Salespeople are competitive by nature. After all, they have to be competitive to win the deal. So it’s probably wise to simply recruit the most aggressive, high-powered sellers you can find, and set them loose, right?
Actually, studies show individual competition is not always the most effective way to get the most out of a sales team. In fact, high-performing sales teams learn to strike a healthy balance between an aggressively independent mentality and a collaborative, team-first ethos.
Taking a collaborative approach to B2B sales has become more important as businesses focus on customer experience. Customers today expect fast, personalized service. Collaboration helps ensure team members are on the same page and that sales processes are aligned with the customer journey.
Here are some ways to encourage collaboration on your sales team to drive better outcomes.
Demonstrate the power of collaboration
Don’t force sales reps into hours of team-building exercises that aren’t relevant to their daily work. Instead, encourage them to talk openly in weekly meetings about opportunities as a group and where they’re facing obstacles. Team members can share their experience in handling similar accounts, or have information about competition and prospects that can help move deals along.
Also take the time to recognize and reward team collaboration. A quick stand-up meeting, 15 minutes or fewer, is the perfect format for time-pressed sales teams. Celebrate collaborative wins by having team members talk about how others contributed to a win.
Not only does this help high performers learn to recognize and appreciate the help they receive from others, it also boosts team morale.
Leverage sales enablement tools
Another avenue to encourage collaboration is through the tools that sales reps use in their daily work.
Sales playbooks are a great tool for sharing best practices. The best playbooks enable sales reps to create deal portals focused on specific accounts. Team members can collaborate by tagging and dropping all materials and content related to the prospect into the portal so that everyone has the same information. As more team members enter the deal, they can be referred to the deal portal.
Having everyone on the same page helps to ensure a consistent experience for the customer. If a customer receives different information from different sales reps, they’re likely to become dissatisfied, which puts the deal at risk.
Model collaboration among sales leaders
A report from the Corporate Executive Board, published in Harvard Business Review, said high-performing sales teams use collaboration at the managerial level as a model for sales reps to follow.
According to the report, the best managers make time to meet with other managers frequently to “facilitate idea exchange across their teams, use collective brainstorming to figure out how to unstick stuck deals, and borrow effective approaches to talent management and rep development from peers in other areas of the business.”
This free flow of knowledge enables managers to tap into collective knowledge and illustrates corporate support for collaboration. But more importantly, it helps to create a culture where collaboration is a priority along the customer journey, and where teammates actively seek to learn from one another.