Want a stronger sales team?

From “a house divided cannot stand” to “no man is an island” to the slightly less literary, “teamwork makes the dream work,” the value of playing as a team versus every man for himself can’t be understated. A sales team is always going to be stronger than a collection of individuals looking out for themselves.

As many salespeople know, however, sales can be an inherently solitary job. Field reps are always going to be surrounded by people, but with all the travel they have to do, it won’t necessarily be your coworkers that you can form a solid relationship with. And while employees are generally more productive, the rapid increase in remote workers (include 11.1 percent of sales reps) can lead to a loss of the “team” mentality. Sales managers can keep the following tips in mind to hold onto the team mentality––no matter where their reps are physically.

1. The “Team” Goes Beyond Sales

You’re presumably already having team meetings, so I won’t linger on those. If you’re looking for some guidance on those, Salesforce and Forbes offered 10 tips to having a successful one. Although, one thing you should keep in mind is how productive your meetings are, and whether you’re using your meeting time effectively.

People want to know that their reach extends beyond just their department. Marketing, the product team, operations, sales—no department exists in a vacuum, and having that broader “company-as-a-team” mentality will strengthen your sales team. Sales and marketing alignment is the topic du jour, but consider some methods of broader alignment:

  • Connect the rest of the company to the sales process: Whether through eBlasts announcing winners of a quarterly contest or displaying sales figures on an office display, make sure that the salespeople know that they’re appreciated by the company at large.
  • Have one of your reps walk people through the sales cycle. It’s hard for people who aren’t in sales to grasp just how much work goes into landing a single deal. Whether it’s through a short video or a company-wide seminar, this is another way to connect sales to the company.
  • Go beyond alignment with marketing. Alignment is what you should have with other departments, but being tightly knit with marketing is key if you want the buyer to have a consistent experience from the moment they hear about you to the moment they sign. Your salespeople won’t necessarily spend anywhere as much time with marketing as they do with each other, but the team mentality will help them impact each other in positive ways without stepping on each others’ toes.

2. Give Them Good (Common) Resources

Nothing can ensure that your team isn’t on the same page than…not empowering them to be on the same page. Make sure that every sales rep has access to the training resources as everyone else. Again, you can use the video-based approach or do in-person training—new employees shadowing others also presents an opportunity for your salespeople to establish relationships, which they otherwise might not have. Beyond getting to know each other better, there are innumerable benefits for having mentor(s) at different levels.

And while salespeople might grumble about CRM, it has its place for your team—as long as it’s not stretched beyond its capabilities. In addition to helping them keep track of interactions with their own contacts, it helps your sales reps be aware of what’s going on with your team, makes sure customer information isn’t siloed, and keeps your team members’ from accidentally stepping out on each others’ toes/accounts.

Having the right resources can also be on the content front so salespeople not only have access to all the sales content they need, but also:

  • Have easy access to what they need (so they’re not creating their own customer-facing content)
  • Know when content is added or updated (so they’re not presenting the wrong thing or aren’t seeking to create something that they didn’t know existed)
  • Be able to access and present that content no matter what device they happen to have (this gets more important when team members use their own devices)

3. Help Them Learn from Each Other

I talked about the benefits of mentorship above, but there’s another way members of your sales team can learn from each other: Cold. Hard. Data.

When it comes to B2B sales, there are many aspects that vary immensely from one account to another. Every business has its own particular needs––businesses vary in the number of stakeholders that have a say in a purchasing decision, not to mention how much stake each of them holds. Even in a single industry the length of a sales cycle can be wildly inconsistent.

Salespeople and marketers alike know, however, that some things resonate, and some things fall flat. While the sales conversations behind closed doors have been hidden for a long time, giving everyone access to the same sales enablement solutions allows a picture to form from the aggregated data behind those meetings. We know that content plays a major role for consultative sales reps and we now know more particulars, including what content is used:

  • by top-performing sales reps,
  • at different stages of the sales cycle (including “deal-assisting” content),
  • and post-meeting engagement with content by the buyer.

Your reps no longer have to rely on educated guesses or on only their own past experiences. They can see at a glance what’s working and what isn’t, and then follow up with team members for even more context and then pair the right content.

The truth is that your salespeople are the most important people at your company. Period. They’re on the front line, giving your customers their first impressions of you, but they’re also responsible for your company’s revenue. You can’t afford to let them feel like they’re not a part of something bigger, and you need to give them the resources to learn from each other to keep improving. The rest of your company might learn a little something along the way.

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Image credit: Facebook Advertising – Maximizing The Power of Facebook by Joe the Goat Farmer | Creative Commons