sales management

Do You Run a Sales Team or Just a Group of People Who Report to You?

Sales Loves Collaboration

Whenever we work with groups of salespeople, there is one prevailing theme: They love to interact with each other and share ideas. When salespeople are presented with an activity that involves sharing experiences and asking for feedback, the level of engagement skyrockets. Sellers want more opportunities to share with and learn from their peers.

If sellers love collaboration and learning from each other, shouldn't sales leaders be running their teams to foster these dynamics?

Many sales leaders run their teams as individuals reporting to them as opposed to teams learning from each other. When we coach sales organizations, we often find very little structure in place to facilitate peer-to-peer interaction.

Many teams meet regularly to talk about their pipeline. But it’s usually a call where individuals are sharing information with their leader, or the leader is sharing to the entire group. If a deal is going south, the sales leader who jumps in the middle helps course correct.

More customers are now informed about their purchasing decisions. They constantly search for value-added insights and innovative solutions. We come across many sellers who are overwhelmed just trying to keep up. This is exacerbated by the fact that even the “sales call” itself is changing (Zoom, anyone?). There simply aren’t enough resources to support sellers who are trying to stay on top.

Do you need more resources? What if your team shared and collaborated more effectively? What if the insights that one seller effectively used with a customer was leveraged across an entire market? What if your sellers discussed ways to “unstick” deals, and you didn’t have to always jump in and save the day?

Look at how you run your team.

Do you really need that round-robin reporting? Is anyone learning from that call besides you? Would those be better one-on-one calls? Could you instead pick a few active deals and engage your whole team to provide feedback?

When two of your sellers are working on similar types of deals, could you engage them to collaborate with each other versus just with you? Could this free you up to do more coaching to drive performance with struggling sellers?

Has your team taken the time to discuss what trends they are seeing? Could several sellers take responsibility for developing creative responses to these trends and then share with the group?

What about skill building? Could you engage your team to build discovery question banks together with their “greatest hit questions”? Could they brainstorm how to best position that new product you are offering, or could they compile a list of best practices for handling customer objections?

How do your incentives inhibit cross-team collaboration? Can better teamwork lift everyone up?

Really think about the “team” you lead today. Are your sellers functioning like a team?

If not, it’s probably not because they don’t want to collaborate and share ideas. In fact, there’s probably some untapped magic just waiting for an opportunity to come out. You just need to transform the group of individuals reporting to you into a real working team.

Contact us for more ways to smoothly run your sales team, including best practices for asking the hard questions.

About The Author

Author photo Rachel understands what makes salespeople tick. She specializes in strategies that drive the change needed to produce results. She has managed many sales force transformations, helping sales leaders realign organizations and define new selling models. She has partnered with many organizations across industries to design and deliver sales training, coaching, and change management programs. Rachel has a knack for crystallizing complex concepts into a single picture with high-impact messages.

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