Making a sales team transform to meet current demands

by | Sep 24, 2020

2020 is in the last quarter, and the adversity everyone has been through, we have done what comes naturally and adapted. In the first two quarters, the struggle to cope was difficult. Getting thought those obstacles is a form of evolution, making us all more substantial in the end.

Organizations are no different. Unlike before, when organizations need to pivot and shift priorities due to market changes that would take time, sometimes years, they had to change in a matter of months to survive. Those with agile values and mindsets were able to do so with little frustration.

Two ingredients for successful B2B sales: Agility and stability

By Boudewijn Driedonks and Ryan Paulowsky

Sales teams, above all, needed to pivot on how they conducted work. Going into a potential client’s office to give that sales pitch became a risk that nobody wanted to take. Conventions and conferences in big halls have taken a momentary pause until it is safe. Their previous stable forms of reaching out to people have become shelved.

Bourwijn and Ryan provide five trademarks of an agile Sales team:

  • Common aspiration across the sales organization (“North Star”)

  • A network of empowered sales teams (supported by digital capabilities)

  • Rapid decisions and dynamic pipeline management

  • Dynamic people support to foster customer-centric sales capabilities.

  • Next-generation-enabling technology

With a mixture of dynamic and stable practices and the agile mindset, they provide the recipe that will lead to more than doing agile but being agile. That is the key to a successful agile transformation. Doing what a framework prescribes is no different than following a waterfall method, doing one step after another. Being agile is having the right behaviors within the framework to improve and make it work to achieve success continuously.

Here is an example of how a Sales team can be agile, as per Bourwijn and Ryan:

“Agile companies are starting to replace traditional key-account teams with key-account customer squads. These squads are assigned to a set of customers in a specific sector. The squad is a cross-functional agile team that delivers the entire customer service, from initial contact to post-sales service. Customer representatives interact directly with the different members in the squad, and the key-account manager (also part of the squad) cooperates with the other members daily in a short stand-up meeting, setting the priorities for driving customer satisfaction.”

Adapting the configuration of teams to meet the needs of clients while improving the productivity of the members in a new way of interacting will only improve satisfaction with clients and employees. Organizations are starting to see the value in the agile mindset and the amount the behaviors that go with it. No longer are we in a world where it is ok to take a little time to become a second-mover in a market. No longer is the innovation of new products and services on a decade cycle. We are moving at breakneck speed, and if organizations are not only willing to transform to agile delivery but also be agile, they will not survive. That is the nature of evolution.

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