Collaboration is really difficult to be achieved, especially in the extremely competitive environment of sales. However, sales team collaboration is worth the time and effort as it can bring not only sales increase but business success in general. We are presenting you four (4) key tips towards this direction:
1. Build Trust
Jeff Kear, Founder of Planning Pod supports that the first thing you need to do to encourage collaboration in your sales force is to remove collaboration barriers. According to him, one big barrier is the development of hyper-competition among salespeople making them reluctant to share information or help each other out of fear of giving away a sale. His way to prevent this is to create a compensation structure that is higher on salary and lower on sales commissions. In addition, he has divvied up industries/verticals sales targets among salespeople so they aren't competing for the same clients.
David Hoffeld, CEO of Hoffeld Group underlines that planning and clearly defining roles will equip colleagues to work with, not against one another. In addition he suggests us to prepare buyers informing them with whom and for what they are going to communicate and clearly convey the value of each member of our sales team. He supports that in this way we can create a positive first impression and prompt the buyer to be receptive to any individual of our sales team.
2. Share Information
Nick Kane, Managing Partner at Janek Performance Group suggests putting our sales team in a position to share information and communicate amongst the team. He explains that no one individual knows more than the collective so we should encourage information sharing and learning. His advice is to ask the more seasoned reps to impart their knowledge of your products, industry, etc. and encourage newer reps to share the strategies that have been working for them.
Jeff Kear, Founder of Planning Pod, provides us an example of sales team information sharing, a 10-minute phone conference every morning. He refers that the morning phone conference has become a great way for team members to share ideas, advice and contacts with each other to help team members close their leads.
3. Set motivating team goals
Gerald Bricker from Mentors Guild supports that we have to understand that each person on the team has a unique perspective and focus on determining the voice of the customer and employ the strengths of the company in exceeding the customers' expectations.
According to Nick Kane, Managing Partner at Janek Performance Group, those that work toward a common goal tend to be more collaborative in their everyday work. This is why, he advises us to encourage a team atmosphere and reward them for their team accomplishments.
Jonathan Kendall, President & CEO of PopUpSelling , has no doubt that the only way to motivate a wide range of personality types, with different upbringing, generational idiosyncrasies, that see the world differently, and have unique goals is individualized motivation within the team. He is of the opinion that the promotion outcome must inspire and motivate the individual sales professional, giving us the following examples. The higher-spirited sales people often want the opportunity to help more people, and solve more problems. Boomers want to be secure, they're getting old. Millennials want to feel special, like their parents have been telling them for years. His suggestion is that with technology, and proper training, it's not hard to get it right, but it takes time and effort. He underlines that the rewards are huge and the sales staff will appreciate that management knows them!
4. Start aiming to Cooperation
Joseph Flahiff from Mentors Guild recognizes that growth and learning take time. We cannot expect from sales staff being used to close sales independently to start now to depend absolutely on each other to close a sale. At least to begin with, Joseph Flahiff suggests us to strive to get cooperation instead of collaboration. Using a great analogy, he explains us the difference between cooperation and collaboration:
“Think of a relay team vs. a soccer team. When I have the baton in a relay, I am the only one running, when we trade the baton we are cooperating. A soccer team on the other hand, is constantly collaborating, people play multiple roles, whatever is needed at the time, and even if I am not the one with the ball, I am still in the game blocking, positioning, or defending”.
He continues stating that coordination of sales staff efforts can make a powerful jump in productivity and success. Finally, he describes that coordination looks like two people working together, passing the ball back and forth, and looking out for each other. We have to admit that cooperation seems to be a really good start for sales teams’ collaboration.