How to Make Your Sales Team Successful Through Collaboration
Not too long ago, I was sitting in a meeting with a group of fellow executives and the conversation inevitably turned to communication.
“We’re all over the place,” I remember one of my colleagues saying in a moment of frustration. “We’re using chat, Google docs, GoToMeeting, Slack— there’s no way to track any of our conversations, no one’s in sync, and there’s no standard of how to interact or communicate here!”
That was the moment I really began to realize that the effects of misalignment had reared its ugly head at my company, resonating from those on the front line all the way to the top.
Enhance Sales Team Collaboration
As a sales leader, especially when it comes to building out solid teams, I’ve always thought that collaboration was one of the pillars of success. In fact, I’ve seen it lend to positive outcomes firsthand, again and again. Being on the same page with your sales team while setting/maintaining a cadence has, in my experience, always been key to creating sales teams that win. Just as importantly, I’ve also seen a lack of collaboration pave the way towards lost resources, unnecessarily longer sales cycles, miscommunications and even total failures.
I’ll give you an example. At one of my previous companies, collaboration was a real struggle. We had inconsistent/limited tracking between our prospect, customer and partner interactions and our sales team. Most of our communication as a team (besides in person) was done via email— a big mess considering discussions detailing monthly contract versioning, negotiations, and conversations were all tracked either through the inbox or a CRM system that wasn’t consistently updated.
This would get incredibly confusing for multiple reasons, including the fact that if you wanted to have an intelligent conversation about specific sales imperatives, you had to hope that you were replying to an email with the latest email thread. You also had to worry about messages being missed because something accidentally hit spam, and that everyone was keeping up-to-date with reporting through the latest mass emails. Even more, one of my biggest concerns was the struggle to stay up-to-date with our overall engagement.
Not only did this system slow down collaboration for my team, it made it so that there was no consistent method of engaging with partners and prospects. There was no central repository for the latest versions of contracts and collateral, but most importantly, no way for me, as a leader, to be able to see productivity stats in real-time to help coach, move the business forward and pivot my team.
In the end, these exact same obstacles are what end up limiting true collaboration in a sales team. Even just one of these issues can mean longer close times, lost opportunities, and the inability to mitigate big problems before they become full-blown.
I’ve taken these experiences to heart and, in all of the sales teams I’ve worked with since, have put a huge emphasis on ensuring unified collaboration is a main priority.
If you’re running into all (or even one or two) of the roadblocks that I’ve mentioned above, my biggest piece of advice would be to start looking for solutions now— to reach your goals, set processes in place, and create a new standard for interactions with everyone around your sales team. Not only does a solid plan for collaboration keep your customers happy and you looking credible, it improves efficiency, speed, and one of the biggest benefits, time.
So how can you make your company a collaboration-focused powerhouse? It all starts with the right tools.
Look for solutions that do more with less.
There’s literally no tool out there that will be able to do 100% of everything you need as a sales team. But the right tool can help manage most of it, making your job as a sales leader less complicated and reporting/analytics less of a headache.
Tools need to work with your team, prospects and customers.
Don’t make the mistake of going for tools that are geared towards one group or the other. At the end of the day, your sales team needs internal collaboration, optimized interactions with their prospects, and a way for these interactions to all seamlessly lend to the acquisition, nurturing and maintaining of customers. If you’re looking for a solid solution, it needs to help you work towards all of these focuses.
Real-time engagement is a must.
In any sales team, setting the framework for accountability and transparency is paramount to success. As a leader you need to know who’s making the efforts, who’s reaching out, what each team member’s pipeline looks like, and the expected close/revenue ratio. None of this can be done quickly and efficiently without real-time productivity stats and after, the necessary follow-up to ensure impediments are out of the way. This allows you to keep your team laser-focused on what’s important and doing what they do best— sell.
Especially if you’re starting from scratch, mapping out exactly how to make your group a team of collaborative sales superstars can seem overwhelming. Just remember— with the right tools, your guidance as a team leader, and an emphasis on collaboration every day, your team will be ready to crush their KPIs and rake the revenue home.