Agile Sales Teams – The New Road to Enterprise Success
Change is constant and agility is part of the change. Agility defines the ability to swiftly re-organize into something dynamic when and as the environment asks for it. Agility in sales is very important. We live in a fast-phase world with technology driving our vehicles and lighting our rooms. Technology has changed the way we communicate and do business. So, if a sales teamfails to adapt to the rapidly changing demands in business, it will eventually land into a lot of trouble.
Before the internet, salespeople were the chief source of product information. Salesmen passed the information and based on it buyers made their purchase decision. The success of a sales team was determined on how effectively the team presented the product’s effectiveness in solving the buyers’ problems.
You either Adjust or Expire
Things have changed. Buyers research products online thoroughly and then contact the sales professionals. In fact, they complete 60% of the sales process themselves. They use the internet, run through social media, and use all possible ways to know more about the product than what they could find from the sales teams.
Phenomenal sales teams have adapted and adjusted to the changing needs by changing the way they sell. One of the tools that quick-thinking companies have implemented is developing CRM systems so that sales teams are able to produce shareable, high-quality, and widely interactive content to attract potential clients, and convert leads into customers.
What is Agile in Sales?
The agile methodology is coined by a group of software developers who were frustrated with the traditional software development process. Agile methodology brings ‘Collaboration’, ‘Flexibility’ and ‘Normalization of Uncertainties’ together. Agile Methodology focuses on four values of sales, namely:
- A working software instead of documentation
- People and communication over processes and tools
- Customer loyalty and interaction over signing off stringent contracts
- Responding to change instead of strictly following from plan A to plan B
Agile in Sales is an all-new way of project management. The traditional Waterfall approach’s rigidness – follow a step-by-step process, long planning sessions, coding and testing, and strictly adhere product planning rules – is considerably eliminated, or rather smoothened by Agile Methodology. It follows the rule, ‘complete small chunks of shippable code’, which can be designed, coded, tested, and shipped in a span of 15 to 30 days, i.e. a single sprint.
Agile developers work on short and defined periods to accomplish outputs instead of completing product in a long period of time.
Everything here is shared in daily stand-up meetings – including the challenges, current outputs, general achievements, highlights, weaknesses, and individual efforts. Feedback is asked at all times, while major strategic changes are implemented any given point based on the feedbacks, even if the product nears a delivery date. There are no set process rules in the agile method.
Agile Method is highly flexible, in terms of constant adaptation and improvement. This allows sales teams to respond to client’s specific needs and immediate demands more effectively.
Roles Defined in Agile Sales Teams
- Sales Manager/ Team Leader: Although, he is not the major contributor, the manager or team leader is responsible for maintaining and channelizing the overall vision of the project. They coach the sales team on sales techniques, provide information, give valuable insights, and address issues faced by the team.
- Scrum-master: He is at the center of the team and acts as the coach of the team ‘Sales’. His work is to see if the team is moving in the right direction, implementing the right strategy, and making sure that the team is constantly motivated and rewarded.
- Sales representatives:Salespersons have individual and group targets and their aim is accomplishing their own target and helping team members to attain the team target. They are responsible for building the lead pipelines and initiating interaction with clients.
What Agile Sales Aim For – Their Core Values
- Ensure the organization and the solution provided is in alignmentwith the customer’s needs.
- Feed the top of the funnel with great leads by frequently collaborating with other teams to spot trends and mitigate technical and procedural issues.
- Nurture and feed existing opportunities through sales lifecycle.
- Ensure sales team is supported with the right tools and strategies, follows the correct steps, make sure their development is measured using right metrics.
You need to blend all of the above – right leadership, correct metrics, and systemized processes to bring out the best recipefor a successful Agile Sales Team
What Determines the Success of Agile Sales Teams
Agile sales, when done right, will reduce or completely uproot many issues, including a bad working environment, low team motivation, personal problems, nil team effort, and process misunderstanding. Instead of making your sales team a group of individuals who are aggressive, competitive and self-centered, adopting agile methodology will make your team an ideal model, known for working collaboratively, learning from each other, helping each other, working together to achieve a common goal.
The perfect blend of ingredients that determine success includes:
- Strong Leadership
The team should be led by a knowledgeable, empowering, benevolent, and prudent team manager. He should not hesitate to take account of his decisions and actions. He should lead the team forefront and should understand what is best for the team and stand by it.
- Flexible yet Comprehensive Processes
The team should thrive on an efficient process, designed by the team leader. Frequent sprint reviews, daily stand-up meetings, right feedback, and monthly and quarterly reviews should be properly implemented to help the team understand where they currently stand, where they need to work, and what worked for them and what did not.
- Right tools and Metrics
Tools like CRM, lead databases, smart tools like Boomerang and Hoopla and task automation are must empower the team to work smart and not hard. The team leader or manager should effectively measure the sales activities and performances closely through sales call data, pipeline analysis, conversion rate, win vs. loss rate and sales funnel analysis.
One of the important keys to success is prioritization. The sales team manager should prioritize things as per ‘urgency’ and ‘importance’ and guide the team in the right direction. He should know what to do, when to do and how to do a particular task.
- Avoiding Distractions
Distractions should be strictly avoided until the target is achieved. Agile methodology in sales highly concentrates on avoiding wastes. It follows the proverb, ‘a stitch in time, saves nine’ and works towards achieving it.
Your entire sales team should be ready to shift to an agile method. Unless it is not, it will be a chaos. Every single person should be fully engaged to fulfill the team goal – right from planning goals and setting schedules to implementing and evaluating metrics. Make sure you encourage feedback and value employee opinions to carry a successful transition of the sales team into a dynamic Agile based sales team.