How to Manage a Sales Team During a Crisis

managing teams
"Some of the most difficult challenges a Sales Director might face include hiring the right people and keeping the team motivated."

Managing a sales team is no easy task. In today’s fast-moving world it is essential to stay on top of new technologies to strive to become a leader in the market. Jim Loughlin, Senior Sales Director at CoverWallet, shares with us his experience managing sales teams and his views on the evolution of sales, especially in the Insurtech world.

We asked Jim to share his advice on how he’s keeping his team motivated while working remotely and how to effectively manage during a crisis.

For how long have you been working in Sales? And in insurance?

I have been in the insurance industry for over 25 years with 10 of those years focused on sales.

Can you name one or two milestones in your career, related to technology and innovation?

One of the most significant milestones in my career related to technology and innovation was when I joined Coverwallet in 2017 to help build the sales team. By combining state-of-the-art technology with a sophisticated operating model, we were able to create a platform that provides the easiest way to understand, buy and manage commercial insurance online.

You were also an underwriter. Has technology also impacted the way underwriting is done or has that remained untouched?

Technology has played a huge role in the field of underwriting. Everything from gathering information to analyzing data has been vastly improved through the use of technology. In addition, carrier portals and integrated Application Programing Interface (API) technology have greatly increased the speed at which businesses can be quoted.

In your experience, what are the most difficult challenges a Sales Director/Manager might face?

Some of the most difficult challenges a Sales Director might face include hiring the right people and keeping the team motivated. When bringing new talent on board, it is crucial that the individual not only has the experience needed for the role but also fits in with the culture. A strong, cohesive culture is important when building a sales team. Any disruption in the culture could have significant repercussions. Keeping the team motivated is a continuous process that is a crucial element in ensuring success.

In times of crisis, what are the tactics you use to keep your team motivated and keep the business on track?

I often liken our sales team to the navy seals and as such focus on their ability to face adversity head-on, adapt to the situation at hand, and overcome any obstacles in their way. We use sales contests such as raffles and prize wheels to keep the team engaged and motivated throughout the year. We also host an annual trip for our top performers who are then inducted into our President’s Club.

In retrospect, what preparations would you have liked to have in place for a crisis like Covid?

Fortunately, Coverwallet was very well positioned when COVID hit. Although we had a culture of being in the office full time, our technology was entirely cloud-based which allows us to work from anywhere in the world. Our transition from an office-based company to a remote workforce was almost seamless.

How would you describe CoverWallet’s sales team culture, in three words?

Collaborative, Knowledgeable, Passionate.

How do you foresee the evolution of Sales in the Insurtech world?

Similar to how banking went through an evolution years ago, I see the insurance industry continuing to embark on a similar journey in which the sales process will become more and more augmented with technology to spot buying trends, identify customers' needs, and provide real-time insurance solutions.

Any other thought or advice you would like to share with other managers or small business owners who might be facing some challenges with their sales teams during times of crisis?

I would recommend staying fully engaged with your sales team during these challenging times. Schedule daily team meetings (Zoom, Google meet, Webex, etc.) and focus on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure individuals are putting in the work needed to be successful.

Author's Bio:

By Jim Loughlin, CoverWallet

Jim Loughlin is an insurance industry veteran with 25 years of experience. He is currently the senior sales director at CoverWallet, a tech company that enables businesses to understand, buy, and manage insurance online. You can follow Jim on LinkedIn.

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