The best B2B sales organizations tend to have similar patterns of structure, organizational effectiveness and behavior. Poor sales companies, on the other hand, tend to lack those critical characteristics.
Steve W. Martin, who teaches sales strategy at the USC Marshall School of Business, recently wrote an article about the subject for the Harvard Business Review, a general management magazine published by Harvard University.
Here’s a wrap-up of the seven attributes that Martin has identified as critical for organizational effectiveness, which he says makes for truly stellar sales teams.
- Form a centralized authority: Martin says this is the most important characteristic for a successful sales team. Strong leaders must “exercise authoritarian control, dictate team direction and establish the codes of behavior that all team members must abide by.”
- Create a Darwinian culture: Hire great new sales reps so that the older ones are challenged and perform at the highest level. Let go of salespeople who don’t contribute to their share of the revenue.
- Unite against a common enemy: Having a competitor that the sales team resents and fears brings people together.
- Form competitive teams: Break the salespeople into regions and sub-regions to foster a friendly rivalry. Salespeople already are competitive, but make sure they’re also respectful and cohesive.
- Promote a DIY attitude: Refuse to let salespeople blame other departments when they don’t succeed.
- Stay positive: Salespeople have a lot of highs and lows. The teams that live “in the moment” and don’t dwell on the lows will succeed.
- Be energetic: Avoid the “every man for himself” culture and work as a team. This is tough to balance with the competitive nature of the job, but if the team can unite for a common goal such as a revenue milestone, everyone wins.
It sounds like a lot, but truly stellar sales teams are willing to push harder to fulfill their own destiny. Teams that lack the above attributes usually are not successful.
What do you think? What attributes does your company have that help them rake in sales and increase organizational effectiveness?
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Source: Harvard Busines Review, February 2013