Selling is a Team Sport


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A few weeks ago, I jumped into the compensation discussion with a post about commissions. My opinion is that heavily and solely incentivizing a sales professional for their selling results might not be the most effective compensation model. There are aspects of the sales process that involve the expertise, support, and follow-through of others in bringing new business and retaining existing business. Providing a large portion of the rewards to the sales professional for these results diminishes the significant and valued contributions of others in supporting these outcomes.

The purpose of this post is to offer a follow-up to the commission conversation. And, provide a little more perspective into what is rapidly becoming the organizational and process trend for most businesses.

While there are still businesses where the sales person is solely responsible for finding, identifying, qualifying, positioning, closing and supporting a client, that model is likely the exception, not the rule. In today’s business environment marketing, telemarketing, inside sales, account management, professional resources, etc. are all actively involved in the process of attracting, closing, retaining, and expanding client relationships. Today’s sales professionals cannot and do not engage in the sales process alone. They are completely dependent upon the support and expertise of others. The compensation model and the organizational model is outdated, to the point of broken, if the sales person is viewed as solely or primarily responsible for growing or increasing revenues.

Clearly the sales process is touched and supported by many aspects of an organization. Understanding the sales process, leveraging the necessary expertise at the ideal time in the process, and creating, implementing a strategy that positions the value of the team –knowledge, experience, commitment — in relationship to the client is where business opportunities turn into revenue.

Sales is not the simple, single act of one person simply selling, it is a comprehensive, organizational commitment to:

1. Relationship building: Connecting into existing at future client organizations at multiple, valued levels throughout the organization.

2. Leveraged expertise: Introducing subject matter experts to the clients, as needed, to fulfill needs, meet expectations, and solve problems.

3. Delivering solutions: Providing answers and solutions to the challenges presented and being proactively engaged in adding value and expertise to the relationship in an ongoing fashion.

4. Great customer experience: From the beginning of the sales process through to the maintenance of an ongoing relationship delivering a consistently positive and unified commitment to delighting and engaging the customer.

It is the effective management of both behavioral and strategic components that drives growth. These components cannot and do not simply exist completely in the functional arena of the sales department. These outcomes are dependent upon the coordinated cross-functional expertise and support of the entire organization. The process of executing a selling strategy involves and requires the engagement of more than a sales team or an individual sales professional.

When defining the process and structure for your sales activities, one can look at the sales professional as the quarterback responsible for coordinating and directing a comprehensive, strategic team effort. However, the sales person is not the only person involved in the process, the primary resource for success, or the person who deserves the most accolades for success in the growth process.

Sales is a team sport and the organizations that builds strong, collaborative, strategically organized teams committed to the growth initiative will win more often than those who work in their functional, old school silos.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Cooke
I leverage my 25 years experience in sales and marketing to create and implement strategic initiatives and develop educational programs that increase both revenues and profits. I take great pride in my experience in turbulent, chaotic, and transitional work environments. It is from these experiences that I have developed my commitment to collaborative teams, strong internal and external relationships, effective communication, decisive leadership, and a cohesive, collaborative strategy as keys to sustainable revenue growth.


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