The importance of teamwork is well-recognized in many fields, but not always in the sales department or by individual salespeople. But if you talk to high-performing sales teams, you’ll usually be told how essential teamwork is to their success!
Why? The stereotype of a successful salesman closing the deal on his own still pervades many organizational cultures. But it’s not likely to be helping your business attract and retain customers.
Ideally, your organization will take in far more leads than a single sales agent can effectively handle. When leads are gained and explored individually and no one wants to share with others because of a super competitive atmosphere, opportunities are always missed.
Let's create a little story here to see how the importance of teamwork works in a real office.
Bob and Tommy are the oldest members of a sales team for a company offering bottled water services to local businesses. Bob recently struck a landmine of leads through a creative idea that he employed online. He knows that Tommy hasn't had so many leads of value lately and is spending a lot of time trying desperately to track new ones down, yet he keeps the landmine of leads to himself. He does not share his creative strategy with anyone else.
Unfortunately, it takes Bob too much time to effectively work through the leads. At first he makes lots of sales and bottled water is flying out the door to new customers. His boss is happy. It looks like Bob will win the big bonus at the end of the month for his sales.
Then the problems start to come into play. Suddenly, none of those leads are going anywhere for Bob. Since it has taken him so long to get to these leads, the customers have already contracted with their local competitor before Bob get around to contacting them. Now he has far more leads than Tommy, but they are old leads that don't convert. Tommy is still struggling, but his sales are overtaking Bob's quickly.
A totally different outcome would have been possible if this company had put Bob and Tommy on a team rather than positioning them against one another. If they were a team, Bob would have shared his creative strategy and then shared the resulting leads with Tommy. Those lost deals would have been converted to sales since two people could go through the leads faster than one person.
Now imagine what could happen we introduced Jenny to the team. Jenny has far better organizational skills than Bob and Tommy. Their strengths are in knowing the product and selling.
If Jenny sets up the appointments for Bob and Tommy to meet sales prospects and follows up any agreed actions afterwards, the customer is more likely to be left with a positive impression of the company. And this may well lead to more sales and less lost deals too.
The sales field is competitive by nature, but most companies intensify the competitive nature by offering bonuses and rewards to the top salesmen at frequent intervals. This causes behavior like we saw with Bob above. No one wants to give up secrets or share leads because they can miss out on the big bonus which they need to pay their bills.
This competitiveness makes salespeople work harder, or that is what employers assume.
The secret is that teamwork can create just as much desire to succeed if the team is going to be rewarded collectively rather than individually.
You can still tap the same hardworking spirit and desire to succeed, but when there is a team atmosphere of succeeding together the team applies the pressure upon one another. It doesn't have to always come from the management. Teams will naturally push one another, share more, support each other and everyone can be more effective as a result.
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Get your team to create its own story in photos. Or set some team challenges and capture the results on camera!
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