific research findings:
- “Only 43% of sales reps expect to return to the office full time after the pandemic…sellers who operated primarily from a home office saved time on travel but felt separated from a supportive work environment.
- Just 32% of salespeople said they have received excellent training or coaching.
- Leaders need to prioritize training their teams to help them sell successfully in this virtual world.
- Remote sales training is simply harder to pull off than in-person training because it’s difficult to gauge how reps are responding to the instruction.
Where This Study Leads
What are the origins of frauds and scandals? They invariably start with a lack of oversite. When a sales team feels isolated or they are psychologically and socially separated from the rest of the group, that is where many problems arise. Incidents such as bribery (taking or receiving), substandard work or purchasing irregularities, stealing information, poor customer service and customer fraud are initially a problem of a lack of ethical oversite.
Why do sales teams or sales reps engage in such behaviors? What drives them? It is usually driven by need. All too often it is assumed that the need for money or power are the chief culprits. While that may be true in a great number of situations, often there are other motivating needs: a sense of revenge, a lack of commitment to something greater or even nobler; a need to act on unhealthy impulses.
How are these behaviors rationalized? When a sales rep is undertrained and then isolated, he or she can come up with every creative reason in the world. By the time rationalization occurs, it is almost too late to stop it.
The Case for Ethics Training
The results of this market research study make the case for ethics training; virtual or in-person, ethics training can certainly intervene in potential fraud or scandal. If a highly trained ethics speaker can continuously connect with sales teams’ members, it reduces feelings of isolation, gives a greater sense of coaching (and nurturing), set workplace behavioral expectations and most importantly, re-state the importance of the corporate culture.
At VTA, we pride ourselves on making true and positive connections with sales teams. We are experienced communicators and whether virtual or in-person programs are desired, we get positive results.
Good ethics is everyone’s business in a corporation, but it is the sales rep who is the real face of the organization. If the sales rep is ethical in their mindset and demeanor, the view of those toward the organization will underscore those impressions many times over.
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