By its very nature, a sales team culture is highly competitive. You compete against team mates, other sales force teams and with competitor sales teams. In your perspective, everything becomes a competition.
In order to execute your sales strategy, you rely on resource teams, such as engineering, IT (information technology), legal, customer service, production, and manufacturing. That’s when things can go South.
Don’t assume that the resource team’s culture is anything like your sales team culture. Before you seek their assistance, identify and compare their dynamics with yours. It’s all about cultural context and team tempo.
Here are 3 Collaboration Hacks to put into play the next time you work with various resource teams.
Collaboration Hack 1 – Let’s say you need assistance from a group whose team culture values teamwork and seeking consensus. Engineering teams and legal teams operate in an environment which fully vets ideas, strategies and options before coming up with a solution. The pace of their decision-making is maddening to your fast-paced, results-oriented sales team culture.
Instead of waiting until the 11th hour to seek this type of resource team’s assistance, set up your first meeting earlier in your sales cycle and long before a contract is being negotiated.
Collaboration Hack 2 – Alternatively, the resource team culture may value innovation and creativity. Software engineers and R&D (Research and Development) teams work in this type of environment. When you collaborate, you may never be working with the same team twice depending on the nature of the problem to be solved. These resource teams focus on identifying multi-level options, which will be simultaneously tested-revised-retested. They seek multiple outcomes and choices versus coming up with one solution to your sales problem. The explorative nature and scope of their decision-making will drive your linearly-focused sales team crazy.
When innovation is required, your customer often is willing to collaborate along with your resource team. Your resource team adds value to the business outcome. Instead of waiting until the 11th hour to seek this type of resource team’s assistance, integrate them into your sales process from the git-go.
Collaboration Hack 3 – Then we have teams operating within a control culture. Everyone picks a lane and stays in it, according to hierarchical structure, goals and objectives. Power and authority are what it’s all about. If you work in this type of organizational culture, your sales team culture can be negatively impacted by the over-analysis paralysis that is part of every decision that is made. There’s a high level of “Us versus Them” mindset and departmental fiefdoms.
These resource teams show up at the 11th hour to derail the sale. Anticipate and deal with it head-on instead of making another end-run around decision-blockers. Seek out the naysayers. Identify what it is about your sales team culture and dynamics that makes them uber-skeptical. Recruit subject-matter experts to your team in order to build your expertise and your team’s credibility.
You can use these same hacks to take the pulse of the team culture in your customers’ houses as well. Have fun!
Babette N. Ten Haken is a management strategist and team-building leadership coach. She helps teams, startups and businesses who wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. Babette began her career as a scientist. Early on, she was asked to bring clarity to the chaos of stalemated conversations between engineers, sales, IT, quality, legal and marketing folks. She builds innovative, productive and profitable teams who are focused on excellence in the hand-off of strategy for execution. Her Workshops help build healthier organizations.
Interested in more collaboration hacks? You can find them in Do YOU Mean Business? available on Amazon.com.