Do You Run a Sales Team or Just a Group of People Who Report to You?

By Rachel Cavallo on Jan 27, 2021

2 Minute Estimated Read Time

Whenever I work with a group of salespeople, I notice one prevailing theme.  They love to interact with each other and share ideas.  When we give salespeople an activity that involves sharing their experiences and asking for feedback from their peers, the level of engagement and enthusiasm skyrockets... especially when teams are dispersed and are working remotely and virtually. To build on that, most surveys that we receive post sales training show that the sellers want more opportunities to share with and learn from their peers.

If sellers love collaboration and learning from each other, shouldn't sales leaders be running their teams to foster these dynamics?

Many sales leaders run their teams as individuals reporting to them as opposed to teams learning from each other (unless sellers are working on the same account or same deal).  When I work with sales leaders to understand how they run their organization and how they coach their teams, I see very little structure in place to facilitate peer-to-peer interaction.

Of course, many teams meet regularly to talk about their pipeline, but it’s usually a round-robin call where each individual is sharing information with their leader or the leader is sharing out information to the entire group.  If a deal is going south, it’s usually the sales leader who jumps in the middle to help course correct. 

In an age where so many customers are more informed about their purchasing decisions, looking for value-added insights, and demanding innovative solutions, we see many sellers who are overwhelmed just trying to keep up.  This is exacerbated by the fact that even the “sales call” itself is changing (Zoom, anyone?).  There simply aren’t enough resources to support sellers who are trying to stay on top of all that is happening.

So my question is this… do you need more resources?  What if your team shared more ideas and collaborated together more effectively?  What if the insights that one seller effectively used with a customer could be leveraged across an entire market?  What if your sellers discussed ways to “unstick” deals, and you didn’t have to always jump in and save the day?

Take a look at how you run your team.

Do you really need that round-robin reporting?  Is anyone learning from that call besides you?  Would those be better one-on-one calls?  Could you instead pick a few active deals and engage your whole team to provide feedback and insight?

When two of your sellers are working on similar types of deals, could you engage them to collaborate with each other versus just with you?  Could this free you up to do more coaching to drive performance with struggling sellers?

Has your team taken the time to discuss what trends they are seeing?  Could several sellers take responsibility for developing creative responses to these trends and then share with the group?  Could you leverage a group text or a Microsoft Teams channel to get the conversation started?

What about skill building?  Could you engage your team to build discovery question banks together with their “greatest hit questions”?  Could they brainstorm how to best position that new product you are offering, or could they compile a list of best practices for handling customer objections?

How do your incentives inhibit cross-team collaboration?  Can better teamwork lift everyone up? 

Think about the “team” you lead today.  Are your sellers functioning like a team?  If not, it’s probably not because they don’t want to collaborate and share ideas.  In fact, there’s probably some untapped magic just waiting for an opportunity to come out.  You just need to transform the group of individuals reporting to you into a real working team.

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Rachel Cavallo

Written by Rachel Cavallo

If there’s anyone who understands how sales people tick, it’s Rachel Cavallo. Rachel specializes in strategies that drive sales forces to adopt real change… the kind of change that produces results. She has managed many sales force transformations, helping sales leaders realign organizations and define new selling models, as well as designed and delivered sales training, coaching, and change management programs. At Symmetrics Group, Rachel is loved for her creativity and big picture thinking – she has a knack for crystallizing complex concepts into a single picture with high impact messages.

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