It Takes a Village
Sales is a team sport. Let that soak in and repeat, sales is a team sport. Just coming out of the 2022 Winter Olympics and watching solo events where individual members are competing, rest assured there is a strong team surrounding them. Coaches, trainers, parents, and more. Nobody reaches the pinnacle of their sport alone. It does take a village. And not to be swayed that selling is a solo event, you won’t be successful as an individual, but must embrace the whole team around you and the team will win or lose together, not the individual. So where do we go with this? From a selling perspective, there are two ways to succeed, with your counterparts in sales and with the business team that supports the run to victory and ultimately to the customer.
Let’s start with the sales team, how do you build and practice skills that make everyone around you stronger and more successful as a group?
Celebrate the Wins
Be a cheerleader for everyone that is involved with a win. Be sincere and be vocal. Let them see your pride in their success as your teammate. Even further, be curious and seek out any lessons learned that could have a positive impact in your efforts to lead success.
Offer Support for the Losses
Be there for your teammates when they feel let down after a loss. Encourage them with support. There are really no losses, just minor setbacks and lessons learned for the next deal. And, if you see a teammate struggling, jump in with support, ride with them, observe and offer feedback. And, if you’re struggling, ask for help. You’re all in this together and working your way out of a slump with the help of a teammate is the highest form of camaraderie.
Swap territories with a teammate for a day or a week. Learn what you can as an outsider with fresh eyes and let them do the same in your territory. Come back together with new perspectives.
Stay out in front of a changing world. Be adaptable to new technologies and learn new skills. If your team could also benefit, be a leader in organizing team learning events. And, if someone has a skill others can benefit from, spread the word. LinkedIn Learning is the best example I know of where any skill can be learned or honed. Plus, it has other creative and technology driven concepts you can benefit from. And let’s not forget, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, so get in and take advantage of the exposure and business growth opportunities.
Now, moving to the total organization, the business or company you belong to, how can you and the sales team support growth and success for the overall business?
The Right Stuff
Give your customer service department, your operations support department, and your logistics department all the right details they need to ensure flawless execution in serving the customer. The information starts with you. Strive for perfection, get it right. Examples include billing and accounts payable for customer service, onsite contacts for logistics, and precise operating details for the operations support team. For instance, nothing good will happen if you don’t have the correct pressure and flow rates when installing a tank and its control equipment. Get it right.
There is No “I” in Team
Whatever success you may be celebrating, make no mistake that it didn’t happen without the full support of everyone around you. The operations team got it right, the customer service department was flawless, the drivers were amazing, not only on time but safety first. It all comes together as a team win. Recognize that and congratulate all involved. They made it happen together.
Be Curious and Interested in Everyone’s Role Around You
When you have knowledge of how everything works and comes together, you’ll have a much better feel on how your role impacts the success of others. I’m not suggesting you be an expert in every function but do understand if there are ways you can make their job easier. Sit with your Customer Service Rep for a morning and help with calls, both incoming and outgoing. Ride with a driver, see from their perspective how deliveries are made to the customer you worked with on the other side of doing business. Be onsite for customer equipment installs as often as you can, learning from the Technician’s perspective what is needed for flawless installation and ongoing equipment performance.
When it’s all said and done, our business and our teams are better as a whole than the individual parts. It’s actually refreshing to know we have strong teams around us which creates spirited competition to win as a team.
To complete the quote in our title, from an African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” An entire community of people must provide and interact positively with children for them to grow in a safe and healthy environment. Along the same context, we can extend this philosophy to our theme in this discussion, “it takes a village to raise a team.”