Salespeople are among the most competitive workers in any business. Sales reps often operate in a system where the best performer takes home the biggest check as they chase ambitious revenue goals, always under pressure to close more deals. There are many benefits to this system, but it can also inadvertently foster a ‘lone wolf’ mentality that keeps your sales reps from realizing their full potential. Professional rivalries taken too far also hurt collaboration and productivity within your sales team, with top performers keeping information to themselves, excluding others from conversations, and being afraid to share their secret sauce.
The bottom line: lack of sales collaboration is bad for business. This includes both collaboration within and between your sales teams, and cross-functional collaboration with other departments in the larger organization. According to Miller Heiman, 91% of the top-performing sales teams collaborate cross-functionally on big deals. So here are 5 essential tips to encourage sales collaboration in your organization.
- Foster a collaborative work culture
- Give them the right tools to collaborate
- Centralize communication and knowledge sharing
- Track progress and celebrate wins, together
- Encourage cross-functional collaboration
Foster a collaborative work culture
Building a collaborative work culture is easier said than done. Particularly in competitive sales teams, it means re-training mindsets and unlearning old habits. To start, encourage your sales heroes to share best practices—what’s working for them and what isn’t—with the wider team.
Get experienced sales reps to act as mentors for the team at large, helping new hires chase leads and close deals more efficiently. Or take it a few steps further and implement a shadowing program within and across departments to boost alignment and collaboration across the organization.
Give them the right tools to collaborate
Collaboration is the key to unlocking your sales team’s potential but the means to doing that—now more than ever—is giving them the right tools to work with. This means investing in the right sales CRM so your reps can meaningfully connect with prospective customers and document learnings for later follow-up. Consider automating repetitive workflows using software integrations so sales reps can spend more time chasing down leads.
For example, we use HubSpot as our sales CRM (also what our marketing team uses for all our content initiatives—including this blog—and lead generation campaigns), North to better align all internal groups including sales towards shared and individual OKRs, Google Drive to organize all our documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and Flock to tie it all together—bringing our salespeople (and every single employee in the wider organization, too), their conversations, tasks, and files, and all these third-party tools (via integrations) together on one centralized platform—more on this in a bit.
Implementing the right collaboration tool for your business pays off when conversations bloom and teamwork soars. To make your job easier, here’s a handy list of the best business collaboration apps for SMBs.
Centralize communication and knowledge sharing
Even when you invest in the right tools, there are some downsides to spreading team communication across various apps and services. Having your team’s conversations spread across email, chat, Google Docs, and notes in CRM makes it more likely that important information will fall through the cracks and be forgotten. By centralizing all your team’s communication with tools like Flock, you make it so there’s just one place to search for critical info, ask for help, and get things done.
A little effort and it becomes your sales collaboration hub with channels for daily updates, real-time updates from your sales CRM tool, and shared sales and marketing resources. Plus, having all stakeholders, conversations, files, meetings, and tasks together on one platform makes it significantly easier to keep everyone motivated and focused on shared goals.
Track progress and celebrate wins together
Adopting the right tools like Flock, HubSpot, and Salesforce and connecting them together with integrations makes it easier to see real-time prospecting updates in channels and track progress via dashboards. But the key to enabling great teamwork remains unchanged: you’ve got to bring people together.
One way to do this is with frequent team check-ins where everyone can share updates, discuss blockers, and find solutions. These meetings also serve as a way to bring everyone on the same page as you track progress together. Another useful tactic is to celebrate wins—big and small—with the wider team. Encouraging sales leaders to shoutout these wins in company-wide channels alongside learnings from sales prospecting keeps motivation levels high.
Encourage cross-functional collaboration
Are your marketing efforts generating the right leads for your sales team? Check this—often. Research shows that only 8% of B2B companies have tight sales and marketing alignment. Lack of strong collaboration between your sales and marketing teams has a cascading effect on sales workflows from overall conversions and revenue generated all the way to your sales reps’ win rate.
Set the stage for cross-functional collaboration between sales and marketing by adding your sales team to weekly marketing meetings and encourage them to share knowledge and insights gained from sales calls with prospects. According to Gaurang Sinha, Flock’s Director of GTM Strategy, this is a key step in working towards shared sales and marketing “smarketing” goals and ensuring tight alignment.
Next steps? From assigning a SPOC (single point of contact) for each functional group within the organization to setting OKRs (objectives and key results) for cross-functional projects and speaking a shared language (so everyone stays engaged without technical jargon throwing them for a loop), we’ve outlined a few strategies to improve cross-functional collaboration.
Encouraging sales collaboration in your organization is your ticket to improving sales productivity and converting more leads into customers than ever before. Like we mentioned earlier, building a collaborative culture in an intensely competitive environment is easier said than done. As a leader, driving these changes gives your sales heroes the right tools to work together, fosters knowledge sharing within the team, helps track progress and celebrate wins, enables smoother cross-functional collaboration, and builds an open, collaborative work culture across the organization. Ultimately, this can only happen if your senior leadership team is as invested as sales reps in the field to improve how they work together and drive the revolution.