Sales Teamwork Dos and Don’ts
Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an entire company to sell a product or service. The most untapped resources that sales teams and sales operations fail to exploit are the people at their company outside the sales department. There are people in the company who want to win as much as you do—so why not let them provide you (free) support?
If you’re in the sales hotseat, don’t forget that there are many other people in your organization who will benefit from winning the latest deal. So just because you’re the pretty face on the line, don’t make the mistake of leaving all that power behind.
Here are a few dos and don’ts to think about when expanding your team beyond “sales.” Also, by relying on others for their support, you will reduce the amount of time you spend spinning your wheels.
Ask for insight and help with research
When putting a proposal or quote together, or planning a pre-sales call, research is key. Make sure you do your legwork, but then ask the appropriate subject-matter experts for that edge that will win you the deal.
Ask for connections
You might be surprised to find someone within your organization who may know someone at your prospect’s company or have some other connection that can help build credibility. You won’t know unless you look (at LinkedIn, for example) or you ask!
Get ideas around what competitors are doing
It’s up to us to stay on top of our competitors. But it’s likely that other people in the organization know as much or more than we do about the competition. Or they may have a unique perspective on the competition. Wouldn’t it help to know that information before going into a conversation?
Ask for help with demos/technical aspects
Demonstrations and “spec-work” are a big part of sales in the modern economy. Often, with a little magic from someone from operations, the “demo” can really dazzle the prospect. So why not get a technical resource? Even if you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated sales engineer for such tasks, ask around—we all tend to get myopic around our offerings. You may just find the right angle to catch the customer’s interest.
Get prospects and current customers talking
No matter how emotional, or logical, you are with prospects, if they are fairly new to working with you, then it’s hard to build credibility. But if your customers are talking about you, then you’re getting closer to a referral. If you can get a referral to start, that’s the best approach. Barring that, try to get customers and prospects talking earlier on, especially if you have a customer who selected you over a competitor your prospect is seriously considering.
While these are all great things to do, please don’t forget that YOU are the sales rockstar. And that, wherever you can, you need to shape expectations and direct the conversation. You have the sales experience, and you are the face of the organization—so don’t lose or undermine that privilege.
Let them talk to the customer
When you get a great idea from an engineer, you need to craft the message. When a subject-matter expert provides the right answers to an RFP question, you need to refine what they wrote. Remember, you are built for the sales role, and while someone else may know the technical jargon necessary to get a point across, it’s your responsibility to make it accessible to the prospect. Whether in writing or in person, don’t let non-sales members hijack the sale.
Tell you how to sell
Everyone has his or her opinion. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re the one who does the SALES research, reads blogs, attends seminars, and learns through trial and error. So unless your director of operations happens to be an amazing sales expert (because of current or past experience), take suggestions with a grain of salt.
Forget to thank them!
While everyone has an incentive to win, the work your colleagues will do for you is likely not in their job description. So they are going out of their way and adding to their already busy workload to help you out. Make sure every request is warranted so you don’t get a reputation for being lazy, and while you may (or may not) earn a fat commission, unless your organization is progressive, your partners very likely do not. A “thank you” goes a long way, and, if done appropriately, gifts or shared celebration can go even further.
Teamwork Wins More
When you’re selling, you need to do everything you can to tip the scales in your favor. With limited budgets, don’t forget to do the things you need to do to get noticed—and that means going to your bench to see who else you have on your team!