Why You Need to Stop Putting Your Sales Team on an Island Although the sales team might have an independent agenda, making a few intentional changes can help you integrate it into the company and eliminate costly consequences.
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At many companies, a sales role can be a lonely position. Salespeople bring in new business, hand it off to others and repeat. And for those who work remotely, the lack of day-to-day interaction can make them feel isolated from co-workers.
Keeping the sales team on a separate island doesn't only hurt these employees, it can also lead to high turnover and tension among departments.
Although the sales team might have an independent agenda, making a few intentional changes can help you integrate it into the company and eliminate these costly consequences.
Let employees in on sales calls. You've probably heard horror stories of ambitious salespeople making outrageous promises to prospects, leaving the rest of the team to deliver. One way to squash this fear is to encourage team members to sit in on sales calls.
Related: Build a Stellar Sales Team
Position it in a way that stands to benefit everyone. The salesperson can get product and process feedback from team members who deliver the service, and the production employees will better understand the hesitations and objections leads face in the purchase process.
Get employee feedback on proposal writing. The sales team can get burnt out on writing similar proposals, day in and day out. Bringing in other team members to do audits on these proposals can help them uncover better ways to communicate what the company has to offer.
We recently did an exercise that asked our lead editor and head of account strategy to pick apart the emails a salesperson and I drafted after a call. They offered detailed feedback and suggestions for ways we could bolster both the writing and the message.
Which email is more persuasive to you?
Here's a segment from the original:
I spoke with our VP of Publications about our publications in the nonprofit or social entrepreneurship sectors, and while we don't have a lot that address only this audience, she mentioned a few publications that have sections on social entrepreneurship.
Here are some articles from our clients on those sites:
And here's the section rewritten:
Our VP of Publications highlighted a few publications with sections in the nonprofit or social entrepreneurship sectors. Here are some articles our clients have published on those sites:
This rewrite highlighted what we could do for the client and what our clients had successfully done before. This was the point of the email, but it was buried beneath an explanatory tangent.
The original email later introduced publications beyond those we'd already mentioned:
Some sites we are aware of but have not yet published to because they weren't in line with our clients' goals. We're confident we could get content published to any of these based on our track record of success with new publications.
I'm happy to look over the list that you send our way of your "Wish List" publications.
The rewrite clarified how this related to the prospective client — not how it related to us — and more quickly got back to our offer to investigate the prospect's preferred publications:
Here are some other recommended sites. I'd be happy to look over your "wish list" of publications; we have a strong track record of success with establishing new relationships.
At the end of the email, I outlined what the recipient could expect next:
If you're ready to move forward, the next steps are simple. Ryan (copied) can send over the agreement and, once signed, we'll introduce you to your account strategist and schedule the kickoff call!
Here's how it could have been written to sound less overwhelming to the prospect:
If you're ready to move forward, Ryan (copied) will send over the agreement for you to review and sign.
This exercise helped our sales team learn to write more persuasively, and these team members learned about common questions and concerns clients have during the sales process.
Communicate client wins. With a sales-oriented mentality, it's common for salespeople to land accounts, hand them off and quickly move on to new ones. But salespeople shouldn't just get a rush from making a sale; they should also feel a sense of accomplishment when a client succeeds. Keeping salespeople up-to-date on client wins can make them feel more invested in company and client victories.
After struggling with this in the past, we built a dashboard into our new client management software that shows the accounts each salesperson signs and where each one is in our process. This simple change makes salespeople feel more involved in the overall success of their accounts.
If your salespeople start to resemble Tom Hanks in Cast Away, implementing these small changes can re-engage them. Encourage employees to jump in on sales calls, ask your most talented writers and editors to enhance the sales team's communication and share awesome client wins with the entire team. Then, everyone can enjoy the camaraderie of a close-knit company.