Many sales teams have been caught off guard by the dramatic change in buyer behavior. In both the B2C and B2B environments, sales productivity has been enormously challenged by the “New Buyer”. CRM software can help.
Just a short time ago, sales managers focused on the sales process. Their goal was to create qualification criteria, opportunity scorecards and activity metrics to force lower performing individuals to follow the lead of star performers. Discipline and competitiveness was an essential part of the sales staff performance.
With today’s longer sales cycle, lower conversion rates, compressed margins and forecasts that are no longer reliable, the sales machine is stalling. The good news is the new buying process has opened the opportunity to build relationships with flexible solutions based on insight and judgment.
Collaborative Sales Teams
According to the Harvard Business Review, successful sales organizations are seeing the benefits of collaboration. They site statistical proof that sales teams produce more results when they share resources, enroll colleague involvement and coordinate with the capabilities of others.
A few short years ago, none of this was possible. Sales always went to the “Lone Wolf” who executed the day-to-day tasks well…without the involvement of anyone else. In fact, it was the individual performance that personified excellence. Sales managers looked for this type of individual that simply got the job done alone.
Internal Sales Networks
When all the sales reps exchange information about accounts via a sales CRM platform the company stops driving sales people into compliance. Instead, the networked approach encourages and enables more sales through opportunity.
Sales teams are able to aggregate skills, knowledge and experience when they mastermind for solutions and uncover new opportunities. Instead of trying to “beat” their sales colleagues, they debate tactics for generating new business.
New Roles for Sales Managers
While the online CRM does an incredible job of keeping the sales manager aware of the individual activities of a salesperson, the role is dramatically redefined. Managing a collaborative sales team is no about being an inspector or the enforcer of a sales process. Compliance to a prescribed set of daily activities is not what is required.
Sales managers use customer relationship management and team building activities to facilitate idea exchanges among sales team members. Collective brainstorming allows each of the salespeople to get ideas about how to unstick their stuck deals.
While all this meeting and collaboration may seem to be a big suck on productive sales time, evidence shows that tapping into the collective reaps stronger sales numbers. The statistics indicate that the knowledge and expertise of each member boosts the ability for the whole team to succeed. When salespeople are cheered on by their cohorts, they will bring more sales than when they treat fellow salespeople as a competitor. Your CRM software makes it possible.
Quoting from the Harvard Business Review article, “the old adage that sales reps are coin-operated individuals should no longer apply.”