Sales is a Team Sport
Aligning the Players with the Playbook
The best teams are built with individuals who work together for a common purpose and are willing to sacrifice for the good of the team.
Great teams are built when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This applies to any field of play and, in business, the field where you play is the battleground on which business is won.
Putting together the elements required to build an effective sales team requires an understanding of the task in detail and the tools and systems to support that. It requires great players and ones that can work as part of a team. Bringing all of that together will deliver sales success.
Sales is a Team Sport (chapters of the book)
The Sales Process
Sales is a process. It has no start, it has no end, it just keeps going around and around. But the sales process lets fly opportunities, some call pursuits, sometimes engagements or just plainly ‘a sale’, These are not part of the process but are driven by the process. The sales pursuit should be thought of more as a project.
Without a process, without a plan and without the right team of players there is no season of success; perhaps only the occasional win and very often some heavy defeats. To keep winning everyone needs to understand the part they play and the importance that it brings to team success.
The Product or Service
Understanding the product or service is not about the importance of learning facts and figures but is instead about the importance of positioning the product against the competition, knowing where you sit and they sit, know where to go next, where to pursue and where not to engage.
Without a good understanding of product or service strengths and weaknesses and that of the competition, and without an understanding of the needs of the customer and the market means even the best management of a sales pursuit will fail.
Sales Opportunity Management
Each sales opportunity, from the start to finish, is a series of steps with check gates. Each sales pursuit, though it may sit alone, is part of a much bigger picture where all the sales are managed en-masse, and the right resource used to focus on the deals that offer the greatest return and the best chance of winning.
Having the discipline within the process, and of the salesperson, to clearly identify the key elements that will improve the likelihood of success will reduce wasted time and cost on fruitless pursuits and allow greater focus on those with a greater chance of a win.
Today customers are much more self-serving. Relying on salespeople to educate the client on options available and the product or service for sale has been replaced extensively by the client researching online, reading reviews and asking other customers for their thoughts. The ability to have more input from more people has now tipped the balance away from the influence of the salesperson to the influence of the masses.
The Content used and deployed by Marketing needs to reflect the customer needs and the competitive landscape. It needs to drive the start of the sales pursuit and stimulate the first shoots of interest. Marketing is now a team sport too, from the individual to the team, from corporate and through formal channels and social media.
Customer Satisfaction is the measure of how well a company is performing. Delight a customer and they will possibly recommend you to someone else. But underperform and customers, will be much more likely to complain or pass on the bad news.
Customer Satisfaction is important in understanding how customers feel today and how that is likely to change over time. It provides an effective feedback loop for the salesperson on their own performance and that of their team and their product or service.
CRM is an Attitude not a System
CRMs provide an opportunity to develop foresight into the wider impact for the company in pursuing new sales opportunities. A CRM offers sales automation and is used by more than just the sales team.
A good CRM System empowers the salespeople and provides insight to the business. It educates Marketing and it informs Sales. It allows sharper decision-making through improved efficiency with greater consistency. That a CRM can do all that indicates just how significant this is and why getting it right across all elements is vital to the overall success of the sales pursuits.
Historically Channel Sales was seen as the way third parties would sell on behalf of another company. Today omnichannel sales allows the customer to engage online whether to research, browse or buy, and to do the same through third-party platforms or directly in a shop.
Whether as a preferred model, or as an additional model, whether applied generically, or only in some markets or territories the Sales Channel approach allows greater flexibility and, in many cases, a lower risk option for entering or developing new markets and new products. Whether Channel Sales is part of a mix or, for some business today, is how they operate exclusively through an alternative channel strategy.
Building the Winning Team
Building a sales team is an easy thing to do. All the ingredients are well understood and used in countless millions of organisations worldwide. Building an efficient and winning sales team takes a little more effort, and it never stops. Every team is different and none of them stay as they are for long, such are the dynamic levers constantly pulling at the process, the product, the clients, the seller, and the technology.
Sales really is a team sport more than anything else in business. Play to win and get the best on field and off-field team you can, with the best coaches, the best equipment and the best game-plan. Be sure to practice, train hard and remember, after every game there is another game to be played. Great sportspeople can win games, but only great sales teams can win a season and lift the trophy at the end of the year.
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