The world has changed dramatically since the pandemic, and with it, companies have had to change the rhythm of how they work. As each company struggles to adapt to new remote work models, it is more important than ever to re-examine the importance of predictable and efficient work rhythms within your organisation.
An operating rhythm is crucial for companies, even more so now, because it provides stability and a way to measure progress. It’s essential for sales teams because it lets them see their funnel, know their numbers, and manage their time.
Operating rhythms help keep everyone on the same page by breaking down the day into manageable chunks. This makes it easy to identify upcoming tasks and deadlines so that jobs don’t pile up or get forgotten.
The most effective operating rhythms are tailored to the company and the team. They should be simple enough to be easily followed but flexible enough to allow for adjustments as needed.
While an operating rhythm is a natural flow or beat to which you perform your company’s actions, an operational cadence takes the rhythm to the next level.
What is an operating cadence?
An operating cadence is a more structured and defined form of company rhythm. It’s a way for everyone in an organisation to know when things need to happen and who is responsible for making them happen. This predictability creates efficiencies, allows for better planning, and builds trust throughout the company.
The key feature that differentiates an operating rhythm from an operating cadence is that the latter is a repeating and predictable pattern, while the former may be irregular.
An operating cadence is vital for sales success because it provides predictability and orderliness in an otherwise chaotic process. It enables salespeople to hit their targets and achieve their objectives by breaking down the sales process into manageable tasks that can be completed daily, weekly, or monthly. The beauty of an operating cadence is that it can be customised to fit the needs of any sales organisation.
For example, a small start-up might have a daily cadence that includes checking in with each team member, reviewing performance metrics, and brainstorming new ideas to generate leads. A larger enterprise organisation might have a weekly or monthly cadence that includes task assignments, progress reports, and budget reviews.
What activities should be in your team’s cadence?
It’s no secret that sales teams are under immense pressure to perform. With targets to hit and quotas to meet, things can quickly slip through the cracks. An operating cadence is a critical tool that can help sales teams stay organised and focused, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks and everyone is working towards common goals.
So, what exactly should be included in a team’s cadence? Here are four essential elements:
1. Check-in meetings
Check-in meetings can take many different forms, including:
Daily or weekly huddles
Quarterly business reviews (QBRs)
Annual planning sessions
2. Coaching and development sessions
Sales teams need coaching and development sessions to improve their skills and knowledge, which should be conducted regularly, preferably weekly, to ensure that everyone is up to date with the latest information.
Coaching and development sessions should cover various topics, including product knowledge, customer service, and sales techniques. They should be led by experienced salespeople who can share their insights and feedback with the team.
3. Planning sessions
Regular, recurring planning sessions can keep your team focused and on track to achieving its objectives. It can be easy for sales teams to get side-tracked and lose sight of their goals. Incorporating weekly, quarterly, or yearly planning sessions can help prevent this by keeping everyone aligned and focused on the company’s objectives.
4. Don’t forget the 121s
Regular 121s, or one-on-ones, with direct reports, can keep team members focused and on track. This meeting allows managers to give feedback, identify roadblocks, and offer assistance promptly.
Additionally, an operating cadence with embedded 121s can help prevent problems before they start by catching minor issues early on. You can provide direct employee support and dive deeper into potential pipeline issues.
Benefits abound to having a streamlined operating cadence.
An efficient and streamlined operating cadence is the key to success for any sales team, and you will increase your productivity and sales by reaping these benefits.
1. Keeps everyone on track
The main benefit of having a well-designed operating cadence is that it helps keep everyone on track. By having a set schedule and process for things like follow-ups, check-ins, and reporting, you can be sure that nothing falls through the cracks and that everyone is always aware of what needs to be done next. This can be a massive help in keeping your team organised and efficient.
2. Focuses on what’s most important
Operating cadences help teams stay focused and avoid getting side-tracked by unimportant tasks. They also ensure that deadlines are met and that critical tasks are given the attention they deserve. This way, the team will stay aligned on the most important and high-priority tasks.
3. Makes it easier to identify problems
Another significant benefit of having a well-designed operating cadence is that it makes it much easier to identify problems. When everything is clear and concise, it’s easy to see when something isn’t working right or if there are any bottlenecks in the process.
This clarity can be a massive help in making sure that your team is always on the same page, know what needs to be accomplished and when, and can help avoid any costly mistakes.
4. Creates more accountability
Operating cadences also help build a sense of discipline and accountability within a team. Regular check-ins and specific roles assigned to each team member ensure everyone knows exactly what is expected of them. This can-do wonders for overall morale and motivation and boost productivity levels.
5. Presents growth opportunities
Finally, operating cadences create adaptable systems that can be adjusted as your business grows and changes. By having a clear and concise way to run things, you can easily make changes without disrupting the whole system.
Getting the ball rolling
A cohesive and organised operating cadence is key to continued business success. Here are some basic steps to incorporate your own or tweak the one you already have.
Get back to basics
The best advice when creating your own operating cadence is to keep it simple. Start with the basics like check-in meetings and coaching, and then add on.
The important thing is to get into the habit of setting and following through with regular routines. Once you have established a solid foundation, you can build more complicated processes that better suit your needs.
Work on your flexibility
Flexibility is the name of the game when you are in the first stages of developing an operating cadence. Not everyone works or learns the same, so you must allow for individual differences.
That being said, you need to implement ground rules to create a compelling operating cadence. The first step is to come together as a team and decide the best times for everyone to meet.
This can be done by surveying availability or asking each team member what times work best for them. Once you have a general idea of when everyone is available, you can start to piece together a meeting schedule.
Repeat and review
Nothing stays the same, and as your team grows, the goals and needs of the team will grow with it. That’s why continually reviewing and improving your operating cadences is vital to meet the changing landscape better.
Set time aside for periodic reviews of your operating cadence to identify features that are not working and should be updated or revised.
It’s not too late to get started.
At Ellivate Consulting, we understand that operating cadences help keep everyone accountable and focused on hitting their goals and provide a forum for sharing best practices and troubleshooting any challenges.
If you want your sales team to be successful, make sure you have a robust operating cadence in place. It will make all the difference. Contact Ellivate today to get started.