Sales Growth is a Team Effort
August 12, 2020
Sales growth can't occur without a well-documented sales process.
That's why documenting your company's tribal knowledge is so important. Without it, you run the risk of losing out on different business opportunities.
But, how do you start building a storehouse for tribal knowledge? And most importantly, how do you involve different departments in that process?
Well, as a senior leader, you're responsible for identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your company and developing a plan to improve. If lack of team collaboration and process documentation are some of your weaknesses, keep on reading!
Sales growth is a team effort. So, how do you get your company involved?
Sales growth starts with your team. And sales shouldn't operate as its own, independent island.
Follow these steps to get the rest of the company involved in sales growth. Remember, it's all about CoAction.
Foster a culture of accountability
Developing an accountable culture within your company entails setting clear expectations and measurable goals, implementing a coaching program, and soliciting open and honest feedback from your team.
This way, your team will embrace and understand the value of the changes or initiatives you suggest. They will actively participate in the change and together, you will make great strides for your business.
For more, check out our eBook on Accountability in Sales.
Accountability in Sales
Create a sales growth team
Develop a cross-functional sales growth team with members from other departments in the company.
These can be people from Marketing, Operations, Finance, or Human Resources. It’s not uncommon to see 5 to 10 people on a sales growth team, depending on the size of your company.
The sales growth team works together to build your sales process, AKA, your Sales PlayBook. Each member has a unique perspective on what to include, and it's important for different departments to align on processes.
For example, sales and marketing have to work together to offer buyers quality content. Marketing needs sales to gather information from buyers that will fuel the development of marketing collateral. Sales needs marketing to attract new prospects and leads.
Creating a sales growth team can improve departmental alignment and help build a stronger sales process.
How can you effectively leverage your sales growth team?
Once you've formed your cross-functional team, consider using our simple CoAction model to drive revenue growth. We developed the CoAction approach to ensure you get results.
In CoAction, you first align as a team on your vision, mission, values, and goals. In some organizations, that might be relatively easy, while in others you may need to work with a partner to help facilitate the conversation.
Once you've set your goals, the next step is to identify strategies that will help you achieve your goals. For example, if one of your goals is to increase sales by 20%, one strategy might be to develop new offerings while another might be to improve your sales team and another might be to grow your sales team. If one of your goals is to improve your customer satisfaction score to 95%, one strategy might be to improve your offerings and another might be to improve your overall customer experience.
If possible, try to keep to 3-5 strategies at most. In order to winnow a list of the best strategies to achieve your goals, assemble as much data and information as possible in advance. If you're deciding between potential strategies of improving your existing team or growing the team, you'll need to know whether your current team is performing well and you have a capacity issue or if you have enough salespeople but they're not performing effectively.
Make sure each strategy is measurable. Instead of a strategy of improving sales performance, consider specifying that your strategy is to improve individual sales rep performance by an average of 20%. Or instead of a strategy to build a new website, you could specify that your strategy is to launch a new website no later than September 30. This way, it's easy to know whether or not you are making progress.
Once you've identified your strategies, it's time to create projects. For example, if one of your strategies is to improve sales performance, one project might be to benchmark current performance and skills and another project might be to develop a sales training program.
Work as a team to brainstorm potential projects, then prioritize them, taking into account both their potential impact and their level of difficulty to implement.
Determine as a team how many projects you'll be able to manage at any given time. Ideally, this will be at least one project per strategy. This will depend on both the size of your team and the amount of bandwidth they have for special projects on top of their everyday responsibilities. Lean toward a conservative number of projects at first, since it's easier to add more than to figure out which ones to stop.
Once you have your list of active projects, identify a champion and set a due date for each. That person is responsible for ensuring the project is completed on time.
In our CoAction model, each project champion develops a list of tasks to complete their project. Each task has a due date, as well as both an achiever, who is responsible for completing the task, and a driver, who is responsible for ensuring the task is completed. That way, each task has three levels of accountability, making it more likely that it will be completed.
It can be helpful to use a project management tool to manage this process, but it's not necessary. We did this for years in Excel!
The final element of our CoAction model is a monthly meeting to track progress, update plans, mark projects completed, and launch new projects. This provides another level of accountability, as each project champion provides an update on the status of their project.
If the team is committed to growth and believes their chosen strategies will help them achieve their goals, they'll hold each other accountable to complete projects.
Employ change management techniques
Employing change management techniques can help your sales improvement initiatives success, and thus increase sales growth.
Change management guides companies on how to support individuals and teams during major organizational changes.
Failed initiatives are usually the result of a lack of strategic vision or leadership. Team buy-in is also critical for success, so clarifying expectations and simplifying processes can and will encourage team-wide adoption.
How can you apply change management to your sales improvement initiatives?
Here’s our 10-step model, which employs change management best practices:
- Identify your “why?”. Why is this initiative important?
- Get organizational buy-in. Explain how the initiative will improve processes and boost efficiency.
- Align on goals and develop metrics to monitor progress.
- Form a team of stakeholders from different departments that’ll be impacted by the initiative.
- Identify areas of potential resistance and develop plans to address them.
- Evaluate how you can influence the initiative or be influenced by the initiative.
- Establish leadership expectations with management responsible for encouraging adoption.
- Improve communication between departments involved in the initiative’s implementation.
- Develop training programs that drive adoption.
- Check-in frequently and make adjustments to the initiative where necessary.
For more, check out our eBook on Change Management.
How do you further support sales to drive sales growth?
As a senior leader, it's important to support your sales team by developing systems, programs and processes that'll drive sales growth.
Do so by following the steps below.
Support mid-level leadership
Great leaders are hard to come by, but great leadership is necessary to ensure your sales team meets their quotas and adopts company best practices.
The unfortunate truth is that sales managers are often former sales reps who were promoted for closing lots of deals but received no further training prior to taking on the new position. Being a sales rep versus a sales manager are two very different jobs requiring very different skill sets.
That’s why it’s so important to assess whether sales management may need more training.
Hold your sales managers accountable with a clear, developed process manages expectations and produces stellar results. For more, check out our eBook on Sales Management.
The Ultimate Guide to Sales Management
Offer training catered to your team's needs
Sales is an ever-evolving field, so implementing a consistent training program is critical.
But new learnings don’t always get adopted by the whole team. That's why it may be time to re-evaluate the current training protocol and create a new training adoption plan.
For more, check out our eBook on Sales Training Topics.
Soliciting feedback is one of the best ways to maximize your company’s sales potential.
In order to develop training programs catered to your team, you need to create the space for them to voice their thoughts
Do so during your next sales training meeting!
Lastly, remember to encourage process documentation. Especially from your sales managers and top-performing reps.
This way, all of the team can benefit.
Want to spread the word? Click here or on the image below to Tweet this graphic on the importance of documenting tribal knowledge!
And be sure to check out our latest eBook, Assessing the State of Your Business: Start with Sales.
Many thanks Charles for sharing your post with me.
Thanks for the kind words, Barry – and for your encouragement. I really appreciate it!