Fly’s Friday Five: Is Your Sales Team Agile or Fragile?

Written by: Gary Fly
Flys Friday Five

 

I’m going to go back to a topic we’ve talked about before, and that is how do you sell your way through these current macro headwinds? I continue to read in surveys from The Wall Street Journal and other places, that companies are still struggling with sales. We’re rapidly approaching the end of our third quarter, and we’ve got just a few months left in 2022 to either make or break the year.  

I want to talk about some specifics around that, and I want to reference some ideas that Russ Sharer and Michelle Richardson pointed out in Chapter Six of their book, Agile and Resilient: Sales Leadership for the New Normal. There are a couple of ideas I think that really resonate with us right now. One is that sales teams need to be agile – not fragile. I love that term. And why do they need to be agile? Well, I think that we’re all experiencing this, but 90% of business leaders believe that the rate of change and the rate of ambiguity is going to increase – not decrease – in coming months. We’ve just seen two years of ambiguity and unconventional times, and most business leaders see that continuing. So, that would speak to it right there. And what we’ve seen in the past is that companies that are disciplined are rewarded, and those that do not pivot or make appropriate changes are punished in the marketplace.  

We want the friends of The Brooks Group to be rewarded and to hear from us what we believe are the keys to having a good end of the year, a good pivot, and an agile sales team. First, I think it’s an appropriate time for companies to be thinking about the sales organization – the size of it, the makeup of it, the roles in it, and the KPIs associated with it. This is, I think, a natural time to really do a post mortem on the enterprise and on the organization, to see if you’re lined up with the realities of today’s marketplace.  

There are five things that are going on that we think are causing significant shifts or a change in behavior from salespeople.  

  1. Team buying continues to increase. It’s not just one person inside of an organization that are making the buying decisions. There’s a team of folks associated with that. And in the book, Russ and Michelle talk about the idea of contact mapping (access our free Account Mapping download tool here). The idea is to understand who is actually making the decision? Who are the influencers? What’s the process look like? 
  2. The C-suite continues to be involved. At least that’s what we’re seeing. What does that mean for a seller? Well, it means you need to be better prepared. You need to ask good questions, and you need to come across as knowledgeable about your business, but also about theirs. Don’t waste the time of the folks in the C-Suite is really the bottom line there. 
  3. Purchasing is your friend, not your foe. They often feel like they’re your foe because you feel like they’re creating drag in the sales process. It’s incumbent on the buyer to understand what’s important to procurement. What is the process that they’re using? How are they being judged? What’s of value to them? If you understand that, frankly, you will make a friend out of them, and you’ll have much more success and much less friction in the selling process.
  4. Marketing and sales need to be aligned. We recommend that they meet weekly to talk about what they’re experiencing. Marketing needs to understand the sort of challenges that the salespeople are being asked to solve. They need to be knowledgeable of what sort of trends are going on in the marketplace. And they need to develop content and collateral that supports the sellers in the real time environment that the sellers find themselves faced with. 
  5. Customers want a seamless experience. The way we believe you get there is to have team selling enabled with good technology so that if a potential client reaches the account manager or project manager as opposed to the salesperson, they still know what’s going on inside of that account. The customer wants it to feel seamless. They want to be able to talk to anybody inside the account and get good information in real time that map’s back to what they’ve been told before.  

So, as we talk about an agile team, those are the sorts of attributes that we believe they need to have. Happy to discuss it, happy to debate it, happy to provide more information. As I mentioned you can access our Account Mapping download tool. And if you’d like a copy of the book reach out to me – my email is gfly@thebrooksgroup.com 

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Written By

Gary Fly

Written By

Gary Fly

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