Up until recently, teamwork across a sales team was an unnatural thing–a mere myth. Sales teams have the natural tendency to operate as lone wolves hunting the woods for deals and prospects. Too often, Salespeople are off on their own sales floor and not thinking about how they can partner with Customer Success, Marketing and Engineering to get the upper hand in the sales process.
Today’s buyers are different and demand a full customer experience which extends beyond talking to Sales. They want someone to aide them throughout their demo process, they want to read relevant content throughout the sales process, and they want a reliable product that will solve their problems. All these things can be checked off the list, if and when, Sales partners with their entire organization. To work effectively across your organization, it doesn’t require crisis counseling–it just requires a full opt-in from everyone.
Step #1: Hire Collaborators
This may seem obvious, but can be overlooked. Sales leaders want to hire experienced reps who are able to talk about their accomplishments in pushing hard to exceed their quota, but they don’t want car salesmen anymore. Instead, when interviewing candidates, pay close attention to their use of “we” rather than “I”–even when talking about their sales quotas. Why? Sales may be a numbers game, but it’s not an individual sport anymore.
As sales cycles are growing more complex and as more stakeholders get involved on the buyer’s side–on the Sales side, there has to be more than one player as well. Think about it: there’s the sales manager, Sales Enablement, Product, Content Marketing, Customer Success, etc. All of those departments play a crucial role in the entire sales cycle–even though they aren’t in Sales. So, in order for those departments to play nice with Sales, we need to evolve from the lone wolf to the collaborator.
Sure, every department has their own separate function, goals, practices, culture, etc.–but when it comes down to it, every department exists for the business and therefore must collaborate with one another to succeed. The collaboration within an organization must begin with Sales because they’re the one department that within their day-to-day has the capacity to reach every department. Sales sends tickets to Support, they partner with Customer Success for upsells and cross-sells, they work with Marketing to surface great content and collaborate with Engineering to test new features.
Step #2: Make Time For Work That Matters
Every Salesperson, whether they’re an MDR, SDR, or AE spends some part of their day on non-selling activities. By freeing up time–even 5% of their day–to focus on meeting and collaborating with colleagues outside of the sales team will improve cross-departmental activity.
With investing in tools to increase sales productivity, it will not only free up time for Salespeople to focus on their deals, it’ll free up time for them to collaborate with their colleagues and get an outside perspective on how other departments can aide in their deals as well. For example, a Salesperson can spend five minutes with Product Marketing and figure out how to tailor their sales pitch to different buyer personas. Or, if a potential buyer is further down the sales funnel, a Salesperson can spend five minutes strategizing with Support on how to fix a product issues for a prospect.
Although these are technically non-selling activities, these brief moments across the organization are crucial for the sales process. It helps the Salesperson understand different mindsets and helps get the full picture through the lifecycle of the buyer’s journey. So, let’s all take a few minutes out of our day, step away from the sales floor and make time for work that matters too.
Step #3: Invest in a Built-In Collaboration Tool
At ToutApp, we use Slack and we love it. A lot of us cannot imagine our workday without it. Although certain conversations are better suited for a face-to-face format, for all the quick and little conversations–Slack is where it’s at. All team communications from deal progress, cupcakes in the kitchen to wishing a colleague a happy birthday is all in one place. A tool like Slack allows teams, small and large, to talk to each other without interrupting your sales process (too much).
Further, all Slack communications can be segmented by channel from AEs, SDRs, Sales, Marketing, etc. for even more succinct and streamlined conversations. This ensures that the appropriate people know what’s going on, have access to the right content and gives your organization an easy route to cross-departmental collaboration.
Pro-tip for when using Slack, it’s important to have channels cross-pollinate between teams. For example, over here at ToutApp, our #closers club is a mixture of the Sales, Customer Success and Marketing teams.
Step #4: Have More Focused and Transparent Meetings
If your organization provides a paid service, you’ll need the involvement of every department to make sure that the customer experience is seamless. To get there, your organization needs to have more focused and transparent meetings across every team. Much like how an organization would work to align Sales and Marketing teams, having transparent and consistent meetings across the entire company–like an All Hands is a great way to foster collaboration.
During company-wide meetings, every team should share stories of deals they’ve closed, renewals, product best practices, customer satisfaction scores and share new blog content. In sharing all this information, it keeps everyone invested and informed with the happenings of every department.
Much like how Sales is moving away from the car salesman and lone wolf approach, other departments have to do their part and move away from working in silos. As organizations begin to understand and embrace the need for transparency in meetings, it’s beginning to positively impact their growth and revenue numbers. How? As Sales begins to partner with Customer Success, the number of cross-sells and upsells increases. Likewise as Sales partners with Marketing, the content created will be more relevant to buyers and aide in the sales process.
Good Sales is Collaboration
It’s time to stop the siloed sales team and truly invest in full-organization collaboration. As Sales continues to evolve, they’re going to need to collaborate with other departments in order to connect with their buyers.