When working for commission, it's often difficult to see the big picture of collaborative based sales.
My friend’s son Max decided he wanted to buy the new Grand Theft Auto video game. To cut down on the cost, he asked his younger brother Jason if he wanted to chip in. Jason retorted that he was happy with the previous version – he had created a village-wide reputation in playing the game – but might want to play on the rare occasion.
Max, sporting a grin, had only one thing to say: “If you don’t pay, you can’t play.” In retaliation, Jason then noted that Max can’t use his game controller when he has a friend over. The pie continued to dwindle and the situation escalated until my friend had to break up an altercation.
Dramas such as this are played out every day in the playroom, in the boardroom, and most notably in the office. The salesperson is stereotypically noted for a proclivity to hoard the best accounts, cloister the best resources, and create drama around that end of month or end of quarter deal. These actions imply an attitude that goes like this: the size of the company pie is of no interest to me as long as I exceed my own sales goals: the opposite of collaborative based sales.
However, it must be realized that this behavior is not created in a vacuum. Management encourages divisive behavior, pitting one salesperson against another. Competitions are created and some firms deliberately create winners and losers. But by anointing winners and losers, the firm is actually the big loser. Just as was the case of the two brothers, sales and revenues are multiplicative not additive.
If Max and Jason had only agreed to share, then each would have both a controller and a video game – four things, not their current two. The sales team, by sharing leads and information, can accrue significant advantages for both the salespeople and the company as a whole, far beyond that of the traditional additive paradigm. As Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Possibilities Created Through Collaborative Based Sales:
- Closing more deals. As more of the team is able to participate in the sales effort, more deals will be closed – never a bad result in sales.
- Realizing more corporate revenue. This one is rather obvious as more revenue is the logical result of more sales.
- Developing greater sales depth. Sharing information, mentoring, and coaching will create a more cohesive and educated sales team.
- Reducing sales turnover. Sales turnover is very disruptive, and the amount of training and startup time can sap sales revenue. A happier, more cross-trained sales force is more likely to stay.
- Utilizing support resources more effectively. When the star dominates the sales process, there is an inevitable boom and bust cycle with resources being either over or under-utilized. A more balanced sales team can reduce this occurrence.
- Increasing momentum in terms of referrals. More sales can beget more momentum which can increase opportunities from both paid and unpaid referrers.
- Reducing dependence on discounting. Since deals will be more prevalent and flow from multiple sources, the quarter end rat race can become less important.
To showcase this principle on an entirely different type of team, let’s consider the Yankees.
Even if Alex Rodriquez sets the American league record of 191 RBIs this year, that will still be far less than what Jorge Posada and Mark Teixeira can produce collectively, even with just a good year. Now, if the entire lineup could have a consistently good – not even particularly great – year, the team will still have two to three times more RBIs than what A-Rod could achieve on his own with a moderately dormant supporting cast.
In short, as pie grows, so does the enthusiasm of the sales team and the sources of revenue. Instead of relying on one cleanup hitter driving in all the runs, get the entire lineup producing. With collaborative based sales, the results will speak for themselves.
Do also think collaborative based sales can help optimize a sales team's potential? Let us know in the comments!
We are proud to host this guest blog post by Larry Goldfarb.
Larry Goldfarb is a co-founder of Compliance11, an on-demand software company that provides compliance automation tools for the financial services industry. At Compliance11, he was in charge of sales, compliance expertise, and business strategy, while also played a major role in the marketing process appearing in print, in person, and online.
Prior to co-founding Compliance11, Larry was a senior executive at UBS where he served as Chief of Staff to the Regional CEO and Chief of Staff and Chief Information Officer of Global Legal and Compliance. He began his career at Peat Marwick and Mitchell (currently known as KPMG) and spent eight years at Solomon Brothers Inc.
He is an avid golfer who enjoys working-out and long distance running, having completed seven New York City Marathons.
Contact Larry by phone at (914) 721-0006, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.