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Early right actions make it easier to accomplish future critical milestones and prepare the team for unforeseen issues that arise later.


Do you sometimes wonder how they do it? You know who I mean – the top sales teams, the ones that are always getting recognized for their performance.

The ones that customers love, and the ones that are home at a reasonable hour with their families every night. Are they the “chosen few” among us?

What pushes successful sales teams forward, in spite of obstacles, corrections, setbacks and even failures?

Team selling is critical. The more complex the solution, the more essential team selling is for success.

Winning Sales Teams

High-performance teams are focused on the customer — not just responsive, but proactive. They make every conversation with a customer about that customer — and that customer’s customer.

They understand their customer’s business almost as well as the customer does.

Thee team looks at the sale/contract signing as just a milestone along the way to accomplishing their extraordinary goal of delighting their customer.

They want to nurture and build loyal customers, not just produce sales and merely satisfied customers.

Forming winning sales teams aligns right-skilled salespeople with customer needs. Winning teams typically have a compelling vision and the determination to focus on short-term actions leading to the goal.

For the team to be successful, the following team mechanics must be in place:

  • Everyone on the team clearly understands the overall goal, which is exciting and challenging from the customer’s and sales team’s viewpoint.
  • Everyone on the team knows how the team will get there, and what part they will play.
  • Each person on the team knows his or her accountabilities to action.
  • The team leader refines the strategy and work plan on the basis of new information and the knowledge gained from progress to date.
  • The team leader communicates effectively, securing commitment of actions and holding people accountable for those actions.

Milestones.

While extraordinary goals are great for stretching thinking and providing something for the team to strive for, most people on a team cannot stay energized and focused for long periods of time on something that is too big or too distant.

They need line-of-sight targets that are reachable and achievable so they can pace themselves to the larger goal.

They develop specific milestones to accomplish a certain goal, identify short-term actions that lead them to achieve those milestones, and assign and enforce accountability for actions to which they have agreed.

Focus on short-term actions.

To focus tactically on the milestones, top sales teams identify at least one short-term action for every milestone.

“What small action can we take to move the ball forward?”

This is about establishing continuous traction.

Early right actions make it easier to accomplish future critical milestones and prepare the team for unforeseen issues that arise later.

Accountability.

Each team member is accountable—for their own assigned tasks and to one another.

They communicate regularly with one another on goal status and are prepared for change if warranted.

Priorities.

There is no longer time for a sense of pause and reflection for a customer-facing team when the business environment changes.

They must be prepared to respond quickly, at every level.

Teams that are prepared to respond survive profitably during the unplanned downturns, and readily grasp the opportunity of unplanned upturns.

Making time for what matters. How do high-performance sales teams manage time?

We all are responsive to important and urgent issues like a customer satisfaction issue or a competitive situation.

Frequently, our time is robbed by less important activities like email, rumors, and most news.

Because of their lack of urgency, activities like relationship-building, team communications, personal development and strategy development are frequently shelved.

However, carving out time and mind share on important, but not urgent, activities is a successful sales team best practice.

In the face of white-hot competition, complexity, and economic swings that are a part of commercial life, every selling organization needs to muster its best resources in order to be effective.

Sales teams that accomplish extraordinary sales results develop specific milestones to accomplish a certain goal, identify short-term actions that lead them to achieve those milestones, and assign and enforce accountability for actions to which they have agreed.

In spite of obstacles, corrections, setbacks and failures, the driving force behind these teams is their ability to think, work together, make course corrections, and constantly move forward.

They may not always win every encounter, but they will always have given their personal best.

About the author

Bill Schult Sr

Bill Schult Sr

Bill Schult founded his first employee selection and development organization, Believe & Succeed Inc.…

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