Two teams at competing companies sign up for a productivity app. Both are large, aggresive sales teams with big budgets and overlapping products. One of them takes full advantage of the app's collaboration features with tons of management buy-in; the other team is unable to be truly be transparent and collaborative and suffers from lack of leadership. So who wins? Which company is ultimately more successful?
You know the answer as well as I do: the more collaborative team. In the end, though, it’s really easy to recognize this as a successful model, but it’s really difficult to act on it. At a past employer, I struggled through a corporate job at a major tech company where this was the case; there were many complaints about a lack of internal transparency, but no one really stood up to change this. In the end, though, this is a detrimental cycle that only hurts you, the company, and your job.
Ultimately, it all comes down to this: someone has to either step up to reshape corporate culture to be more transparent, or the company will flounder.
The latest shake-ups at Yahoo are a clear example of this: the company floundered under weak leadership; now, the appointment of a new CEO has led the company in a far more decisive direction. The decision to “open the kimono” and really communicate across the team doesn’t just lie with management. Each employee has the choice of whether they want to get candid, and this can have far-reaching effects.
Sales is an especially challenging arena to be transparent in. It’s a department that’s traditionally based on competition. But the best salespeople out there can’t just be competitive - they need to be team players. Each salesperson brings a unique strength to the table - whether it be an insight into messaging that works, a secret to better prospecting, or a wealth of connections in their personal network. Uniting these strengths together is what makes a sales team unstoppable and their company more successful.
While working at Tout, I've dealt with a lot of teams with different organizational structures, and I’ve seen that initial model I mentioned of two competing companies with different internal structures. That’s why, in creating a sales productivity app, we’ve gradually shifted our whole ideology from the individual salesperson to the team model. There are a lot of sales team collaboration features in ToutApp - template and group sharing, deep CRM integration, team analytics, and best practices on which templates work best.
I see a ton of startups and smaller companies taking huge, huge advantage of our team collaboration features. It’s the larger companies that struggle with a sense of appropriateness, openness, and clear leadership. And, ultimately, the ones who are able to behave with a truly transparent attitude are the ones that will differentiate themselves from the competition.
So go ahead and share a "secret" or best practice with your boss or coworker. Help teach them something they didn't already know. Pass on your knowledge and talk frankly. You're not creating competition for yourself or giving anything away - you're helping your company and becoming a leader.
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