As your sales executives traverse the process from initial contact to signed contract, they face obstacles and adversity. The shelf life of a prospecting tactic, selling proposition, or closing technique is shrinking quickly as the buying teams compare notes and counter with their own plays. It takes a network to defeat a network, and innovation must be answered with innovation. This is exactly what you need to do as a sales leader today.
Some sales organizations do this already, and Miller Heiman Research Institute has a name for them: world class. In 2014, Miller Heiman conducted extensive research to separate the good from the great and, in this case, the world-class sales organizations outperformed their competition by an average of 20%. When they looked for what separated them from the pack, “conscious collaboration” emerged as the deciding factor. Sales leaders at these companies cultivated a culture of cross-departmental teamwork in pursuit of large or strategic sales opportunities. Specifically, there was a strong alignment between sales and marketing, where they worked together early in the sales process, then scaled innovations across the enterprise rapidly.
You may be thinking, “We operate as a team already,” but more likely, you really operate as a line, like factory workers manufacturing a product. Account executives hunt, sales engineers configure, sales managers advise, and when the stakes are high, big-dog executives are brought in to close. That’s a silo, not a team! True teams fulfill all the required roles to compete, coordinate well with each other, and possess a shared vision that glues a wide variety of skillsets together.
To succeed in this new selling world, you need to foster a new way of thinking: When you get stuck in a sales challenge, don’t go down alone. Build teams comprised of everyone who has a stake in the outcome or expertise in the problem and then lead them to solve sales challenges faster than the competition. Not only does this diversity of thinking lead to more innovation, it greatly improves delivery later. Instead of throwing work over the wall, you are creating more seats at the table.