By Tracey Chernay, Senior Vice President, Global Casino and Gaming, TransAct*
Working daily around the globe can be a daunting experience with long hours and challenging logistics, but it is also the most rewarding experience getting to know customers and partners around the world. To be effective and efficient in this role, it takes planning, flexibility, and perseverance for you to manage the team and grow your global relationships.
Especially in these times of pandemic, planning regular telephone or video communication with each team member is vital. Emails are not enough. In order to establish credibility and trust on both sides of the sales team relationship, it’s important to be able to speak with each other regularly and also as needed ad-hoc. Time zones don’t always align and both the sales manager and salesperson need to plan off-hour calls as required. Weekly updates help establish knowledge of the market, awareness of the key opportunities, and personal connection between the manager and the salesperson.
Action: Set regular weekly meetings with each team member around the globe.
It takes a tremendous degree of flexibility to effectively manage a global sales team. Each market has its own distinct way of doing business and the most successful companies and managers find a way to balance the company’s existing processes with the many different ways of doing business in markets around the world all while holding high standards for ethics and business practices. The first line of customer representation is the salesperson. They bring you opportunities that their customers are defining to them and these don’t always fit the mold that your company has previously relied upon. It is important to actively listen to your salesperson and ask many questions to understand what is requested and required. It is the role of the global sales manager to evaluate how the company can respond to the opportunity while still maintaining company policy, practice, and procedures. If both the customer and your salesperson feel you understand their market, the reason for their request, and what is required, then they are far more likely to work with you to cooperate and compromise where needed. Similarly, it is important to be flexible in your approach to managing the individual team members. Certain markets are more formal, relying on formal Request for Proposals (RFPs) for each transaction, and others may be more relationship focused with informal channels yielding on-going results. It’s important to support your sales team with the resources required for their market. That could be in the form of helping to provide RFP language or it could be in supporting the salesperson with a balanced approach to customer entertainment and events.
Action: Examine your responses to your salespeople and watch for “that’s not how we do it” mindset. Be as willing to push your organization to consider change as you are willing to push back on your salesperson to negotiate change from the customer.
Regardless of market, each opportunity has its own timeframe in which it will get done. No two are the same and when you factor in cultural differences, legislative climate, time zone differences, and varied market-specific needs, it makes the ability and willingness to persevere a key attribute. Your leadership and guidance will make your salesperson more confident to ask the right questions and get to the right decision makers to help win the deal. This may take longer than you are used to in a domestic sales role. Your perseverance with your salesperson, as well as with the opportunity and the company are critical. Remember that your salesperson may be operating from a remote location without the benefit of a headquarters office and its informal communication network and support. Your on-going communication with them acts as a lifeline that will help them stick with the company and the opportunities until they experience the success and recognition for their efforts.
Action: Don’t give up! Complex global deals take time and solid sustained effort. Be the leader that helps your team maintain their focus and enthusiasm for the business.
Managing a global team can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your sales career yielding outstanding business results, accelerated personal growth and lasting relationships around the world.
*Tracey Chernay, Senior Vice President, Global Casino and Gaming, is responsible for developing and executing TransAct’s global business strategies for TransAct’s Global Casino and Gaming sales division, including sales, marketing, and product development planning for the company’s Epic line of printer hardware and Epicentral software. Chernay manages the global gaming sales and technical team worldwide. She joined TransAct in 2005. Prior to working with the company, she had a successful 22-year career at Xerox Corporation.
Chernay holds a B.S. from Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida and an MBA from the nationally ranked Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She serves on the Board of Health Bridges International and is an active participant in the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM).