Sales is often regarded as an individual’s job. Competitiveness, rankings and performance-based awards are encouraged, and are often what drives each rep to strive for the top.
Collaboration and teamwork might be one of the last things that come to mind considering these defining aspects of sales. These types of assumptions are generally accepted by the industry, and are what many sales managers use to run their teams.
What would happen if those assumptions were wrong?
Interestingly enough, recent research from CSO Insights indicates the exact opposite of long-time assumptions about how sales organizations work best. In their recent report, 2015 Sales Enablement Optimization Study, CSO Insights admitted even they were surprised to learn that sales team collaboration can actually drive a higher level of success within organizations.
Maybe less of a surprise, they also discovered this tactic of formal collaboration was widely underutilized across their data sample.
This left us wondering, how important is collaboration within sales teams, and what are effective ways to implement it?
Exactly How Big of an Impact Does Collaboration Have on Sales Success?
CSO Insights first established there are different types of collaboration within sales organizations, and then calculated the percentage of organizations that identified with each.
Here are the breakdowns for how many sales groups identified with each type of collaboration within their sample:
- No Cross-functional Collaboration: 6%
- Information Collaboration: 42%
- Ad hoc Basis Collaboration: 41%
- Formal Collaboration: 12%
While this is an interesting breakdown, what does it actually mean in terms of sales success?
This study reported that in environments with an ad hoc collaboration approach, 55% of salespeople were able to meet their quota, and environments with informal collaboration had a slight increase of 59% of salespeople being able to meet their quota.
CSO identified ad hoc collaboration organizations where employees shared information based on whether they thought someone else should know it. They defined organizations with formal collaboration styles as having a set framework or collaboration model in place.
The kicker? In environments with a formal collaboration approach, 76% of salespeople were able to achieve their quota.
Sales organizations using a formal collaboration approach saw a 21% improvement on quota attainment compared to organizations using an ad hoc approach.
The question for sales organizations is now whether an extra 21% of quota attainment is something they are willing to leave on the table.
If not, what are the next steps? What are easy, yet effective ways to implement formal collaboration strategies?
Some of the best ways to roll out new team strategies involve leveraging existing software that makes it easy from both user and management perspectives. Why reinvent the wheel when it’s already available, simple, and cost-efficient?
Easy Ways to Implement Sales Collaboration Strategies Using Technology
When it comes to implementing sales collaboration tactics within a new environment, technology is the key to success. Adding loads of extra manual work will cause major frustration for sales employees, even if it is in the sake of collaboration. Instead, leverage existing software technologies to meet organizational goals and keep employees happy.
Finding the right sales technology partner can make it easy to certify knowledge, increase engagement, and build skills within teams. These types of features enable sales organizations to easily capitalize on collaboration, not to mention stay ahead of competitors who are missing out on the opportunity.
Curious how it all works? Below are just a few examples of how sales software partners, like LearnCore, can help improve your collaboration process:
- Team Challenges. Whether you are looking to improve verbal communication like phone calls, meetings or presentations, or work on written communication like e-mails, LinkedIn messages or letters, leveraging technology can make the process easy. Utilizing online team challenges allow managers to pose a question and wait for the video recorded or written responses to review. Managers can then select top players and share them as learning tools and collaboration tactics across their teams. Leveraging top player responses as a learning opportunity is a great way to get started with formal sales collaboration.
- Custom Course Creation. The next time a top performer develops a high-close ratio sales method, rethink the best way to distribute the information for optimal collaboration effectiveness. Instead of tedious verbal training sessions where information can be immediately lost or forgotten, simply leverage SME’s by using online course creation technology. It can be as simple as setting up a course and sharing it with the team.
- Improved Communication. Communication is half the battle when it comes to team collaboration. Utilize social forum technology to enable easy communication through the ability to ask questions, and share insights or other ideas through message boards. Social forums are course specific, allowing communication and insights to stay on target to specific learning and goals. Facilitating better communication is an important step in improving sales team collaboration.
- Training Library. Instead of losing valuable data and responses from sales meetings, capture those records and store them in an online library. Data collected through team challenges or other efforts like course creation provide an opportunity to save valuable information that can be used for team collaboration, or even new employee onboarding.
- Cross-Training. Take implementing new sales collaboration tactics one step further by involving other teams. Using technology that offers organization-wide tools allows for improved communication and cadence across all departments. Looking for better communication and information flow between marketing and sales? Customize the information and tools to share between the teams, and watch the relationships and cross-departmental knowledge improve.
- Analytics. It’s easy to talk about sales collaboration, but it’s more important to measure how successful the efforts actually are. Leverage technology to collect all of the important data regarding sales training and collaboration from users. This makes reporting and tracking progress easy for managers. Get data on team progress, completion rates, assessment scores, credentials, and more to measure team success and identify areas for improvement. Instead of just implementing new sales collaboration tactics, make sure to track them too.
Collaboration as a key factor to sales success may be a surprise, but the numbers certainly don’t lie. Organizations looking to improve their salesperson quota attainment by up to 21% may be able to do so by implementing some of the formal collaboration strategies above. We suggest leveraging cost-efficient technology to roll out of these strategies in a simple and streamlined manner.
Have other solutions for implementing formal collaboration strategies within sales organizations? We’d love to hear your perspective!