According to Harvard Business School Online, 89% of corporate employees work on at least one global team. 72% believe this diversity positively impacts their team performance. Yet only 18% of global organizations feel equipped to operate successfully. More times than not, communication issues inhibit international teams from working together efficiently. If you really want to experience the benefits of a diverse, high-performing team, how can you ensure the communication barrier doesn’t get in the way?
The key is finding a common language. While words, cultural differences in communication styles—especially over business communication tools like chat or email—and regional slang terms can lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding, there’s one language that we can all understand: data.
“When the world went remote in 2020, global sales teams were ahead of the curve,” Butler Raines, Ambition VP of Product and Engineering says. “These teams were already thinking about how to create equitable experiences for employees with data and technology, no matter their location or time zone. A solution like Ambition helps leaders treat their people equally because it allows them to set clear goals tied to specific outcomes in the same way for everyone.”
Out of Ambition’s top 20 accounts by total number of users, 16 of them cover different time zones, including New York, London, Berlin, Paris, Sydney, Dublin, and Mexico City. And in this group of top 20 accounts, Auto & General Southeast Asia is represented, with teams in Singapore and Thailand.
Auto & General Southeast Asia owns and operates Budget Direct Insurance in Singapore, which specializes in Car, Motorcycle and Travel insurance; and EasyCompare in Thailand, which compares and sells Car Insurance. They began using Ambition in 2020 to help keep their people connected after a period of global isolation.
“The tool became vital, especially in Thailand where our teams have mostly worked from home from April 2020 to June 2022,” Geoffrey Dickman, Auto & General Southeast Asia Head of Customer Experience says. “Having access to the Ambition dashboard allowed us to easily stay up to date with one another’s performance, celebrate each win, and rebuild our sense of team camaraderie after such a big world event. Now, there’s a sense of friendly competition between our Southeast Asia teams when it comes to sales outcomes. Often our in-country sales leadership will tap into national pride to encourage teams to dig deep and secure the win for the day.”
Auto & General Southeast Asia’s international teams don’t have to use the same spoken language in the same way to work together effectively; they just have to use the same system and look at the same data and targets. Operating within one platform helps the Singapore and Thailand teams coach with consistency, stay aligned on larger business goals, and develop repeatable processes that drive pipeline and revenue.
Learning a new language requires 4 basic skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Learning the “language” of Ambition happens in much the same way.
- Listening: As new users watch what happens on leaderboards, workflows, and scorecards, they hear and see what high-performers do.
- Speaking: Through the enablement of consistent coaching and onboarding programs, new users start to practically understand how they, too, can become high-performers.
- Reading and writing: Engaging with each component of the platform on a daily basis reinforces revenue-driving behaviors. This encourages new users to put those behaviors into practice, and eventually, the motions of good performance become second nature.
Remote work presents challenges. Keeping your teams aligned on all fronts—short- and long-term goals, processes, and peer-to-peer collaboration and accountability—can be difficult, even when the challenge is simply a time zone difference. With the added layer of different languages and backgrounds, sales leaders have to go the extra mile to ensure that barrier doesn’t negatively impact their team’s ability to reach goals.
“Across countries and cultures, not all humans are motivated in the same way,” Raines says. “Some people are motivated by simply knowing what they need to complete in a day. Others are motivated by being first on the leaderboard. Ambition empowers leaders to engage their reps however they’re wired to achieve.”
Reps on Auto & General Southeast Asia’s sales teams feel motivated by the ability to change their anthem or winning song after each closed/won deal. “The team gets excited about the sale and connecting the new song and win story,” Dickman says. “It was great to see our team take ownership of the platform and use it to add moments of fun into their day while keeping their colleagues on their toes as winning anthems continually changed.”
While cultural differences and language barriers can inhibit traditional knowledge sharing across global teams and markets, data transcends the limitations of language and culture. Having historical and real-time performance metrics at your fingertips allows global teams to better understand how they can develop a repeatable process within their own markets and achieve their peak potential.